Low-cost Scanning Using A Window!


Do you have a window? Some Tape? and a digital camera? Then you can “scan” those 35mm negatives!

So here’s what you’ll need:

1. 35mm Negatives
2. Tape
3. A digital camera
4. A computer with photoshop or a similar editing program

All you do is tape the negatives to a window. Make sure your window is facing light, obviously this won’t work too well on dark days. You’ll notice that because it’s not completely white outside (as in there is buildings or grass or whatever is outside that the light won’t be entirely consistent through the negatives). This creates some weird effects. So move them around a bit and see what happens!

Then all you do is aim your digital camera at the negatives and focus them. I recommend manually focusing if your camera can or if you’re using a point and shoot set it to macro mode

Then bring the photos into photoshop (or similar program) and INVERT them. We gotta make those negatives positive! You should end up with some pretty funky colors. If you want you could tweak the colors to balance them out or leave them as is. Either way you’re going to get some funky results.

SO GO TRY IT! It’s the simplest and cheapest way to scan those negatives! :D

written by falsedigital on 2009-09-24 #gear #tutorials #weird #film #35mm #tips #window #experiment #tape #colorful #playing #scanning #tipster #funky #scan #quickie-tipster #varying


  1. dogtanian
    dogtanian ·

    no.4 is great!

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    I love n° 5 !

  3. trash-gordon-from-outer-space
    trash-gordon-from-outer-space ·

    yeah, why not?

  4. juznobsrvr
    juznobsrvr ·

    brilliant! i've been having difficulties with my scanner... i think i'll deep 6 it.

  5. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Very interesting effects for sure.

  6. abfa00
    abfa00 ·

    Wow, this sounds awesome- I wish I hadn't read about it after it got dark :(

  7. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Thanks guys!
    I even have another really fun way of doing this which I'll share with you in my next tip.

  8. hansie14
    hansie14 ·

    This is a coooool tip. Good work.

  9. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    If you guys do this please let me know. I'd love to see what you come up with :]

  10. amaan
    amaan ·

    this is totally raad!

  11. yiyo
    yiyo ·

    i'm doing it right now!
    let you know

  12. 1minute1second
    1minute1second ·

    this is cool. i'll have to try this out!

  13. luobodingr
    luobodingr ·

    excellent adaptation.. and I love the name "Chetto Scan". Did you coin that one? I can see user groups popping up all over the place!

  14. peteparker
    peteparker ·

    I'll try it and submit my results [it sounds pretty cool]

  15. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    luobodingr - haha thanks! Yeah I made up that term.
    peteparker - do it do it, I want to see what you come up with!

  16. danielflynn
    danielflynn ·

    hi, i tried this and am having difficulties getting the same results as you. i had left it on the window with full sun, then when i photograph it and invert it on photoshop, it just goes...weird (and no not a good weird). there is also no colour like their is in yours. if its any help i have the latest photoshop, fisheye 2, and pentax K200D.
    is it possible to maybe get a more detail explanation?

  17. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    danielflynn - Well first off it depends on your exposure. If you're using a digital SLR make sure to correctly set the exposure so you don't lose any details in the film. Second, you will get different results with different film. The easiest way to bring out the colors is go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Play with the curves to bring out all the details. Curves are your best friend when it comes to color correction. :D

  18. danielflynn
    danielflynn ·

    sweeeeeet. thank you so much. that actually worked. it came out PERFECT. great idea, ill be using it for my upcoming assignment at school - thanks

  19. danielflynn
    danielflynn ·

    oh, and i forgot to ask. about a month ago you said

    'Thanks guys!
    I even have another really fun way of doing this which I'll share with you in my next tip.'

    Im interested to see this next tip.

  20. adampaine
    adampaine ·

    1Really cool idea, I just finished 2 rolls of 120CN on a Diana that I will post soon. Great work

  21. ilovemydiana
    ilovemydiana ·

    thats a funny idea

  22. roland
    roland ·

    Yeah!! simple and nice idea......;)
    MUST try it

  23. misaka
    misaka ·

    really cool!!!! i´ll try it right now!!!!

  24. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    I love this Idea!!

  25. eqbal
    eqbal ·

    this is a really awesome idea =D
    im gonna try it!
    but im wonderin... can i scan my negatives instead? usin da light from da scanner

  26. messyourhairup
  27. itsdebraanne
    itsdebraanne ·

    i totally didn't need the scanning masks cuz i used my window too haha.

  28. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    Whenever I do the ghetto scan thing, I invert it and I get an annoying blueish tint -____-
    I try to fix it, but then the photo just looks horrible.

  29. jonalon
    jonalon ·

    hey i did this just go on my profile and it's the only album i have as i only just started lomo'ing thanks!

  30. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Thanks everyone for participating in this experiment!

    natalieerachel - You should try adjusting the curves in photoshop. Bring in more reds. :P

  31. nural
    nural ·

    this doesn't work on cloudy days, I'm upset now :((

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