Scanning Textured Photos

In doing a fairly large business in photo restoration, I often need to scan old photos with a textured paper. If it is just a print, not mounted on a backing, here’s a technique that really helps. 

Beware:  This could possibly damage the original, so do this with care!

First make a good scan as a back-up! Now, soak the print in luke warm water for a few minutes. Place the wet print on your scanner glass, making sure to work out air bubbles. Scan as normally, and nearly all the texture will be gone.

Dry the original between photo blotters with a bit of weight, so it doesn’t curl or crinkle.

Dry and Wet Scans of Textured Photograph

Dry and Wet Scans of Textured Photograph

Here’s another example of wet scanning and I also tried another Photoshop tool, Surface Blur, which is under Filters/Blur/Surface Blur. It does pretty well at removing the texture, although not as well as a wet scan.

Next, the wet scan, which removes the texture entirely.

I also tried the dry scan, combined with the surface blur tool. It requires some experimenting with the 2 adjustments, to lose the texture without either banding of tones or loss of detail.

It is a good choice if wet scanning is impractical.


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