Photo Contrast

About Photo Scanning Contrast

Photo Scanning Contrast Adjustments as Part of DpsDave Photo Scanning Services

Interested in learning about photo scanning contrast? Let’s first define contrast: Contrast is the difference between tones in an image. There are two types of contrast: 1) Tonal Contrast and 2) Color Contrast. The first is the one most people refer to when they talk about contrast, and it refers to the difference between lightest and darkest parts of the image. It is often confused with brightness, which does not alter tonal range of a picture, but instead lightens or darkens pixels.

Low contrast means there are very few highlights and shadows, which often means a low contrast image looks soft or flat. High contrast images tend to have parts that look more pronounced or dramatic while adding dimension. Depending on what mood you want to portray, you can have a low key image that is solemn, dramatic and mysterious or a high key image that is upbeat and lighter.

Contrast is taken into consideration by photographers from the get-go. They will narrow aperture and/or increase the shutter speed to reduce light entering the camera. Contrast is impacted by how much exposure to light a photographer allows. If one is shooting in manual setting, the aperture setting can be used to make small adjustments and the shutter speed to make much larger adjustments. To capture a good contrast, one might try shooting with the narrowest aperture and fastest shutter speed possible for light conditions.

This is all well and good, but we can assume most of our customers are probably not the ones taking the photos or the ones who have taken the photos. No problem, DpsDave can help with photo scanning contrast adjustments! Contact us today at 866-935-1361 if you want some quick answers, or feel free to continue reading on to learn more about photo scanning contrast and photo contrast overall!

Why Taking Photo Contrast Into Consideration Is Important

If you like to dabble at all in monochrome work, contrast is a pretty big deal. Even minor changes to contrast can make all the difference for color or black and white photos. The ideal balance between contrast and detail will depend on the subject being photographed, mood and feel you wish to convey, as well as lighting used. It takes a creative eye, such as from the DpsDave team, to get that right balance.

A technique called “dodging and burning” can be used to exaggerate tonal differences that are already present in an image. Through photo contrast adjustments, one can bring out facial features without exaggerating wrinkles and imperfections. Contrast can truly contribute to the quality of photo scanning output.

Our eyes are much more sensitive to contrast than to color, due to our ratio (20 to 1) of rods to cones. This makes photo scanning contrast adjustments one of the most important determinants of image quality.

In addition, our brains look for high levels of contrast between the edges of things. This is so important that a slightly out of focus image can be made to appear in focus by increasing the sharpness of the edges in the image.
Do this to an image that is in focus and magic happens! Printers use this trick in magazines to make very high quality images.

To learn more about how photo scanning contrast impacts image quality, contact DpsDave today at 866-935-1361! You can also visit our Photo Scanning Services page to learn about other factors that impact photo quality!

How DpsDave Takes Photo Contrast Into Account

Our unique image processing software as well as our high resolution, high dynamic range printers make the difference between the two images shown above. DpsDave knows how to use curves and masks in Photoshop to improve contrast or cut the haze in a photo.

Another editing trick is to apply an image back to a main image with a preferred blending mode. One can separate blacks, neutrals and whites into different adjustment layers when considering contrast. Even with all these cool tools and techniques, many of our customers want us to keep the integrity of the contrast in the original image. We have a lot of experience doing just that!

On a histogram, we are able to identify if there is any tone clipping, meaning pixels are being pushed to the end of the scanners range. We often see spikes at point 0 or 255 when this happens. We definitely don’t want to lose any detail from the image, so it is important to keep an eye out for this clipping.

Most editing software packages have brightness and contrast controls that can alter grayness in virtual pixels, but a threshold control allows a scanning specialist to control the point at which software decides a gray value will either be recorded as white or black. Having this additional feature can really make a difference in photo quality!

Another photo scanning contrast consideration is the use of the auto contrast button on a scanner, which makes automatic adjustments to a photo file. Enabling auto contrast can remove important data from the file, so manual scanning works better. You pay us to put in the time to make sure it is done right, manually or not. One reason we choose to make adjustments manually is because auto contrast should not be used at the same time as a color correction button or the Gamma Curve Tool.

As previously mentioned, contrast deals with tones and a JPEG file is capable of reproducing millions of colors and tones, so contrast isn’t dealing with just two or three tones. It is not as easy as it sounds! Different scanners scan images different ways. How the photo contrast looks depends on scanner capabilities. The configuration for a drum vs. a flatbed or a slide vs. a photo scanner is going to be different. Obviously, a photo scanner is a preferred type.

To find out what more we take into consideration when it comes to photo scanning contrast adjustments for your project, call DpsDave at 866-935-1361!