Still and Aerial Photographs

NARA defines these records as two-dimensional pictorial representations intended to be viewed, without motion, either by the naked eye or by means of an optical device, such as transparencies, negatives, slides, and photographic prints.

The labs digitize both positive and negative images on film, as well as photographic prints (usually on photographic paper, with or without mounts) and aerial photographs (film and prints). An aerial photograph is a photograph of the ground taken from an elevated position, usually from the air or sky. Aerial photographs provide a straightforward depiction of the physical and cultural landscape of an area at a given point in time. Aerial photographs in particular have fine detail, often require a high degree of enlargement, and may require a higher degree of precision regarding the dimensional accuracy when digitized.

Some of the characteristics of both photographic film and prints that influence a digitization approach include generation (camera original, duplicate negative, copy negative, etc.), color mode (black and white, monochrome, color), format or size (all film/print formats and size ranges), type of original (roll film, sheet film, glass plate, loose print, bound print, etc.), and condition (tightly curled, brittle, etc.), among others.

Maintaining the smallest significant details in the photograph, highlight and shadow detail, and accurate tone and color reproduction are all factors that may influence the quality of digital images of photographs.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272