Create a photogram with your scanner

Create a photogram with your scanner

Discover how to push a scanner to the limit and get some striking results with a photogram scan

Your flatbed scanner doesn’t need to be a mundane tool only ever used to scan old photos and boring documents. Here, we show you how to make a photogram scan and create amazingly artistic effects with your standard scanning device.

1. Scout for objects

A scanner has a very small depth of  field so your objects need to be relatively flat. The nautilus shell, glove and dried piranha we found proved excellent subjects. Just make sure the surface of your scanner is clean.

2. Background

To create a black background open the lid and place a piece of black card about five inches above the scanner, we’ve supported it on plastic tubs. you may need to experiment. depending on which scanner you’re using.

3. Make a scan

We’re using Epson software, which enables us to control the crop, resolution, exposure and colour. You’ll be able to get super high-res images, probably much higher than you’d get from a top-of-the-range DSLR.

4. Digital darkroom

Open your image in Photoshop and clean up any dust marks using the Clone Tool from the Tools Palette. You might want to crop out any distractions at the edges, such as the supports used to hold the black card in place.

5. Mono invert

Go to Image >Adjustments>Black and White and covert your shot. To replicate the an x-ray, which suits our subject matter, go to Image>Adjustments>Invert. This will reverse all the tones, essentially making a negative.

6. Split-tone

To split-tone go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. Select foreground to background and change the colour stops to blue for the dark tones and cream for the light tones.