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How to deal with both dark and bright negatives

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  • How to deal with both dark and bright negatives

    I have some negatives that I am scanning that have some very dark areas and also some very bright areas. Right now, I have been making 2 scans. One bright enough where I can see many of the details in the dark, and a second (darker) scan where I don't blow out the details in the bright lights. Since there are so many extremes in these photos, there didn't seem to be one single setting to capture all areas.

    I figured I could go into photoshop and add both as separate layers and do something to allow the detail from both areas. Is this correct? What layer type/mode does this? What is the best way to deal with situations like this?

    Thank you for the assistance.

  • #2
    Honestly, I'd probably use Vuescan or Silverfast to scan in HDR. But there are automatic and manual techniques to make HDR in Photoshop. I keep mentioning HDR because insufficient dynamic range is essentially your problem, and working in HDR then exporting the non-HDR view you want from that could better preserve the tonal gradations (or just keep them smooth).

    But I suspect putting the two exposures on different layers, then using Lighten or Darken blend mode (depending on which exposure you have on top), could work, but only with judicious layer masking. And anytime I'm recommending blend modes, I try to always say to experiment with the other modes. You might get something you like better, or maybe weird and amazing.
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    • #3
      Thank you for pointing that out. I didn't even realize SilverFast had an HDR function. I will give it a try!

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