Scanning Prints versus Negatives

As I was working on a client project today, it occurred to me I could illustrate one of the scanning principles we often talk about: it’s usually best to scan negatives rather than prints.

The first photo is an example of three original prints (the smaller squares) along with three photos that I scanned from the negatives then printed on my printer. I could still do a little tweaking of the colors (the blues are a bit too blue, for example), but overall you can see how much better the versions from the negatives look! And even if the negatives are a little scratched or worn, chances are they haven’t been handled nearly as much as the prints.

Also, if you look at the close-up photo of the graduation photos, check out the difference on the right-hand side: you can see how much of the image got cut off when they printed the original print. There’s an entire book missing! (I circled it in red.) This isn’t so important in this example, but I came across a photo where a person’s face was cut off so you couldn’t see who was in the photo. Scanning from the negative solved that problem!

If you’d like to get some of your photos scanned, see if you can find the negatives to go with and have those scanned instead if they’re in good shape – you’ll be amazed at the difference!

Published by Amy

Professional Organizer specializing in digital and photo organization. Bassist/singer for prog-rock duo Clatter.

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