Rarely does one want to print a raw scan, even a high quality scan from a drum scanner. The objectives at scan time are a little different than at print time and there are many subtle but critical actions that can be performed on an image in Photoshop to make it into the finest print possible that cannot be done in scanning software. 

We offer two service levels with our drum scans:

Scan Only (aka a raw scan)

A scan-only order is just the drum scan with no color correction or cleanup. You'll handle all the post-production yourself, including dust-busting, color corrections, the whole enchilada! If you're shooting color neg film, we'll bring it to a positive state and set an approximate exposure and color balance. You'll want to be proficient in Photoshop for the color correction and scan cleanup - Lightroom isn't the best tool for handling the high resolution and fine color adjustments needed, especially with negative film.

 Proof Package

You can also order a proof package (which includes cleanup, post-processing and an 8x10" test print of your scan). A proof package is a good option if you want to do a large quantity of scan and small prints for a portfolio, and order larger prints later (those prints would be billed at our Direct to Print rate, since they wouldn't need custom printing as we'd already prepared it for printing at the studio). Additional rounds of test prints and retouching are available for an additional fee.

How difficult is color correction and cleanup if you do it yourself?

Transparency (slide) film is the easiest film to scan and the scans usually need a minor amount of adjustment before printing to resemble the original. Also, we have a visual reference (the film itself) that one can compare the print to for color, contrast, and exposure. Transparency films seem to have the least amount of dust and imperfections in the emulsion.

Color negatives are complicated to scan and post process. There's a number of reasons for this - the orange mask must be neutralized, the wide exposure latitude of the film, variations in the film processing and the film stock - all of these factors can require extensive time to adjust in post production.  Unlike a slide, we can't put a color negative on a lightbox and agree on what the image should look like. We may have a contact print for a reference, or a scanned jpeg made at the time of film processing as a guide; however, there usually is a lot of color adjustments needed to make it look a certain way. That said, a skilled editor can use a combination of adjustment layers in Photoshop to make overall adjustments to the image, and also selective adjustments to fix problem areas or color casts. 

In our experience, Lightroom struggles with some color ranges on very high-res film scans, so Photoshop is required here as well. Color neg film seems to be softer than transparency film, so it requires the most manual cleanup. 

Black-and-white film is somewhere in between transparency and color negs for ease of scanning, and usually has a minimal amount of cleanup - not to mention there's no need to color balance anything!

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