Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography

Digital Help is designed to aid you in getting the most from your digital photography, printing, scanning, and image creation. Each month, David Brooks provides solutions to problems you might encounter with matters such as color calibration and management, digital printer and scanner settings, and working with digital photographic images with many different kinds of cameras and software. All questions sent to him will be answered with the most appropriate information he can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to David Brooks addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug website (, directly via e-mail to: or or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.

Is A Personal Website A Good Business Investment?
Q. I have been a Shutterbug reader for a long time. Can you please outline the advantages of having a website? I am a free-lance photographer and photojournalist. I am toying with the idea of having a website where I can display my work. Can it be done in a way where customers can be given a password to a particular event to view the photos, and even make purchases?
Johnny Baptiste
St. John's, Antigua

Even with much easier applications now for making pages and putting together an individual website, it does require a lot of time to keep putting in new images and timely items to keep viewers interested in your website. For that reason, because I'd rather spend that time and effort doing other things, I have never done my own personal website. But there is also another related consideration, and that is there is so much material on the web that an individual website is not easy to find and by itself very often attracts little attention. Having the exposure on the web as an individual with your own site can provide very little benefit for the work and cost involved.
An alternative is to become a part of a shared site that already attracts traffic and the kind of people you want to reach. I did an article about one popular option, photoblogs, in Shutterbug a few issues back. You will find that article at this URL:
In addition, you might visit our Shutterbug Forum and Gallery, which may provide some ideas about how to do a personal gallery and set up a sales function. However, considering where you are located, I would assume you want to attract local attention, so you really need to do research by looking at local websites. You might consider joining them to get the attention of the audience that can best serve your interests.

Very Old Film May Require Special, Expert Handling For Scanning
Q. In the late 1930s to the mid-'40s, my father, using a Leica rangefinder, took several hundred rolls of black and white film. He developed the film himself and stored it in boxes, with each roll of film tightly wound. The vast majority of those rolls are in outstanding condition today. The ones that aren't useful anymore, I believe, were taken on nitrate film, which has disintegrated.
I would like to scan the remaining rolls of film before they too disintegrate. I purchased a Nikon 5000 ED scanner with a rollfilm adapter, but unfortunately the film is too "bowed" or curved for the rollfilm adapter. I need your advice on how I can do the scanning, or if there are professional services that I can retain to do a quality scanning job.
Steven Smedresman

The problem is getting the surface tension out of the film that is there from years of being rolled up in storage. That is not something the typical "professional" service is used to dealing with. But I am sure it can be done so successful scans of the film images can be made. And I would guess some of that tension could be released by getting some moisture restored to the film backing. But how to go about that safely and without possibly damaging the film is beyond my experience.
However, there are a number of conservation and archival specialists in the country who do deal with the kind of problem you have. Most are involved with museums and similar institutions like the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. In fact, you might start a research project by getting in touch with that organization. In addition, you might make a Google search of "photographic restoration and conservation." There are some largely academic and professional organizations that are associated with research on techniques of dealing with the problems associated with old film. Considerable effort of an associated kind is also directed at the motion picture film industry to recover, restore, and preserve historical movies, both in Hollywood and in England.
You primarily need to first find out who the experts are and then discover what specific knowledge and techniques relate to the problem you have. Once you can get the curvature out of the film, then scanning the images should not be any more difficult than any other black and white film images.