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how to scan your negatives with Epson Perfection v550 ?

Here we are ! I know that you are waiting for this blog post for a long time. I received soooo manyyyy DMs on Instagram about scanning. It was crazy ! And sometimes so frustratring because you guys asked me sometimes very complicated questions. So today, I'm going to show you how I scan my negatives and how everything works. I'm sure that some of you do what I do in a better way, so please feel free to share your tips in comment in a kind way. 

BEFORE ANYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW SOMETHING. YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR FILM DEVELOPED BEFORE USING A SCANNER. A SCANNER WON'T DO THE PROCESSING. I say that because I received so many messages asking me the price of a scanner and people were like "oh it worths the price because processing is so expensive"... Mmmmh. You have to develop your film before doing anything.
So please FIRST STEP : have your developed film ready. 
The scanner I use is the Epson Perfection V550 Photo. It's my friend @mathieu_aghababian a French photographer who recommended it to me. I bought mine 230€ a year ago, it was a new one. Not second hand, but I'm sure you can find this one in second hand for less. I know next to nothing about other scanners. I trusted Mathieu, and I'm very happy of it, so I won't be able to tell you if another one is better. Please, if you have some advices for people, you can put a comment (be kind of course). 
My goal with this scanner was to scan by myself because I wanted to be more "independent" and have more control on my work. It was more about learning something else regarding analog photography. My goal was not to do huge prints.
When you get the Epson V550, there are the scanner and the holder film (see below) that allows you to put your film the right way in order to scan it. It's really easy to use. You have a mark on the scanner to be sure that it's well positioned. Before anything, I clean my scanner with an air blower, a brush and sometimes a microfibre cloth. The dust is definitely your enemy when you're scanning. 
Hello it's me ! 100% focused on what I'm doing
Then, take your film ! Be careful with it, because if your scanner has to be clean, your film too. Wash your hand. I KNOW I KNOW I should wear gloves, but I don't. Though, it's highly recommended ! I don't do it because I love to receive a bunch of DMs on Instagram "hey you should wear gloves". Haha ! 
You know what's coming next ! Put the film in the holder film. Be sure to put the film the right way. You'll do the mistake and you'll learn from that. Then, you have to place the holder film on the scanner. There is a mark, a "A" for 35mm film (because you can also scan diapo and 120 format). Place the A of the holder film on the A of the scanner. Tadaaa ! Easy easy ! You've just made the easy part. 
Now, close your scanner and go to your computer. With the scanner, you have a software. Very old school software. EPSON SCAN. This software is as easy-to-use as a huge fail ! When you open it, you can chose a "mode". Mine is in French, so the screenshot is in French.
Mode auto : you have nothing to do (at your own risk). I don't use it.
Mode loisirs : You can chose some settings, please watch below.
Mode bureautique : I don't use it.
Mode professionnel : You have a bunch of settings.

Here I chose "Mode Loisirs", it's the fastest way to scan your negatives. Yes, maybe you all should use the professional mode and do it perfectly. But you know me, I don't wear gloves, I use the easiest mode. Lazy argentique gal ! Then you have to click on the type of documents you're going to scan. Colour or monochrome ! After that, click on APERÇU, it's PREVIEW in French. 

You'll wait like 2 minutes until you have the preview of your roll. 

Now you see the preview. Before anything, you have to select the size of your finale picture. I always choose 300 ppp and 10 x 15 cm. It's like a postcard format if you print it. Then, if you're happy with the preview, go for it and scan ! Click on "Numériser". It means SCAN in French. Once you have chosen the right format, please scan ! And wait. It's quite long. Be ready and watch Netflix. 
 When you click on "Numériser", you'll have to choose the format of your picture. I use jpg. Here it's PDF because... I have scanned a document before, and I have selected PDF, then I have forgotten to put jpg and I was SO HAPPY to have my photos in PDF. If it happens you have to start again. 
It was the easy part, again ! Let's talk now about professional mode when your film is not great. Here is an example of how you can edit your film with the software. 

Mode Loisir
Mode Professionnel
I made some screenshot of the professional mode. Actually, I'm not an expert and I used to "play" with all the settings in order to have something I'm happy with. Because to be clear, for now, I don't use Photoshop AT ALL, and I don't want to edit my film photography on Lightroom. My reason is pretty simple : I want it as raw as possible. 
Generally, I use the color balance, brightness and contrast... Usual stuff ! And here's a tip for you. Do it a photo after another. Don't try to edit all the photos and then scan. Do a photo and scan it, do another and scan it. Why ? Because this software can be a real asshole. You'll see soon enough ! 

Well I think that's not bad for the moment. I spent few hours on this blog post (right now I'm exhausted). I really hope it will help you ! Feel free to add your expert point of view if you want in comment. 

Please, if you enjoyed this post, support my work ! I do it all for free, BUT you can give me 1€ or 1$ or 1£ on my Paypal pot. If everybody do it, I could create more contents for you and for me and for the sake of analog photography (okay I'm kidding). 

Feel free to comment, ask me anything you want (according to the subject of that post). I'll answer you ! 

Cheese !


  1. nice information about how to scan neagative of photography

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  5. I absolutely loved learning about how to scan negatives with the Epson Perfection V550! It's amazing how technology can help us preserve our precious memories and bring them to life again. Seeing old photos of loved ones and reliving cherished moments brings such a rush of emotions - joy, nostalgia, and sometimes even a little bit of sadness. But thanks to this helpful guide, I can now easily scan my negatives and keep those memories close to my heart forever.

    Guide to product photography perfection


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