Very recently I took my first staged portrait shots for a photo class. I used a dark room and a 150 Watt bulb with my canon rebel 35mm and some B&W film. I developed the negatives myself, and then scanned the negatives on my school's Minolta DiMage Dual Scan III. It was there I realized that the storage method we're forced to use for our negatives (simply placing them in an envelope and than a manilla envelope for extra protection) did not protect my negatives too well- they were the victims of both excessive amounts of dust and scratches. I uploaded a fair number of pictures- 6 or 7 in all out of a shoot of 34 shots I believe. I've only had time (3 hours) to work on one of the scans. So here it is. The original: The 3 hour work of removing the bad spots: And the 2 minute retouch of dodging out the background: I have a few questions as well as a few points I wish for critiques to focus on. First - the scans came out with a significant amount of grain, and I was not able to figure out how to reduce grain on the scans. How can I rid the picture of the graininess in PS (I use GIMP, but I can probably do the same thing you do in PS). Second- it took me three hours to retouch that scanned film in order for it to look presentable, let alone good. Do I simply need to get better at this, or is there a quicker way than zooming in on trouble spots and using the clone tool? Areas that I especially need critiquing on (keep in mind it's my first portrait shooting): 1. The original shot- composition, lighting, emotion on the model's face, etc. How can I improve in this area? Especially in lighting, as I'm still a complete newbie to controlled lighting in a photo shoot. 2. The original to second shot- did I do a good job touching up the scratches and the dust? 3. On the third shot, I quickly burnt out the background. Does it look effective, or am I simply not seeing a smudge mark or sloppy workmanship in it? 4. Make up your own category and contribute- I want some serious criticism and/or praise for this photo, as I really hope to get some great shots in soon-to-be future shootings.