When Converting Photos to Digital Beware of Image Clipping

Posted by ed oboyle on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 02:00 PM

When Converting Photos to Digital Beware of Image ClippingWhether your cleaning has been delayed or you’re preparing for a celebration, like a graduation or wedding, converting photos to digital images is always a good idea. Not only do you create a back-up of the original photo for safe keeping but you can improve the quality.

It can be a simple project but not all images are created equal. If you don’t understand the scanning software and program selections, the results may not be as picture perfect as you’d like. One serious problem that can affect photo quality is clipping.

What is Clipping?

Image tone is measured on a scale, ranging from pure black to pure white. If, during the scanning or photographing process, extreme tonal ends are lost, clipping occurs. Clipped white tones cause the highlighted portions of the photo to lose definition. Clouds appear as white blobs and faces lose distinguishing features. When you lose dark tones, details are lost in pure black and surrounding objects lose shape. It’s possible for clipping to occur in certain portions of the picture, especially when converting photos to digital images.

Why Does Clipping Occur? 

Everyone makes common mistakes when scanning images. To avoid clipping, follow these recommendations:

  • Select the correct aim values in auto correction tools. Incorrect values result in loss of tone information

  • Set your scanner to photo instead of text before scanning images.

Identifying Clipping

The histogram graph will chart clipping. This tool measures the various tones in a photo, with pure white on one end and pure black on the other. In photos with accurate tone, the graph will taper to each end of the scale. In a clipped photo, graph values will be present at both or one side of the spectrum. If clipping happened during the capture process, the graph may have an obvious cliff at one end, which indicates pixel loss. This kind of tonal problem cannot be fixed with software but those problems resulting from scanning issues are easier to correct.

By following a few simple guidelines, it’s simple to avoid clipping. Converting photos to digital images can be a great DIY project if you’ve got the time and the know-how. If you’re to-do list is full, we can scan your photos. Afterwards, check out our new ebook, which gives you plenty of ideas on how to share your new digital memories!


Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

Topics: image clipping, convert photos to digital

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