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So I've been dropped in at the deep end and I'm a little out of my comfort zone! Being the family "graphics" person I must be good at this, no? 😂

I've been given the task of scanning photos and negatives which cover the last 70 years - around 1000. They are both colour and B&W, and of various types, sizes and condition. I've searched the forums on here and elsewhere and although there are really good snippets for specific restorations I can't find anyone describing a general workflow. I'm specifically looking for the order that things should be done and the rationale. For example, one tut said do the dust and scratch removal as a late/last step but my scanner has ICE and that does a pretty good job at that point early on in the workflow. Some of the photos are in good shape and will only need a little colour correction or B&W point adjustment, others are in poor shape and will need lots of work. Does anyone know of any tutorials, blog posts or documentation, especially if it uses Affinity Photo, that covers this type of workflow? TIA.

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ICE can only do so much and is best on transparent film/slide so a dust and scratch removal step has to be considered if you have opaque of silver halide affected images and from what I have read, sharpening is also an end step.

A lot of tutorials from Photoshop are transferable albeit with slight workflow changes so don't discount them.

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Thanks @firstdefence This morning I'm continuing my search and also doing some test scans. I have found that for one (so far) very old Kodak B&W print ICE is having no effect. Also, a B&W negative for around the same time is behaving similarly. For the older colours ones ICE seems to do a good job. I've just read that the silver fools the IR scan that ICE uses and so causes it to fail. I can see that Dust & Scratch Removal needs to be in the the list of steps even if it gets discounted because it's not required on some shots.

Thanks for the Photoshop suggestion - I don't know why I didn't think of that.

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Hi Paul,

I did a similar project involving around 500 photos. I did not bother with negatives. Would have added way too much work. All work was done in Photo Shop.

I wanted everything in chronological order and physically sorted them prior to scanning. I have an old, cheap HP scanner that does a good job and has a setting save scans to a numbered name according to rules that can be set up and to initiate a new scan after the previous scan with one click. This was a big time saver. I combined as many photos as possible for each scan then cut them apart, straighten and apply any basic adjustments and sizing. This was mainly adjusting Levels. Photos were in good shape and I only did any significant restoration to very important photos. Otherwise, dust and scratches were mainly left as acceptable artifacts of age. Would have added way too much time to the project to optimize each photo. 

When put on a thumb drive and plugged into a smart TV, the TV plays them in numeric order. Numbering convention was 0000.000. The .000 was added because I always found more photos that were not sorted correctly and was able to insert photos in the numeric stream without having to renumber everything.

All photos were scanned to accommodate full width or height of 1920 x 1080. I also set up a common background that included a drop shadow. I used a scan from an old photo album from a professional photographer from the 1940s that gave a nice retro, aged look.

My sister recently found a large trove of photos that will need to be added. I will probably redo the whole project because my original scans were lost due to a hard drive failure although I do have the final flattened photos. I am not looking forward to doing this work over. MAKE SURE TO DO FREQUENT BACK UPS!!!!!!! 😉

Affinity Photo and Design V1. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. Dell Precision 7710 laptop. Intel Core i7. RAM 32GB. NVIDIA Quadro M4000M.

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Hi @henryanthony, that sounds like you were very organised. I have a few issues that are now becoming apparent as I start the work. The first is that a good number of shots have no "meta data" i.e. I have no idea who took them, the date, where it was taken (although I can guess a few), and there are often strangers in the shots. Sorting into chronological order like you did would be nice but I think it is going to be impossible.

I would agree about negatives taking a lot more work. They are taking about twice as long to prepare, cleaning being an issue as there's lots of dust and hairs in the collection! But so far I have to say that the quality is good. I've a few shots that I have both the print and the negative for and the negative is giving superior results - being the original with a greater range of contrast and colour I assume.

My scanner is an Epson V850 and although it has the one button click scan feature it is a bit dumb and doesn't give you the fine control that you get with the "pro" user interface. I'm content with that as I'm a bit of a control freak with this kind of work. Although I do see this now as being a three year project given the progress over recent days. 😂

I like your numbering idea. I'm taking the opportunity to clean the negatives and catalogue them in archive pages with numbers which match the automated scan number in the saved filenames. Hopefully when the family request prints or digital copies I can find things easily if there is a need to rescan.

Although TV playback has already been requested I'm going for a slightly higher resolution than you. 4K minimum and sometimes even larger so that I can easily do 6"x5" reprints later at the best quality. Anything that has a personal connection I'm making sure to scan so that I can print at 12"x10".

Regarding backups I agree completely. Many years ago I lost work due to a power surge fritzing my PC and destroying the hard disk controller. Now I have RAID 1 on my PC for project work and a big QNAP taking backups every 24 hours. I also "archive" stuff off to Blu-ray disks occasionally that I think I might not need again.

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Here is a sample of my final product. War time picture with my mom and dad and a buddy on the left. Probably taken in California before my dad was shipped off to Australia.


Affinity Photo and Design V1. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. Dell Precision 7710 laptop. Intel Core i7. RAM 32GB. NVIDIA Quadro M4000M.

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