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scanning B&W negatives

TI began my journey as a photographer back when I was just 13 years old, in the darkroom developing and printing B&W film. It was a birthday gift of a little darkroom kit. I have had a love affair for B&W ever since.  Now I have the task of scanning the thousands of black and white negatives that are in my own collection.

Scanning with a DSLR 

I say copying because that is how I am doing it. Using a DSLR and copy stand. The system I have developed allows me to do it all by hand. Much faster than can be done with a negative scanner with the added benefit of being a better quality copy.

I have always been a somewhat organized person.  Notice the qualifier “somewhat”, I use that because  I am not OCD about it. (I am not Adrian Monk from the TV show) I am organized to the point where I can find photos I took back in 1975.  That organization has helped me in my photography business to keep organized when I scan black and white negatives, especially when they are my own.

It was much different when I shot film. 

When I shot these images, the process was to go into the darkroom and develop the rolls of film. I would then make what is known as contact sheets of the photos. Little thumbnails that I could look over and decide what the best ones to make enlargements from. Because of this, I have never seen the majority of these images any larger than a thumbnail the size of the 35mm negative. So it’s quite an eye-opener to see some of these photos now, after thirty or forty years.

When I began to scan my collection of negatives and slides with the film scanner, I found that it was very time-consuming, especially for higher resolution scans.  I had been sold on the idea that I needed to use a scanner to get a quality digital image. Then, somewhere along the line, I got the idea that I could copy them with my DSLR using a macro lens, and a homemade lightbox.

I developed a system

After much experimentation,  reading some online forums and blogs, along with a couple of YouTube videos, I had a system. I could copy negatives fast and produce quality “scans” of the images that are better than the negative scanner I used. Now came the act of converting that negative image to a positive so I could work with it.

Photoshop has a way to convert the negative to a positive, but it is one at a time- process. There are a few other pieces of software that will batch convert them, but they only do an adequate job. I recently discovered and began using software that can allow for a wide range of adjustments, produces images that are even better than my negative scanner, with high resolution and excellent tonal quality.

Now I could not only get the hundreds of rolls in my own collection converted over to digital, but also offer them to my customers a very reasonable price.

We do everything by hand 

So when you bring us your negatives to convert to digital files, we are doing them by hand, seeing each one, and take a photo of it. Then we take them into our software, make any corrections to each negative and produce a better product then any automatic machine can do.

So if your ready to have all those old negatives converted to digital files that allow you to share them with family, friends, and on Facebook, give us a call.