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Tips for Scanning Magazine Photos

written by: Amber Neely•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/21/2012

If you've ever been intimidated by scanning magazine photos because of bad experiences, let this article alleviate those fears. This guide includes tips for the best scanner settings, removing blotches, preventing double sided scans, reducing strange brightness and contrast areas, and more.

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    Scanner Scanning magazine photos might seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you've tried and not had much success in the past. Some common problems you've likely experienced are smudges on your scans, strange light/dark areas on your image, a "gritty" or "blotchy" scanned image. This article will show you some great, tips, tricks and little hints on how to get the most out of your time and effort spent when scanning magazine photos.

    Image Credit: icyFrance

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    Keep It Clean

    Wipe down your scanner bed with a glass cleaner before starting. This doesn't solely apply to scanning magazine photos, but it is a good habit to form. Spray a soft cloth or paper towel with a little glass cleaner and gently wipe down your scanner bed (the glass part of your scanner), making sure to remove all the fingerprints, dust, smudges, and other things that can build up on your scanner with use. This helps lessen or eliminate the need for any post-production touch-ups in photo editing software afterward. However, if you do find that you have scratches that still show up from an old scanner bed, you can always use Photoshop's Dust & Scratches feature to remove any offending marks on your images.

    Make sure not to spray the scanner bed itself, though, as you can risk dripping the cleaning spray directly into important electrical components.

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    Stay Unwavering

    Big books are great for flattening wrinkled paper! Make sure your images are as flat and as unwrinkled as possible. Because magazines are printed on shiny paper, any bumps, creases, or wrinkles have the potential to come out overly dark or light. Not sure how to fix this problem? Smooth out your picture by laying it under a few heavy books for a while. A few hours under old dictionaries or desk reference books will do worlds for a wrinkled magazine picture.

    Image Credit: infinite-origami

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    Scan with Photo Settings

    Use a photograph setting. Most scanners these days come with settings for photographs, which reduce glare from the scanner light and auto-corrects your color as needed. This is the setting you need to use. Avoid using a black and white document setting or a grayscale document setting as this will often come out looking grainy and unpleasing to the eye.

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    Preview Your Scan

    Previewing your scan saves time, energy, and leads to better scans! Almost all scanner software offers you the ability to preview scan, go ahead and take advantage of it. Not only does this give you the ability to see where your image is going to be so you can crop out unwanted areas before you scan, you also get a pretty good idea of the quality of your scan before you start. This allows you to make any adjustments that you might need, such as altering the brightness and contrast, cleaning the scanner bed if it's still dirty, as well as preventing your scanner from trying to auto-adjust your image to blank space, text, and other images that you won't be using.

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    Quick Fix for Double Sided Scans

    Fix double-sided scan problems easily. Since magazines use thin paper and print on both sides, you might notice that you end up picking up the other side of the paper in your image, or a "double-sided scan." This is easily fixable by laying a sheet or two of printer or photo paper behind the image, blocking out the light and stopping the scanner from picking up both sides.