How to get a good scan of a matte finish photo?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by default, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. default

    default Guest

    I have some pictures from a recent trip that were taken with a disposable
    35mm camera. Obviously the picture quality is not great, partly because
    disposable cameras don't take great pictures, and partly because they were
    X-ray scanned 19 times through airports sometimes in checked luggage,
    sometimes as carry-on. About half the scans were before exposure, the other
    half after. They were Kodak 800 ISO. I wasn't expecting great results from
    a single-use film camera, but it wasn't a safe area to be showing off an
    expensive digital camera. Some of the pictures had good composition and are

    The 4x6" prints are a bit dull and not that sharp, however I would like to
    digitize a few of them and add them to the digital camera set just because
    they form part of the memories of that trip.

    Unfortunately I let someone talk me into getting the matte finish and not
    the glossy finish. When scanning these on a flatbed scanner, I get little
    coloured speckles in the image from the finish on the print. Scanning
    higher or lower resolution doesn't really help. So far the best I have come
    up with is to scan at very high resolution, adjust levels, run the image
    through a noise reduction program and then resize down and sharpen just a

    Is there a better way, or should I just get the important ones reprinted on
    glossy from the negative and then scan that. Can a photofinishing store
    digitize and invert a negative directly with better results?

    Thankyou in advance for anyones suggestions on this.
    default, Feb 14, 2006
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  2. default

    Mark C. Guest

    Interesting. I've never had that problem with a matte finish.
    Does your scanner software have a descreening option?
    Not that it's relevant to a matte finish, but it might produce
    the same or better results without all the post processing.

    Another thing that might work is to get a thin piece of clear
    glass or acrylic and put it between the photos and scanner
    Mark C., Feb 14, 2006
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    Colin D Guest

    If you have a good digital camera with good macro capabilities, you
    could try re-photographing the prints. The speckles come about because
    of reflections from the scanner lamp, and using a camera lets you choose
    a more suitable light to shoot in.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Feb 14, 2006
  4. Since it was a disposable film camera, I suggest you have someone make
    really good prints from the negatives or second best to scan the negatives
    with a good scanner. Last choice would be to scan those prints with a
    different scanner. I have never had a problem scanning a matt print.
    Textured prints yes, but not matt. I suspect it may be a limitation of your
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 14, 2006
  5. I agree. Matte finish is much better for prints than glossy and should scan
    easier into the scanner. If you have the negatives it is best to scan them
    to get the best results.
    newfysnapshot, Feb 14, 2006
  6. default

    default Guest

    Possibly it is. Glossy prints with the smooth finish scan well. The matte
    prints have tiny pockets on the surface and seem to cause the scanner to
    insert a coloured speckle at that point. Probably some internal glare in
    the hole. I think I will just get them reprinted at a different lab or see
    they can scan the negatives. The pictures do need a little bit of work
    anyway to improve the contrast and in some cases the colour.
    default, Feb 14, 2006
  7. default

    default Guest

    I do have a Canon 350D and a tripod. I could try this method with some
    careful lighting to avoid uneveness and glare and use a 18% grey card to
    pre-correct white balance and to meter the exposure. I suspect that it will
    be hard to get a good copy but it is worth a try.
    default, Feb 14, 2006
  8. default

    default Guest

    Thank you for your response.

    It does have a de-screening or moire reduction feature. Usually this will
    further soften the picture. However the little micro-pits in the matte
    surface that are causing the little reflections that make the speckles are
    not in a rectangular grid, so I don't know if it will help as I am not
    getting moire pattern effects. I'll give it a try though to see if it helps
    the speckling. Glossy prints scan well generally for me.

    Putting another layer of glass between the photos and the scanner would make
    it worse, I suspect with even more contrast loss from the reflections on the
    additional two surfaces.
    default, Feb 14, 2006
  9. default

    Mark C. Guest

    Don't assume that before you try it. It's possible the second
    sheet of glass or plastic will help.
    Mark C., Feb 14, 2006
  10. default

    Sel Guest

    Some scanners like the canon have a magazine photo option in the
    scanning software. Try that. In fact try all the colour settings.
    Sel .... :)
    "Sel's Computers"
    Ph: 07-5781950
    New Zealand.
    Sel, Feb 14, 2006
  11. Not to disagree with the above reply, since I've never tried scanning
    matte prints, but I have a technique that might be useful. The most
    difficult photo to get a decent scan of, is one published in a
    newspaper. It's made up of very discreet dots, and scanning simply
    intensifies these dots. The initial scanned result is terrible. So,
    my technique to minimize this is nothing I created, but learned from
    others. Use PhotoShop to apply Gaussian Blur to the image. Then
    apply a modest amount ouf Unsharp Mask to that. If needed, I first do
    an Image-Adjust-AutoColor on it, but always before the blurring and
    Olin K. McDaniel, Feb 23, 2006
  12. default

    John Wilson Guest

    Instead of scanning, try setting up a camera to rephotograph the
    print, with light from a very oblique angle - you might find it works
    better than a scan.

    Some 'matt' prints seem to scan OK, other are very 'cloudy' with
    scattered light from the matt finish. You seem to be having this
    problem. Ultimately, assuming the photo acks are unmarked, you could
    backlight them and re-photograph them which would totally sort the
    John Wilson
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    John Wilson, Feb 23, 2006
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