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Monday, January 1, 2007

New Life For Older Images

Don't let digital technology overshadow your film archive

I've also had a few images scanned on an Imacon virtual drum scanner. Imacon's scanners offer excellent quality, but the cost is too high for many photographers. A few pro friends use Nikon scanners for their 35mm slides with fine results, but Nikon doesn't make a scanner that works for 4x5 film.

Lately, I've been working with Epson scanners, the 4990 and, more recently, the V750 Pro. Both scanners offer a very good option for photographers who want to digitize their favorite images. The resulting scans are good enough for most publishing uses and for prints as large as 20x30. The flatbed scanner allows me to scan all the formats I've used over the years—4x5, 6x7 and 35mm.

But many photographers don't have time to scan their images and to photograph, too. West Coast Imaging (www.westcoastimaging.com) offers a service for making high-quality scans on a Creo flatbed scanner, designed for building a stock library at a reasonable price. I've used the service with excellent results.

The business/stock-management software I've used for about 15 years are InView and StockView by HindSight (www.hindsightltd.com). An add-on piece of its software, searchLynx (www.hindsightltd.com/searchLynx/slynx5.html), takes the existing images in my stock database and creates a searchable online stock site. Photographers Tom Mangelsen and David Doubilet use this software.

All I have to do is add JPEGs to the database, which is why I have so much scanning to do. Then comes captioning and keywording before the images can be available online. Also, the StockView software automates the installation of my digital files by taking the selected images into my database, which in turn can be uploaded to the stock site.

The most exciting aspect of scanning, however, has been rediscovering past work that has been hiding away in the filing cabinet. I came across this panoramic image the other day and scanned the film to show a client. In the process, I easily installed the JPEG into the image's record in my database. And, since I had it available, I sent it to another client today.

If you're not involved with stock, these trends may not matter much to you. But if you'd like to market your work, start to scan, caption and keyword your images. Who knows what jewels you'll find hidden in your files! For those using digital capture, develop a workflow that includes organizing your files with captions and keywords as you add new work. That way, you'll be prepared to submit to stock agencies or launch your own stock site. Or else you'll be left behind!



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