Our Photography Courses Blog

Top tip for archiving your material, from our tutor Iain Brown in Scotland

Our lovely tutor Iain writes a regular column on photography for the Ayrshire Post, and very useful it is too – here’s his tips for archiving pictures from slides – not something we would have thought of:

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a photographic Armageddon is upon us, at a time when we’ve never taken so many pictures, allegedly, 3.5 trillion in the past 200 years as some math geek has worked out.  We have to ask the question where are they?  At a guess they’re in shoe boxes, old albums, in our phones and littering our computer hard drive.  What is it with human beings and shoe boxes?  If it’s precious, stick it a shoebox!  I’m convinced that in the future when we’ve trashed our little planet, the only thing that the aliens will find to work us out, will be shoeboxes stuffed full of pictures and cheap costume jewellery.

Right I’ll cut to the chase, photographic prints fade, don’t listen to the hype about photographic paper that doesn’t fade, it’s rubbish.  If they’re exposed to the light long enough they’ll fade alright and sadly that means our memories will fade with them, all be it that we put our most precious pictures in those sticky acetate albums.  There in lies the problem.. the glue in them eats into the prints and eventually they are ruined.  Now this is all very negative (clue), but it’s a fact, and that begs the question what can we do to preserve our pictures for posterity?
Well sitting next to those old faded, dog eared pictures in the Fort Knox shoebox, I bet there’s an envelope or two, and in those envelopes there may be film negatives.  ‘Not much use’, I hear you say, ‘They’re well …negative.’  Yes, of course you could get them reprinted if you’re lucky enough to find a printer, but that will bring you back to square one, and cost an arm and a leg.  So here’s a lovely little trick that would make Bond proud.
Get hold of your smart phone and select a plain white wallpaper, if you’ve not got one there’s stacks of apps out there for downloading, I used an app called funnily enough,  ‘Plain’ and it does what it says on the tin, for 69p!
Next grab your digital camera, or another smartphone and put it on close up mode (usually that little tulip symbol) and set exposure to auto, now put the phone brightness to ‘full’ and place the negative on the screen and take the picture.  The next step is to load it into the computer as usual and open up Photoshop, Picassa or a manipulation program like Gimp (free download).  Go up to the menu, choose edit and ‘inverse image’,  low and behold, you’ll have a positive, beautiful picture, archived forever.  Now, if you’ve got old transparencies (slides) kicking about, it’s even easier, as they are positive images anyway, so you wont need to inverse them.  Don’t forget that if you copy the images onto a memory stick, you can plug it into the television and have a slide show.
how to copy-1
I am regularly asked by readers for tips and advice about taking better pictures.  I’m pleased to announce that I will be hosting photo schools in a variety of subjects, at Culzean Castle throughout the summer through Photography Made Simple.  Visit www.photographymadesimple.co.uk to book.
Iain Brown
www.reportagephotos.com
01292 262787
Reportage Wedding Photography
18a Bellevue Crescent
Ayr
KA7 2DR

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