How to scan photo negatives using a flatbed scanner

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Produce beautiful color or black and white photos by scanning negatives in a flatbed scanner. Recreate lost photos or make copies of existing photos.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Photo negatives
  • Scanner that has transparency option
  • Scanning software
  • Image manipulation software

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  1. 1

    Choose the right scanner. The scanner should have a transparency option. The better the quality of scanner, the better the results. The best option is a scanner with a slide and negative scan built in.

  2. 2

    Clean the negative strip. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dust, dirt and fingerprints. This will save time later when removing blemishes.

  3. 3

    Choose the appropriate scanner settings for the best quality. This will depend on the scanner being used. Be familiar with the settings or have the instruction manual near.

  4. 4

    Scan at a high resolution. Since negatives are small, the image will need to be enlarged later. It will be a much clearer image if it is scanned with a high resolution. As a general rule, double the mount of pixels for double the size of enlarging. For example, an 8.5x11 image will have double the pixels of a 4x6 image.

  5. 5

    Save the file in the proper format. Either save as a TIFF file or a JPEG. A TIFF file will retain the most detail since there is no compression but will take up much more storage space on the hard drive of the computer.

  6. 6

    Edit the picture with the image altering software. Adobe Photoshop is the most popular and has countless tools and options. Turn the images into positive whether black and white or color. All software does this differently.

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