If you have not to date, set aside time to start scanning or finish up scanning those priceless photos of your family, now is the time to prioritize that plan. By scanning you will have a permanent digital image in addition to the actual photograph. Those digital images can be copied easier and shared via email or a disc or a flash drive or cloud storage. When technology changes to some other format, these digital images can be converted also. If those precious print photos are left they might fade or dissolve over time.
If you do not feel you can tackle this task of scanning family photos you can employ or ask a family relative or a professional to handle the job. However, there is one very important aspect to doing this scanning that should not be overlooked. That is identification of the people, date, and location shown in each photo.
It doesn’t matter if you are doing the scanning or having some assistance, there is a very easy method to make sure any names, dates and locations stay with each digital image. When a scan is made you do have to title or label it with a name or code that digital image. Yet, you can not get a good deal of information in that limited title. Instead, make one scan with the identification and the photo together.
As you scan, keep a stack of half sheets of paper and a pen. As you do each photo check the back of the photo of any information. Check your own family tree for specific dates that fit that image. Clearly write that information – names, dates, etc on the half sheet of paper. As you place the photo to be scanned on a flatbed scanner, place the paper where you have written the identification information just below or at the top of the photo before scanning. This way you will have the known names, dates etc right with the one scan. You can do another scan right afterward of just the image but it is not necessary. If you later want just the image you can crop it using a photo software program.
Not just a flatbed scanner can be used but also the wand or portable scanner with a deck where you feed the photo through, just also feed the paper with the information. If you use the handheld wand, just scan at the same time the paper with names, dates, etc.
Ask for help in identification from relatives just to make sure you have it accurate. It could make a great project for two or three relatives to work together on this, pooling their knowledge. You will be so glad this done, the scanning of treasured photos and the labeling.
Photos: Flatbed scanners and labeling a 1918 photo.
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