Quick Reference to Scanning Photos

Scan Correct Color Smooth Texture Reduce Noise Remove Dust Repair Crop

Step 1: Scan Photos
 • For prints: Set dpi to 600. Use 1200 with small prints (2x3, etc) for larger images.
 • For enlargements: Double the dpi for 2x enlargements, triple for 3x, and so forth.
 • For slides & negatives: Set dpi to 3000 (high quality) or 4000 (archive quality).
 • Set color depth to 48-bit Color. Set image format to tiff. Set option to attach icc profile.
 • Make appropriate settings for type of scan: straight or color corrected.
 • Make a scan. Archive the scanned image. Make a copy for editing.
Step 2: Correct Color and Adjust Levels
 • Convert to sRGB. If automatically correcting the color, make tweaks afterwards.
 • If manually correcting the color, adjust levels and colors to fix faded photos.
 • In all cases, fix saturation, color cast, shadows, brightness, etc. Beware of clipping.
Step 3: Smooth Textured Photos
 • Step 3A: Use an fft filter to remove pattern texture.
 • Step 3B: Use a noise filter to remove random texture. Check for smearing.
 • Step 3C: Use a surface blur filter using a small radius (1 or 2) & a low threshold of 10+.
    • Optionally select areas to use blur filter. Avoid areas with fine details.
    • Try radius of 1 to soften, 2 for affected skin, 3 for solid areas (window, sky).
    • Try threshold of 10. Raise by 5 if needed until noise gone & edges softened.
    • May need to adjust values for 300/1200dpi. Undo if details smeared.
Step 4: Reduce Noise
 • Use Photoshop Reduce Noise, Topaz DeNoise, or other noise filter.
 • Try various strengths and other settings to reduce noise while keeping almost all detail.
 • May blur facial features, hair, grass, leaves, wood, fabric, fine textures, designs, etc.
Step 5: Remove Dust & Scratches
 • Select different areas and use appropriate strengths (radius) of the dust & scratch filter.
 • For 600dpi, try radius of 1: tiny dots, 2: dots/light scratches, 3: specks/spots/scratches.
 • Threshold of 5+ for blurry pix/shadows, 10+ for low contrast, 20+ for contrasty areas.
 • May blur eyes, teeth, coarse fabric, patterns, shiny objects, rings, lettering, etc.
Step 6: Repair Damaged Photos
 • Many tools in Photoshop Elements won't work with 16-bit grayscale or 48-bit color scans.
 • Use Ps CS/CC, Affinity Photo, Inpaint, Paint.net (pc), Pixelmator (mac), SnapHeal (mac), etc.
 • After repair is complete, check levels. Archive the restored image.
Step 7: Crop and Sharpen
 • Crop as needed (4x6 prints, etc). Resize as needed (web, etc).
 • Sharpen as needed. Save it in desired format (jpeg for social site, etc).
 • Done with all the photos in your collection? Congratulations! You did good!