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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ask The Retoucher #35 - Scanning Film

Recently I had the privilege of scanning film of various sizes for Evanston Photographic Studios. These were 35mm, 2 1/4", 3x5" and 8x10" originals from the early 1980's.

I thought this was a great opportunity to share with you some simple pointers regarding scanning film:

1. Scan your originals large (no less than 300 ppi/dpi) at 100% size. This ratio changes with smaller-sized originals (film or print). On my Nikon Coolscan, I crank out the highest resolution for 35mm. They are so tiny and rich with detail. On my flatbed scanner—used for larger sized film—I might double or triple the resolution (or magnification). For the 8x10 sheets of film, I just doubled it. There is no magic number. It all depends on how you will use them. Generally, as I always say, keep the resolution no lower than 300 ppi/dpi and you'll be safe.

2. Use good photo hygiene. That is, avoid touching the film with your bare fingers, hands or mouth. Use gloves. Fellow genealogy conference vendor Fun Stuff For Genealogists has a nice assortment of items to keep your originals in good shape.

3. When dealing with distortions in perspective for originals, exercise caution. In this weeks episode of Ask The Retoucher on the Photo Grafix University Live channel, I showed just how far you should go.

Please send your questions and problem photos, your location—and genealogical society affiliation if appropriate—to Eric for future "Ask The Retoucher" columns. Visit Photo Grafix online for more information.

Eric runs Photo Grafix, a humble photo-retouching studio in Evanston, Illinois (USA), making photo illustrations and improving photos for hundreds of people and companies worldwide. If he doesn't know the answer, he won't rest until he finds it. Eric Basir is at your service: With each "Ask The Retoucher" article, he'll help you successfully tackle your digital photographic problems. 

Interact LIVE with Eric during the weekly Ask The Retoucher Photoshop Q&A show, every Saturday at 10 am EDT (9 am CDT, 8 am MDT, 7 am PDT)

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