Category Archives: film photography

How to Edit B&W Negatives

Way back in the mid-70’s I shot B&W film and color slides. This summer I dusted off my old Minolta SR-T 101, found a battery that worked in it, and bought a roll of Tri-X 400. After I shot the roll I sent it off to Old School Photo Lab to be processed and scanned. While I miss the smells of working in a chemical darkroom, I don’t miss dodging and burning when making prints. Here are the steps that I used in Lightroom CC to clean up one of my scanned photos.


Original Scan

Original Scan

Here is the original scan. I received a 3130 x 2075 pixel JPEG at 512 dpi. There is a thin white strip at the top of the image (barely visible).


Crop

Crop

The first thing that I did was crop the image to 4 x 6. This trimmed the strip at the top and removed some unwanted background.


Basic

Basic

Next I made some adjustments in the Basic menu. The highlights are too bright so I dropped the Exposure a hair to -0.05, pulled the Highlights down to -48, and increased the Shadows to +24. I like crisp B&W images so I also increased the Clarity to +4.


Tone Curve

Tone Curve

I’ve been experimenting with tone curves. I click on the curve and move my stylus around (I use a Wacom tablet) until I see something that I like. In this case I left the Point Curve on the default value of Linear (I haven’t tried other curves yet) and ended up with a Lights value of -65.


Hot Rod

Hot Rod

The original image has some noise and this processing has made it worse. For example, the windshield looks like it is dirty. For the final step I used the Nik Dfine 2 plugin with the default values to reduce the noise.

The final result is one of my favorite photos of 2016.


Before and After

Before and After

The original image combined with the final version for easy comparison.