How I Edit Film Scans

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What is editing film scans? Editing film scans is the same as editing a digital file except you have less  control about the final outcome of the images due to you are usually working with Jpeg or Tiff files unlike when you are editing digital files where the images are raw files. The main downside to this is that is hard to recover any details in the shadows or the highlights because of this you need to make sure you meter for the shadows or the subject correctly.

​Once you have scanned your film in open adobe Photoshop. For this instance i will be using Photoshop cs6 extended.

The first thing I do is go into image – adjustments – shadows and highlights.

 

By adjusting the shadows and highlights you can bring up the brightness of the image without having to compromise the image quality. The settings on the right hand side is the changes I have made this image. I always crush the highlights and bring up the shadows to complement the overexposed look.

​The next step is to adjust the white balance, we can do this by selecting image at the top again than going clicking adjustments then colour balance.

Every images white balance is different due to different lighting and how your lens takes colour. By adjusting the shadows I have balanced out the previous blue shadows and have turned them a natural black.

​By adjusting the midtones I am changing the skin colour, as you can see from the orignal image the skin tones are quite red to balance this I am adding more blue to the midtones.

​Turning the highlights slightly more cyan is going to help with the reddish skin.

​The last step is to slightly sharpen the image we can do this by going into filter – sharpen -smart sharpen by doing this we can choose the area we want to sharpen, the area I want to sharpen is his face.

​By adjusting the amount it will change how sharp the image is and the radius will change the area affected by sharpening, the smaller the radius the less grain/noise will be visible.

Before
After

Taken with a Leica M5 + Jupiter 8 50mm f2

Shot at f8 1/500th on Kodak Portra 400

Scanned and developed by Max Speilman

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