From Film to CDs


I used to shoot colour slides and films, which are slowly fading. How do I convert my photographs on film into images on CDs? Also, how can I restore black and white prints, which have suffered and faded partially in the rains?
S Rajakumar, Chennai

This article was originally published June 2014.

The only way to do this would be to have your images digitised through scanning, and then stored on archival CDs. Most photography labs will offer low quality scans and copying the data onto CDs as a service. For high quality, you will need to go to a professional scanning business. If you have a large number of images that need scanning, the best option would be to buy a scanner that can scan both transparencies and prints, and learn how to use it.

Apart from fading, emulsions of old, water-damaged B&W prints also flake away after they are dry. There is no way to restore these prints to their original physical condition. However, you could scan them and enhance the images digitally, thereby preserving the image. Enhancing a faded image in software like Photoshop is relatively easy.

You need to sharpen the picture, boost the saturation, darken the tones and increase contrast slightly until you get some of the original tonality back. If the photograph is physically damaged, retouching and reconstruction are your only options. There are digital imaging experts to do this and they can be quite expensive.

Tags: archival CD, ask the expert, converting film to CDs