Photos from old Negatives
Do you have a bunch of old (35mm) photo negatives that you have discovered in the course of your research? The cost to have those old negatives printed can mount up very quickly, as I'm sure anyone who has begun to have some printed, will attest. So, what is the alternative?
I discovered that with a relatively inexpensive scanner and photo editing program, you can make digital "prints" that you can save and share. While these are not of the quality of a professionally produced print, they allow you to decide which negatives are viable or desirable for reproduction.
Here is the process:
1.Place the negative on the scanner bed and cover with a clean sheet of white paper. I like to use a glossy cardstock as it seems to give a better 'read' of the images on the film.
2.Scan the film to your computer and open in your photo editor. A really good one for under $100 is Paint Shop Pro. It is easy to use and has all the features of most of the more expensive software.
3. Now you have the image you want to do a reverse. Basically you do a negative image of the negative, which gives you a dark positive. (This process depends on your software but is usually a one or two click operation)
You should save the negative before commiting the changes, just in case.
4. Lighten the photo by adjusting contrast and brightness until you have an image that you can easily recognize. Save it as a copy of the original file. I use a -b appended to the original filename.You can now print or post the image.
This process, while not a replacement for standard print, allows you to send a copy to others for identification, or share copies for fun and info. My aunt was thrilled to get some copies of her family that she had thought wer long lost, and offered to have real prints made, in addition to offering invaluable identificaiton of people in the photo.
I hope this gives some of you a chance to "see what you've got" without the added expense. After all, these days it is imperative that we put our money to our research, especially when on tight budgets.
on 2006-06-15 08:59:08
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