Saturday, March 31, 2007

Can't Scan?

There are a lot of family photos that I'd like to share with other family members. But lots of times, I have the only original. I could go to a local convenient store and use their photo scanning booth and get it to a format where I can e-mail or post it. But if you have a digital camera, you could do the same thing. And if you can edit your photos a bit, it can be as good as the original photograph.

You need to do this in a location where there is bright diffused light. An example would be right next to a bright window where the light is diffused with a curtain or drape. You don't want any harsh sun rays to come in because it may throw off your camera's sensor. Also, you will get an unattractive reflection on your photos. Another example would be to go outside in the early morning or the late afternoon. But never in direct sunlight. If you happen to do this at noontime, you can take shelter under a porch or garage where the light won't be as harsh.

With enough light, you don't need a tripod. But if you're indoors and it's getting late, you will either need a tripod or wait until the next day. Sunlight is better light than using your tungsten light lamps at home. (It can be done but you may need a tripod AND to change the white balance setting in your camera.)

Place your pictures on a sturdy surface. If the picture bends at the corner, you may use removable tape to secure it onto the surface. I like to use a white piece of paper so that light can get a bit under the photo. Look for the "macro" setting on your camera. This is usually indicated by the flower icon on your camera. Make sure this is turned On. And more importantly, make sure your flash is Off. (It can be turned on/off as easily as you would your macro setting.)

Take a few pictures of the photograph at different angles and different distances. Don't worry if you have captured what's behind your photo, you can 'crop' it later on the computer. If you want to get a little creative, you can use the different settings on your camera. For example, you can use your "black & white" setting to change the mood of the photo. The photo at left was taken on a green towel near a bright window. As you can tell, I used the black and white setting. The photo at right is cropped to exclude the towel at back. (Yes, that's me as a baby.) You can just as easily leave the towel as a background if you chooose to.

The really shiny photos are tricky. Being next to a bright window also means that YOU are being illuminated as well, not just the photograph. You can try different angles or different lighting situations to avoid getting your lens into the photograph. (As seen on the lower right corner in the photo at left.) Try to avoid getting your lens reflected in your picture.

Technically, if you have the skills and the photography software, you can eliminate this as well as other imperfections that come with older photographs. But sometimes leaving them as is can add to the vintage feel of some photographs.

There are other things you can do as well. Taking photographs of personal documents or items in your home can be a great way to document what's in your home in case if a crisis or robbery. The personal documents may not be valid as the original but at least you have a "copy" of it. I wish I had done that with my high school diploma. I lost mine during a family crisis and it was an important document to me.

Try taking pictures of your pictures. You can share the photographs that have been in the closet for years. And it may help stir long lost memories.


Sonia:) said...

Thanks Amanda!

I have been wondering if it would work out if I did this with my digital camera. I am definitely going to try it now.

Amanda Yepiz said...

I hope it works. Give it a try!

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