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One Of My First Scans  
User currently offlineAus_Spotter From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 286 posts, RR: 3
Posted (14 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3589 times:

I've noticed there have been a lot of questions lately from people new to this site about opinions on their scans. I figured since I just found a CD with some of my first airplane scans on it, I'd post one of the photos as it was when I first started trying to get photos accepted on this site.

Here is a photo I took in February of 2000 soon after I bought my first SLR. Starting in this month I realized that I didn't know how to scan and edit photos.


Looking through this CD of similar quality scans all I can think is how crappy they look....and at the time I scanned them I thought they looked great! I remember being pissed everytime I uploaded photos to airliners.net because they were all rejected and I couldn't see what was wrong with them. The looked fine to me!

Here is a picture taken about a year later with the same camera, same lens and same film. Scanned on the same scanner and edited with the same software.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Jason Knutson

As you can see there is just a tiny bit of improvement in quality.

I am in no way an expert at this, but my determination to get photos accepted on this site has taught me a lot about scanning and editing photos and I feel I have improved a lot in the last year and a half. Even now as I go back through some of my photos that are on airliners.net I find some that I think to myself "How the hell did that one get accepted?". Maybe someday when I can find the extra time I'll go back and rescan some of my older photos.

For those that are just starting out, don't give up. If you've never done this before it takes time. Just because you think your photos look good doesn't mean they are (as I learned firsthand and viewable in the 2 examples I gave).

Jason Knutson - Austin, TX

2 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (14 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3564 times:

could you also tell how you got the new ones to look so much better, as that would be a valuable lesson. Far more so than your article which, as it is, reads like a rant about people asking for opinions.

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineAus_Spotter From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 286 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (14 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3559 times:

Ooops....sorry...guess I should have read it closer before posting. I wrote that in Word and seem to have missed quite a large portion when I copied and pasted. I'm in no way complaining about people asking questions although I can see how someone might think that from the original post. I've responed to a lot of questions lately about photos and tried to offer tips and help.

Here is the missing section of my original post:

(Insert everything before last paragraph of first post here)

I think what helped me the most in improving the quality of my photos was airliners.net. Reading through this forum I picked up some ideas. I started looking through the photos on airliners.net that had the same type of aircraft that I had taken a photo of and compared them after I had scanned a photo. I soon realized that I had to be doing something wrong because my photos looked nothing like many of the photos I looked at. I started scanning photos trying different settings and figuring out what worked best. Once I scanned a photo I'd save it and leave it. I stopped trying to upload them immediately. I'd go back several hours later or even days and look at them and most of the time what I thought had looked good when I scanned it, now looked like crap. I eventually found settings that seemed to give me good results.

I scanned all my prints at 300dpi directly into an image editing program (at the time it was Microsoft Photo Editor). From here I would crop and resize the photo to an acceptable size which at the time was 640x480 I believe. (I now use 1000xwhatever). Using the shapen feature in Photo Editor I'd sharpen with a setting of 2 or sometimes even 1 depending on the photo and if necessary I'd make an adjustment to the brightness and/or contrast to make the photo look right. I'd then save the photo as a jpeg with 90% quality and if it still looked good after a couple hours, I'd upload it. Now granted, this usually got my photos accepted with warnings, at least they were getting accepted. My scanner at the time was an HP Scanjet 4200C. Most of the photos were taken with Kodak Gold 200 and processed at a one hour developer with glossy finish.
(This is how the photo of the US C-32 linked to in my first posted was scanned and edited)

I still pretty much follow the same settings as above but now I use Photoshop 6 and have a better quality scanner. I also save all my files using the highest quality compression setting possible. I now use different film which gives much better results (Fuji Reala 100) and as of April have been shooting quite a few slides (Fuji Sensia II 100). These 2 changes have made a pretty large impact in the quality of the scans I am able to achieve.

(insert last paragraph of my first post here)

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