Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Guide to Backing Up Your Film Negatives

With digital cameras being so prevalent and smartphone cameras reaching new megapixel heights—just like this PC Mag piece it's becoming less and less likely that you'll own a camera that uses, actual film to take pictures.

We know that it can be easy to misplace and mistreat your raw negatives and that they can take up a lot of space if you're shooting frequently. If you want to edit and share them digitally I've put together this handy guide to cleaning, scanning, and backing up your film negatives to ensure that they're safe, stored, and ready for touch ups.

Prepare and Clean Your Film

Whether or not your film is relatively new or has been sitting around your house for ages, you still need to make sure it's clean before you get to the scanning portion of this guide. You're going to want some clean white gloves for this one along with a means of removing dust. You can use a fresh new microfiber cloth or a dust blower to remove every possible grain of dust that you can.

Scan Your Film

This part of the process is relatively easy and all depends on the type of scanner you own. The ones offered on My Smart Buy, for example, allow you to scan all your film onto an SD card. You will then load the photos onto your computer using the appropriate slot on your desktop or laptop.

Other scanners require a negative holder that requires you to make sure the film is as flat (and, again, as clean!) as possible. You can flatten the negatives out however you see fit—maybe an old textbook from school?—and then load them in before placing the holder onto your scanner. This process will require being reasonably adept at your scanner's software.

Once you're all set, then it's time to store the film again—or dispose of it if you want to make that decision. I suggest storing the film in a sleeve, binder, or something where it will not be directly touching the air. Again, you want to keep it away from dust at all times.

Edit and Digitally Store Your Photos

Now comes the time to properly edit and store all those photos you have scanned. How that happens all depends on the scanner you have acquired and its accompanying software. Should you use a scanner with an SD card, all you have to do is upload the images to your computer and use whichever photo-editing software you prefer.

I recommend using Adobe Photoshop for its versatility and ease of use. And once you're there, you can use the editing options made available to do things like remove any dust or scratches on the image. Although we cleaned them already, there will probably be some stuff left for you to touch up.

Good luck, If you need any more advice on transferring analogue pictures to digital pictures then please feel free to ask in the comments section on my blog.