Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

Exploring the Scanned Film Effect

I have always wanted to try something new in photography once in a while. Over the past few years I have explored high dynamic range photography, infrared photography and have also developed new ways to post process my photos. During my time on Tumblr, I was inspired by Olle‘s photograph. He does film and digital photography, and on his Tumblelog I constantly find scanned films of his and others’ works.

Therefore, over the past few weeks I have been refining my post processing protocol to achieve a scanned film effect – sans the noise, because I can always add them in later – through adjusting a few curves in Photoshop and adding some light leaks when desired.

The Look

The look of scanned film is hard to say – there are so many different film cameras out there that produces films of slightly different colours. Defects in light sealing of the camera case will lead to light leaks, but that can be aesthetically pleasing in some photos. The general characteristics of scanned film are as follow:

  • High microcontrast and low global contrast – they looked as if they’re masked by a layer of white, therefore having a low contrast across the photo, but yet retain good contrast at a local scale.
  • Colour saturation – colour saturation seems to be selective, with preference over the warm hues and green or cyan.
  • Overexposed – Some films are accidentally overexposed, but still look amazingly beautiful.
  • Light leaks – A infamous characteristics of Holga cameras.


I travelled to Copenhagen (Danish: København) one and a half months after I arrived in Denmark. I did not spend too much time there – just two days and a night. I have to say I regretted going there for such a short while – I could have missed a day’s lesson or two and stayed there a little longer, since the weather was only good for the first day.

Københavns Hovedbanegård

Københavns Hovedbanegård

Københavns Hovedbanegård (eng: Copenhagen Central Train Station) is the heart of the transportation network in Copenhagen. It is located just across the street from Tivoli Garden.

The interior is huge and spacious, and glass windows on the walls and the arched ceilings provide some natural light into the sombre interior. However, the station is infested (I couldn’t find a better word for this) with pigeons, and I actually had a bird dropping on my coat on my last day in the city.

"I support everyone's troops"

"I support everyone's troops"

A postcard sized sticker pasted on a lamp post near the city hall, Københavns Rådhus.



Smokestacks at the harbour viewed from a bridge spanning across a frozen river. The bridge connects two parts of a place known as Freetown Christiania. I visited Freetown Christiania during my stay in Copenhagen, and I must say it’s one of the best experiences I have ever had in Christiania. I will write more about the visit in my travel blog :)

Traffic signal

Traffic signal

Graffiti and vandalism is common in Denmark. However, an interesting observation I have made is that graffiti don’t appear just anywhere – the people making them seem to spare public structures and sculptures most of the time. So far I am yet to see a bus stop, with ceiling height glass facades, be vandalised before.

I call that selective vandalism :)


I also visited Stockholm around a month ago, and my Tumblr friend Olle was nice enough to host me. He brought me to art exhibitions and we explored downtown Stockholm quite a bit, too!

View from my window

View from my window

I was seated next to the wing, so when the plane made a turn before landing, I was offered with this fantastic view of the land in the background, behind the wing.

Waiting to board the train at Flemingsberg Station

Waiting to board the train at Flemingsberg Station

Olle and I ran to the train station hoping that we could catch the previous train. We couldn’t, so we waited for another 15 minutes. The trains in Europe are really on-time, so they never wait for passengers to board.

Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum)

Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum)

We passed by the Nordic Museum on our way to Liljevalchs konsthall for their spring exhibition.

Looking down Sveavägen

Looking down Sveavägen

Sveavägen is one of the major thoroughfares in Stockholm. The five buildings on the side of the street have similar look but they’re actually designed by five different architects, from what I could gather from Olle.

Couple by the dock

Couple by the dock

A couple spends quality time with each other at the dock along the river. In the background stands the Nordic Museum.

This is Olle!

This is Olle!

Olle was my host during my four-day stay in Stockholm. I crashed on his guest bed at his apartment in Flemingsberg, which he shares with a girl, Hanna. Hanna is a fashion editor with a magazine, and I think Olle has the coolest flatmate ever.

Benches in the evening sun

Benches in the evening sun

One thing about the winter sun – it hovers very close to the horizon and low in the sky even in the day, so the sunsets in Scandinavian countries are exceptionally beautiful and majestic in winter days. Although extremely short lived, sunsets here are amazingly lovely. The shadows casted by the low sun can stretch for meters.

Achieving the scanned film effect

I have not given much thought about this section yet – maybe I will write a tutorial, and share my actions on this blog soon :) for the moment being, if you have any questions, just ask away at the comments area.

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22 responses to “Exploring the Scanned Film Effect” » Leave a response

  1. abdusfauziResponse

    its good to see you start posting articles with photos again. love all those shots! plus, with the editing, it gives them more story and emotion.

    welcome back to blogging world ^.^

    just want to remind you, put some signature at some part of the photos, incase some people *took* it and use it for their commercial purpose.

  2. Chia WeiResponse

    Let’s add some grain! :D

  3. Jacq

    Tutorial please!!!! Amazing stuff Terry! Can’t wait to see more! :) Have a blast there in Europe.

  4. DAKOTAResponse


  5. WanCing

    “I support everyone’s troops” and “traffic signals” are very interesting photos!

    Just wondering if you keep a photography blog as well. If you do, it would be really nice if you could share the link because you take really beautiful photos.

    Btw, I found this very interesting site and thought it would be cool to share. Hope you like it!

  6. CadouriResponse

    It’s the first time I visit this blog but after reading this article and seeing those incredibly beautiful pictures, I’m sure I will revisit this website as much as possible. My favourite picture is the 7th (Stockholm Castle) which is beyond art. :)

  7. Grace

    Hey Terry! How have you been? :) Your photos are amazing! Come to Vancouver and I can host you. :)

  8. Cycling in Denmark « Adventures in SolitudeResponse

    [...] but the sights were simply too beautiful. Here are a few photos to show you. The photos are processed to look like scanned films. In the middle of the road, underneath the blue Danish skies. Pylon and the sky. My shoes, the [...]

  9. NickResponse

    These are some fantastic photos. I really like the photo taken from your seat on the airplane lol

  10. MartinResponse

    Great photos. I especially like “I support everyone’s troops”. How do you get that effect. There is so much emotion in them.

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    All the photos are very nice.

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Photography. Regards

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