Digitally scanning old old pictures!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nateo200, May 17, 2012.

  1. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Ok so I've had allot of old war pictures for a while but I just discovered TONS of them about 2 hours ago....totally fine with scanning them my self :D its fun! Some of them are damaged and some just have small artifacts that I assume can be removed...So far I've scanned most of the ones that I want @ 6.5k resolution 800dpi in uncompressed TIFF files RGB with an Alpha channel....blowing some of these photo's up almost reminds me of seeing those old films now remastered in 1920x1080p on BluRay! The photos all look great! Some look amazing at 6.5k while others look blurry but all will look amazing IMO once touched up at 1920x1080p with proper edge enhancing....

    I want to restore the ones with tears in the sky or just the little blips of old film...I am very familiar with FCP X (Don't throw rocks guys please :O) and the settings of Compressor 4, I want to build a giant slide show video and master it on a Blu-Ray disc for my family....I think I will put to rest any doubts of HD they might have ;) But before I do that I need to touch the photo's up! I don't have photo shop and if I did I would probably not be anywhere closer anyway...that program is seriously one giant nightmare...but if I must I will use photoshop. But does anyone have suggestions for my little project? I know a ton about modern digital cinematography but old analog photography is a mystery to me, a very interesting and fascinating mystery at that!
  2. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Based on my experiences with old family photos, some going back to the1800s, you can put together a wonderful collection that your family will treasure forever.

    But, this means that YOU MUST PRINT your collection as well as put in on a disk!!!!!!! Nobody will be able to view your BR or your hard drive or anything in a decade or two. It will be lost forever unless it is printed.

    I put my collection into an Aperture book, along with the explanations and narrative history. Even then, there were hundreds of photos in boxes hidden in closets all over the world that never made it to me and are lost forever. A book is so much handier and is far more likely to get kept and passed on.

    It is a good idea to have several books printed up and distributed to as many family members that you can afford. This increases the chances of at least one of them surviving a hundred years, or even far longer.

    I am not the leading forensic photo restorer of our time, but I do believe that there is only so much you can do with old photos. They are always going to look old, but you can make them better. I did spend extra time fixing up the hot women as they would appreciate it.

    Most old photos need attention to exposure, contrast, sharpness/definition and finally retouching. I used both the spot and clone features in Aperture's retouching tools. I also used brushes to selectively sharpen parts of a photo to make them stand out a bit more.

    The copies of the originals are usually not that good as it was difficult to do in the past and evidently less important because many of them were sloppily done and need far more work and also attention to straightening and the borders. These duplicates take up most of your time.

    It is hard to keep photos straight in a scanner, so that tends to be a constant issue.

    If you have big negatives to deal with, your expense just went up because you need a top of the line Epsen or such to do that. If you do have a lot of small format negatives, you need to send them out as the technical requirements are expensive and flat-bed scanners won't do the job on them. A decent, affordable scanner does a great job with typical printed photos.

    When you are done and compare the new and old, it is pretty amazing in some cases, but never to the point of looking like it was taken yesterday with your digital Hasselblad... and maybe they shouldn't be.

    If some photos are in color, or are colorized B&W (I came across a couple of them. They were popular back when), then you have to play with color corrections. Again, you can only do so much, but it is a big improvement.

    I am no Photoshop expert, but I know it is very capable. It just may not be able to do this task any better than Aperture. Hopefully you will get some feedback from the PS people.

    BTW, many old photos were taken with view cameras and large format film. Photography was the domain of professionals and serious amateurs and each shot cost money, so the technical and artistic quality is often excellent.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    You can scanthem yourself if you have the time. It is a slow process and a good service can do it for WAY cheap. If you do the scanning you are working for $4 an hour. But if you enjoy it then you hac=ve a cheap hobby.

    First off buy a Wacom graphic tablet. the smallest one is good enough. But make sure to get the one that has Adobe Photoshop Elements bundled with it. You need BOTH. No one can edit photos with a mouse. Can you sign your name with a mouse? Get the Wacom.

    Adobe has tools that work perfectly with the Wacom pressure sensitive pen. The "clone tool"is rather basic but there are "healing" pens and others. "Elements is all you need. Don't bother with the full Photoshop. But you MUST have a pen and "Elements"

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