Updating Old Negatives

I’ve been worrying about what to do with a box of old photos and negatives that came from my dad. There are far too many to have commercially transposed and I’d have to go through them anyway since some are totally useless. I tried scanning them but started off disappointed then sank into despair at what I was managing to produce. Yesterday I decided to have a go at taking photos of the negatives and after finding a couple of lovely photos I’d never seen before I’m now hooked. I’m not sure I’ll get through all those in the box but I’ve done about 75 and at this stage I’m keen to continue. I realize others will have much more effective and successful setups but maybe there is someone out there looking for a simple way to deal with handed down negatives.

Here’s what I did.

I used Blutack to fix a black card "frame" onto the window. Positioned the negative and took a photo.
I used Blutack to fix a black card “frame” onto the window. Positioned the negative and took a photo.
I opened the file in Photoshop.  I selected the part I wanted then hit CTRL + I. That inverts the image.
I opened the file in Photoshop, selected the part I wanted then hit CTRL + I. (That inverts the image.)
I made changes to the lighting then copied my selection and saved it as a new file.
I made changes to the lighting then copied my selection and saved it as a new file.
A lovely old photo regained.
A lovely old photo regained.

I did have a few problems. After a few good shots my point and shoot camera kept picking up reflections so I had to abandon that in favour of my old SLR. Our window looks out over lots of trees and most times the camera wouldn’t focus on the negative but picked out the trees. I don’t have much faith in my ability to get the best focus manually.  Occasionally I could find what I thought was good focus then switch to Auto and the camera would fine tune it but often it just kept searching back and forth so I had to manually focus.

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Author: macmsue

I’m a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, auntie and friend. I prefer to be outside and am interested in photography, nature and different cultures. I believe everything on this earth has a right to be here but some things and some people would be happiest if their space was far away from mine. (Flies and biting bugs take note!) I don’t like housework and think dust is Nature’s way of saying, “This is my space, I was here first.”

So, what do you think?

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