Color-Correct Your Film Scans


Color-Correcting Film Scans

When you get your film scanned by a lab, they usually run it through a machine/program that has pre-determined settings to make the process quick and efficient. Meaning: more likely than not, a machine will scan your photos on auto-setting. Which means that your colors, highlights, and your shadows will most-likely have been averaged out.

You can correct the highlights and shadows in Photoshop. In the following screen shots you see a photo that has been scanned by a lab. The shadows are washed out, and the highlights are toned down. I correct this in Photoshop using Levels (you can also use Levels to adjust the color, which is what I cover in the video tutorial).

Photo Zero

As you can see, the highlight is pulled way down, and the shadows are really faded. This is because the lab scanned hundreds and thousands of images a day, so they’re going about it the most efficient way - averaging everything out on auto-mode. So you have to make sure to correct this in a program otherwise what you are seeing is not a complete depiction of your photos. 

Photo Zero

I’ve seen so many people feel discouraged after they get their scans back; not realizing that what they’re seeing is not the final image. In the second image you see how I’ve adjusted the levels slightly so it’s a more correct representation of what I photographed. You don’t need Photoshop necessarily, but it’s the program I use for this purpose. I’m sure there are apps on smartphones that can handle this task.

I cover this topic in one of the videos in this playlist


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