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Scanning large old photo

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  • Scanning large old photo

    What is best approach to take to make copies of very large old photos that reside in a frame.? They are way too big for my home scanner.
    Should I remove them from the frame where they have resided under glass since the early 1900's?. Photos themselves are in very good condition. Friend wants to distribute copies to family members.
    Thanks for any help on this. JR

  • #2
    I would be hesitant to remove them from the frame unless you are very careful. The best bet would be to take them to a professional and have them shoot copies...either with traditional techniques or a digital back camera. This can get a bit expensive but you will then have a file or negative from which future copies can be made at any time.


    • #3
      I agree, take them to a photogrpher and get an image either on film or better yet capture the image with a digital camera. If you do not have a good camera, make friends with a studio in your area, maybe even do a little trading back and forth. At the very least ask in advance so that when the customer comes in you can quote a price for the "scan".


      • #4
        Glass of that age can sometimes have a dirt film inside and / or a residue that does not come off outside. It is also harder to copy through glass because of reflections (although not impossible). If it can be carefully taken out of the frame, with your friends help / permission, I would do that for the best quality. If it looks delicate and dangerous to remove the photo from the frame then definently take it to a pro to copy. If you can remove it from the frame then you could either take it to a professional or scan it in sections yourself at your discretion. This probably goes without saying, but if the original is bowed at all take it to someone to copy on a copy stand instead of scanning - Roger


        • #5
          Not being into restoration I find it interesting and take the sage advice offered so far to heart - take care of the original, and perhaps try to capture the original before it is disturbed (insurance). Even if this capture is not 'ideal' it may be better than the mess that could possibly happen once things are moved from their original setting.

          That being said, two general thoughts on this general topic:

          * Scanning - a good drum scanner can handle large originals, but they must be bent/taped to the drum. So a good flatbed would seem the safest option here. When scanning sections it is best to turn off automated colour/tone adjustments and scan each tile with the same fixed settings (to reduce stitching tonality/colour issues in Photoshop). Weight down the original to help with the lighting issues if it is not flat.

          * Capture - using a special rig/copy stand that can pan the camera in fixed X/Y increments is great but perhaps not that common. Tiles can be captured and stitched in Photoshop, just as in scanning in sections. This allows a larger possible resolution and more detail than a single capture which frames the entire image.

          It obviously depends on the output and reproduction expectations on what method will be used, as there is obviously some work involved in all this. <g>


          Stephen Marsh.


          • #6
            Thanks for all the good suggestions and explanations. A am going to recommend this project be done by professionals. JR


            • #7
              Unless you know what you're doing I would suggest extreme caution. If it's a really old photo you may damage it beyond repair taking it out of the frame. Here's a good thread that you might look at.

              I'm not sure it is an ambrotype or daguerreotype you're talking about but if you need more info check out search on the Retouch Pro menu and search out more on these two types of photos. There's lots of good info.

              All in all I agree with the suggestions others have given you. Check it out by a pro first because damage is permanent. Good luck and let us know what you find out. If it does come out of the frame and you want to scan it, you will probably have to scan it in sections.


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