Should you edit your film scans?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://ramblingpolymath.com/2020/03/why-you-should-edit-your-film-scans/

I got back into shooting film and I absolutely edit my film scans. Of course, my edits are limited given my scans are JPG.

I used to scan my film using my Olympus Pen, a 1:2 macro on a homemade copy stand. However, the process is fiddly and you really do need a 1:1 Macro for best results. I’ve often considered going back to scanning my negatives using this method, but ultimately the convenience of paying the lab a few extra bucks wins out. The Dark Room does an excellent job scanning in my opinion.

I’ve found that at least with sufficiently high-resolution scans you still have a fair bit of room for edits, at least on Pro films like Fuji Pro 400H or Portra. I’ve successfully lifted shadows more than a stop when shooting the former.

I’d love to hear more about your editing regiment. Also how/where do you get your film processed/scanned. My edits, as I explained in my post, are pretty lite. I shoot film for the aesthetic so I usually stick to correcting white balance, exposure, and removing any debris and dust that may have found their way onto the negative during scanning.

I have, for the last few months, sent my film to The Darkroom for developing and scanning. Perhaps it was COVID isolation but, despite the proximity, I had not been to downtown Princeton for several months and had forgotten that we still had a camera shop, which is odd, because I bought an M42 lens there last year. COVID fog? :man_shrugging:t4:

In any case, I called the shop (New York Camera), and they offer full film services. I’ll spend my money locally from now on. I also bought an Epson V600 film/print scanner to help my wife’s family archive old family photos. We’re at the age when elders are dying, and we want to preserve some history for our children. I want to scan some of the negatives myself and compare to the professional scans.

My film edits are minor, usually involving perspective correction. Unless I use a tripod, I tend to lean. I may also do some lift shadows/highlights as needed. For digital, I tend to play with the sliders in Lightroom, shifting shadows, mid-tones, and highlights more because digital is more forgiving.

The hardest job of the photographer is seeing the way the camera sees. ~ David duChemin

If you can scan your own film it can be a rewarding experience. It’s even better if you can find a local lab. I have a membership with my local lab, but I’ve had trouble with some of their work and have gone back to The Darkroom for the time being.

If you do end up finding a workflow for scanning your negatives withe V600 that you’re happy with please share some images and or a link to your blog post detailing your experience.