Using a digital camera, a scanner and Photoshop


This course, as it's title suggests, is split in to three main subject areas, however it's not split in equal proportions. Roughly you'll be looking at about 10 to 15 % of the time dedicated to using a scanner, 30 to 40% looking at digital cameras (and a bit of looking through them if you behave yourselves), and the rest will be studying how to use Photoshop. There will also be peripheral work around areas such as getting pictures from Internet explorer and using the print screen feature to over come picture copying protection, and preparing pictures for different applications, such as powerpoint, word and web design programs.

Using a scanner

Types of scanners

Flat bed, roll through, hand held and drum scanners

The basics of how a scanner works

Different interfaces and what it means to you. USB - SCSI - Serial - Firewire - Parallel

The three main types of domestic scanning - line art (2 colour)- greyscale (256 shades of grey) - "True" Colour (Greater than 16 million differentiated colours). A quick mention of Bit rates.

Resolution: "The highs and lo's the why's and whats you should know" 75 DPI (dots per inch) to 1200 DPI

What is the difference between optical and interpolated resolution and how to use such terms to bring sales people to their trembling knees.

What to think about when buying a scanner....... (e.g. don't bother buying a second hand one)

Footprint, integrated, sheetfeed, easy to copy / fax, colour coordination (oki that one was a joke - even though I prefer grey to blue myself).

Attaching a scanner - USB - SCSI - Serial - Firewire - Parallel

Installing scanner software - often this means two stages 1) Setting up the TWAIN device and 2) Setting up the Windows driver.

Using a scanner

What's the scanned image going to be used for. If it's to appear electronically rather than printed then the process will be different, the main effect will be the resolution an image is initially scanned with will be greater if the end result is to be printed, there are of course exceptions, but generally this is true.

Work out what the smallest detail that must be shown should be and work with that in mind.

There are many different versions of scanning software, however most work on similar lines.

Below is a screen picture of the Canon Canoscan version (i.e. my one).

Without writing a manual most scanning software has the following features:

Preview button

Scan button

Colour mode


Then a method of selecting a part of the screen, most probably a left click and drag across the part of the image you want to scan.

Normally one places what one wants to scan on to the glass surface of a flat bed scanner, then after closing the lid one starts the scanning software. (In Photoshop that's done by clicking on File > import > then choosing whichever scanning device is shown. Once the software starts up click the preview button. The scanner will show you what's on it's glass panel, once it does this either select an area of the image that you want to scan, or if it's the whole area just leave it as is. Decide on what resolution you want to scan the image, and at what "colour depth". Once you're ready click on the "Scan" button. Shortly - or if you bought a second hand one about an hour later - an image will appear on your screen ..... hooray for technology!!!

Once you have scanned all the images you want close the scanning software and save the images.


How output effects your decisions

OCR Optical Character recognition

Common problems with scanning. Incorrect resolution can lead to either bad quality images - either on screen or out of the printer - or files that are too big for the computer to deal with. Incorrect colour depth is one of the common faults when scanning an image that is to be faxed or OCR'd. in both cases a resolution of 200 dpi and a monochrome colour depth are usually preferred.

Although scanning is a proportionally small section of the course I would aim that all students try scanning under supervision at least 6 to 10 times throughout the course so please please please (is that enough "pleases"?) remind me to make sure all of you have a go in every session. It would also be a good idea if you could bring in different things in to scan ..... please.


Using a Digital Camera


This section of the course will be reminiscent of a standard photography course, however the nature of the medium used to store the images does effect the process of making the images so there will be differences. We will not be touching studio photography, "proper" flash photography.

The basics of how a digital camera works

Protecting the lens / camera / use the strap and lens cap

Storage mediums

Focus: Auto Vs Manual

Depth of field

Shutter speed

To flash or not to flash

Camera shake - using a tripod using timer delay

Aperture - Exposure levels

White balance

Inbuilt effects

To zoom - to digital zoom (I don't think so!)

Composing a picture - left to right, height levels - get down on your knees and snap -

Candid camera

lockdown techniques

Lighting levels

ISO / ASA speed decisions

Quality levels / Compress or not? Don't get in to a "Tiff" unless you have to

Resolution width x height

Macro photography

Video modes

Remember memory (groan)

Getting the images on to your computer. Direct camera attachment using a memory card reader.

A card reader

Archiving and backing up and why you need a CD / dvd writer

Playing back slide shows on a PC or dvd player

By the end of the course I hope that you'll feel more confident not only with handling your digital camera but also to see it as a means of artistic creativity and not just a tool for recording a moment. As we go through the course I will add other sections to this list, so if you can think of any other areas you'd like to cover let me know and time and my knowledge permitting I shall try to incorporate them.



This Photoshop course is orientated towards dealing with enhancing, preparing or just plain arty playing around with digital photos and preparing scanned images for their next stage in life. This is not a course that focuses on picture restoration to any thing but a basic degree, nor is it for those wishing to know how to prepare images for professional output in the print industry. By the end of the course I hope you will see Photoshop as a tool which you can use to enhance, prepare or artistically effect images. The course is quite intensive and requires that you practice some of what we cover in your own time. A brief recap within 24 hours of the lesson followed by an hour or so a few days later should help you retain much of what you will cover. These web pages can help to jog your memory so please use them. If you start to feel like we're moving too fast let me know, the lesson plans are flexible and the class can negotiate to drop certain sections in order to recap and practice previous sections, so please keep me informed as to your own progress.

Lesson plans

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