How to "scan for shadow details"? To achieve Jose Villa kind of look


I am interested in getting a light and airy film scan. i.e. this look :

Richard Photo Lab made a post explaining that you must “scan for shadow details”. (

I got one roll of overexposed film (1 stop over) and tried to scan it but result came pretty normal. I tried to overexpose my DSLR camera by a stop too (Exposing to the right a bit more than usual) and just got contrastier scans.

This post explain a bit more in detail what is the Richard Photo Lab’s process :

What would be you advice on achieving this style with NLP and Fuji Pro 400h?

Thank you.

Hey – Even though the thread is quite old, I’m replying here as others (and yourself?) may be interested how it works.

TLDR: Increase brightness + Lab Glow/Fade to taste to achieve the light and airy look.

There is a misunderstanding on how “scanning for the shadows” works. Surely with lab scanners, like the Fuji Frontier, as all changes are made/checked on pre-scans and you will never see the high res normalised version with these scanners.

The workflow with Fuji Frontier scanners:

  • Create a pre-scan (low res)
  • Alter the image to taste on screen (for airy scans it means lifting density)
  • Perform the actual scan and apply the changes immediately
  • Save TIFF or JPG

The workflow with NLP is a little different:

  • Scan the negative (ETTR)
  • Invert the negative (gives you the normalised full size image you won’t see with the Frontier)
  • Apply changes to taste
  • Export as TIFF or JPG

To achieve a light and airy look you need to lift the density, which in NLP means increasing the brightness. Both brightness and density are exactly the same (just named differently).

Why the need to overexpose negatives? Why not just making photos brighter in NLP?

You can do this but it will introduce noise (both color and luminance) and also color shifts pretty quickly in the shadows as the negative is too thin in the shadows and thus has a lack of information. Overexposure makes sure the shadows have plenty of details and thus can be lifted without loss of information.

Hope this helps!

The light and airy look comes 95% from the lighting conditions on the scene and the overexposure of the film while shooting it (up to 3 stops). He probably uses Fuji Pro 400H which loves to be overexposed.