Developing: How do I scan black and white negatives with a flatbed scanner?

Ever wondered how some people have those film borders on their photos (whether those square sprockets or the brand of film and the film shot number)? You can get them if you scan with a flatbed scanner! Aside from the scanner, you will need a photo imaging tool such for it (Photoshop can be used for this).

Here are the steps on how to scan black and white negatives with a flatbed scanner:

  1. Place the strip of negative in your scanner. Don’t you worry – it doesn’t matter which side you scan since it could be adjusted via your imaging tool afterwards. Tinker with the settings of your scanner whether you’d like to scan it with auto-color or dust removal.
  2. Open the scanned photo in your photo imaging tool. It should look like your negative. The trick is that you’d want to invert the “negative” to make it “positive.” If you are using Photoshop, go to Image → Adjustment → Invert. Or simply Ctrl + I in Photoshop. Voila! You have succeeded in inverting your film.
  3. Since you have scanned the whole strip of your negative, what you need to do now is to crop them – it’s up to you if you would like to crop them with the borders. You can then proceed to cropping and saving them individually.

Here are some things to consider:

  • You could adjust the brightness and the contrast of the picture. You could use the borders as a reference – it usually should be pitch black.
  • When you are cropping the photos individually, check if their orientation is correct. Sometimes it might be flipped over the wrong way. If this happens, go to the menu and click on Image → Image Rotation → Flip Horizontally/Vertically to correct the image orientation.

written on 2010-03-30 in #120 #35mm #film