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ScanographyHave you ever tried to use your scanner as a camera?

We have all seen the jokes about people putting their faces or other parts of their anatomy on a photocopier.  (oh it was you!). Well scanography is more sophisticated because you can not only save the image, but you can change the resolution to make the resulting image larger.

Firstly, before you have a go and don’t let me stop you, …not all scanners are born equal.  There are lots of articles on the internet explaining why, but in a nutshell, their purpose is to duplicate the contents on a piece of paper, that is the depth that most scanners can cope with. These ones are not suitable.  Others can give a greater depth of field (more in focus).

Presuming you are lucky enough to have the suitable scanner, here some of the differences from taking images with a normal camera.

  1. The biggy is you cannot see what you are taking a photo of.  You are not squinting behind the scanner, so you have to anticipate what is in front of the scanner’s sensor. This is where preview is very useful, to see what you have before you take the final scan.  Most common problems are things that don’t stay in the position you put them in, for instance, petals which get folded and flattened.
  2. Depending on what you are scanning, objects placed on the glass are all the same distance away from the sensor, so unlike an ordinary photo, you won’t be able to have objects in the background in the same way as a photograph. Anything about 5 cm or more away starts to be out of focus.
  3. Colours are very saturated and vibrant.
  4. The light of the scanner travels from one end of the scanner to the other and is even throughout, so anything that reflects light results in a band of light.

Of course you can experiment.

One of the best Scanographers I know is Mike Leale. Please take the time to look at his work.


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