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Digitizing damaged and delicate photos

From: Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos

Video: Digitizing damaged and delicate photos

Most of your photos, whether old or new, should be able to be scanned safely using a flatbed scanner. There are, however, a few exceptions you'll want to keep in mind. Determine the general condition of older photos. If they seem to be in fairly good condition lying flat, not flaking or losing pieces, they should be fine to scan on the flatbed. If the photos are torn in several pieces, rather than trying to fit the pieces together before scanning, put them face down in general order with spaces between them, to make it easier to put them back together when you go into Photoshop.

Digitizing damaged and delicate photos

Most of your photos, whether old or new, should be able to be scanned safely using a flatbed scanner. There are, however, a few exceptions you'll want to keep in mind. Determine the general condition of older photos. If they seem to be in fairly good condition lying flat, not flaking or losing pieces, they should be fine to scan on the flatbed. If the photos are torn in several pieces, rather than trying to fit the pieces together before scanning, put them face down in general order with spaces between them, to make it easier to put them back together when you go into Photoshop.

Do not under any circumstance; you use tape to piece them together. When removing photos from albums, keep a few things in mind. Very old album pages were highly acidic. If the photo has been in them for years, the acid is most likely eating its way through the image. The photo needs to be removed. There are a few challenges such as pictures that have been glued to the pages of those old albums. Rubber cement either breaks down over time, allowing you to remove the photo easily, or it literally sticks like glue.

If the photo doesn't remove easily, take the whole page out of the album and tear or peel off as much as you can from the back of the photo. If you can't get it off the back, it's better to leave it than to rip your photo. Another worst offender is the mainstay of the 70s, magnetic album pages; bad enough on their own, it only gets worse if they were stored in sweltering garages or attics for years. Even in the best case scenario, the photo should be removed with extreme care.

Slide your fingernail under the corner of the photo to gently test just how stuck the photo is. There is a wonderful little inexpensive tool called a microspatula that will be well worth a few dollars it cost, even if you only have a few photos to pry loose from a magnetic page. Slide the microspatula under the photo, and work it gently. Continue only if it comes up easily. If it sticks at all, don't force it. If you have very damaged framed or extremely delicate photos or documents, you may have to take a picture of them with your digital camera.

It doesn't matter if you're not a professional photographer. You can just use a little point and shoot camera like this. When you have no other alternatives, it's a great way to digitize heirlooms that may not be around much longer. In the case of delicate unframed photos and documents, try to get a photo of them laying flat. If you're capturing the photo, you can't take off the wall, take a lot of shots from different angles, so you have options. Adjust the lights, and try to cover windows, so no glare shows up on your image.

If the photo is flaking, losing pieces, or turning to dust, it might not be a good idea to put it on the scanner. In fact, you might want to put it in a plastic sleeve, and keep it there. If an old unframed photo isn't completely flat, either because of age or design such as a convex silver portrait, don't try to scan it. Use your camera to capture your image. Even though, you'll be able to safely scan most of your photos on your flatbed scanner with little fear, it's still a good idea to check their condition before you start.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos
Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos

40 video lessons · 5996 viewers

Janine Smith
Author

 
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  1. 1m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
  2. 13m 20s
    1. Identifying your media
      2m 45s
    2. Determining your equipment needs
      2m 24s
    3. Setting your scanner
      3m 26s
    4. Scanning negatives, slides, and film
      1m 11s
    5. Digitizing damaged and delicate photos
      3m 34s
  3. 10m 51s
    1. Importing photos into the Organizer
      3m 34s
    2. Adding captions and notes
      2m 47s
    3. Adding keyword and smart tags
      4m 30s
  4. 25m 11s
    1. Using Levels
      4m 7s
    2. Fixing fades with Threshold
      3m 22s
    3. Adjusting contrast using Color Curves
      4m 18s
    4. Darkening images with blend modes
      2m 12s
    5. Adjusting brightness and contrast
      2m 2s
    6. Using Quick Fix for lighting
      4m 12s
    7. Fixing automatically with Guided Edit
      4m 58s
  5. 18m 59s
    1. Using Levels to fix color
      3m 29s
    2. Correcting color automatically with Enhance
      3m 39s
    3. Correcting color with complementary colors
      5m 19s
    4. Using Color Variations
      3m 28s
    5. Using Quick Fix for color
      3m 4s
  6. 22m 37s
    1. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      5m 24s
    2. Using the Healing Brush
      5m 5s
    3. Working with newspaper and magazine images
      3m 12s
    4. Softening paper texture
      4m 40s
    5. Taming fingerprints
      4m 16s
  7. 42m 52s
    1. Repairing small rips and creases
      4m 22s
    2. Repairing large tears
      8m 22s
    3. Filling in missing pieces
      5m 36s
    4. Reassembling a photo from pieces
      10m 12s
    5. Fixing and replacing backgrounds
      5m 0s
    6. Using Photomerge with panoramas
      3m 59s
    7. Repairing documents
      5m 21s
  8. 22m 48s
    1. Creating a photo book
      6m 1s
    2. Making a calendar
      3m 52s
    3. Creating a personalized greeting card
      4m 26s
    4. Making a slideshow (Windows only)
      4m 22s
    5. Creating a flyer
      4m 7s
  9. 25s
    1. Final thoughts
      25s

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