Scanning large photos that are too big for your scanner?
You may find that when scanning large photos they are in more than one piece or they are way too big for your scanner. What can you do?
No problem you can scan them in several pieces to enable one large photo to made whole again. When scanning an old photo with the intention of repairing it, you may want to check what your scanner is doing in the background as this can affect the results., unless you look into the settings. More on saving images correctly here Saving your images correctly.
Scanning Problem: When you scan a photo with multiple scans, you may find that the pieces end up looking different. The tones and exposure and even colour may look great on some and totally different on others, what is going on?
When your scanner is set to automatic just like a digital camera set to “auto”, it will exposure and correct the image where and how it sees fit. Images with more dark tones in them may be compensated for and end up lighter and vice-versa for light images ending up darker. This is very important when scanning colour photos as it is quite common for the colours to change too!
Solution: It is best to set your scanner to manual and switch off all the automatic settings and keep the scanning resolution the same. Turn off the auto-tone, brightness, contrast, colour sections and just scan in colour, as basic as you can get. This way both scans should end up the same in their tones and exposures and size. You can then be sure when you are trying to match up the two halves that they will meet easily and make the photo repair simpler too. Especially useful when scanning large prints bigger than your scanner. Make sure you scan with around 25% overlap on each scan then this will give plenty to match up when getting your restorer to stitch them together again.
One minor issue you may come up against is that with stiff card photos that are way bigger than your scanner. Look around the edges of the scan, it is possible there is a slight shadow, created by the lip of the scanner. If you find the stitch having odd banding where edges meet, simply crop off the shadow area and re-stitch. Everything should then match up.
You can learn about how to do this in my course scanning oversized photos video course or read more about the photo stitching process You can also see how this method can be used to scan a very large painting. If you are having trouble scanning a large photo you can, of course, ask me to help, so please get in touch. My main scanning guide will help with any other scanning related enquiries you might have.
Photo repairs and fixing your old photos.