Scanner Photography

Alternate Ways to Capture an Image

There are many ways to make photos without a Camera. If you have done contact prints and Pinhole cameras, another nest way is to use a scanner. The quality of the illumination you get from a flatbed scanner is very special. Since the object is illuminated by a long strip of light traveling across the glass plate, it is bathed in a soft, diffused light which can’t quite be reproduced by other methods. If you really want to get into it, you can play with adding extra light sources that shine on your objects from the side.


Create a set of at least 10 images using the scanner.
These should include at minimum:
• Images with different coloured backgrounds – the scanner defaults to white
• At least two images where the subject was moved on the glass plate while scanning
• A selfie with arranged objects or the scanner wrapping around your face
• Some natural and/or found objects: Flowers, shells, Pine cones – remember to clean up.
SUBMIT: You images placed in an InDesign document, with explanations how you created each image.

How to Tips:

Your scanner may have settings for both film (transparencies) and paper – use the setting for paper.
Find some interesting objects, to put on the glass plate of the scanner. You could use seashells, flowers, seedpods, pinecones, leaves, or even small instruments like old watches or compasses.
Arrange objects in some way that pleases you. Just be careful not to scratch the glass in case you are working with some hard edgy object. If you cannot close the cover, no problem, just leave it open.
Put a piece of cloth or paper over your objects instead – this then becomes part of the composition, as matching or contrasting background. Black is quite safe, it matches just about anything.
Take the scanner in a dark room with a laptop to use the scanner’s illumination and get some out of focus depth to your image
To get distorted or moved images, use a small tool to move your objects – try not to get your hand into the strip that is lit up.
The exposure length (speed of scan head) can be changed by adjusting the DPI setting in the scanner software.
Scanner Settings:
Document size: “Platen Size”
Resolution – will change the size of file and speed of scanner
If you check the ‘use the scanner driver’ you can make many adjustments to your image between the preview and the actual scan,
Watch where the file is saving, so you will be able to find it later!

Gallery of Samples