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Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:11 am

Editing Scanned Black And White Photos

Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:54 am

I'm looking for some pointers on editing some black and white photos I inherited from my grandfather from the 1940s and 50s from his days as a USAF fighter pilot. Most of them are gloss photos, and a few in matte finish. I have not decided yet whether to upload to the site, but regardless, I'd like to apply the same high quality as is expected here.

I have been treating the scans as if they were my DSLR images. I've been editing dust spots, scratches and some bad developing results. As well, I've been adjusting the levels to consider contrast and tone. I have noticed that the originals and the scans, while b&w, have a slight color cast to them, usually a red or magenta. Is this normal for a black and white, and is it something I should leave? I have noticed it's easy to eliminate just by manipulating saturation.

Can anyone offer any other tips on the editing process for this? Maybe there's another thread somewhere I should look at?

Thanks in advance!
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Editing Scanned Black And White Photos

Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:13 am

Colour casts are not uncommon in B&W prints - this can be deliberate through the selection of paper or use of toner, or accidental due to improper processing and/or aging due to poor storage.

This is very easily eliminated in digital processing by simply converting the image to gray scale. In Photoshop,
Image -> mode ->grayscale

I would make this the last step in your editing process.

Incidentally, I would use this method only if the original was in B&W. When converting color image to B&W I prefer to use

Image -> adjust -> Black & white

As this gives you very suvbtle control over how particular colors are translated into grey scale - sort of like using filters when taking the photo.


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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RE: Editing Scanned Black And White Photos

Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:07 am

Thanks Colin, I appreciate the feedback and tips!

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