Hints for Scanning Photos

To save in the digital format you need to do it right. If using a flatbed scanner, before beginning check that the glass surface is clean, no dirt, dust or marks, those would show up on the digital photos. Clean often (dry microfiber cloth) if scanning old photos that are starting to come apart. Before scanning a group of photos, the same thing, make sure each image is clean of any dirt or marks. Use a soft brush and never press hard or use any detergent on it.

Start by a full scan of a photo at 300 dpi or even higher. You can check you have all the photos by looking at the ‘preview’ before a final scan. Using at least 300 dpi is good if any restoration (marks) is needed. If you want the photo enlarged then use a scan at 600 dpi. Scan also the back if there are any notes, dates or even locations listed. If you want to narrow in to certain person in the photo do a separate scan and crop that person for its own image, but do have it higher than 300 dpi and at 8 bit color mode, even for black and white images. All those settings are with your scanner.

Label / name / title each digital image, especially so you can easily refer to the original. Keep a separate file, labeled for all the scanned photos. Break it into separate files either by time periods or family names.

Never think you have to get all the family photos done at once. If you have more than one box full, just that will take a good deal of time. It is best to take you time then you only have to do it once.

Save as you go along all you have scanned on several devices (on a flash drive, a disc, cloud storage) with those devices kept in different locations (relative’s house, bank deposit box).

Here are some examples of family photos done two years ago, scanned at 300 dpi, labeled and saved in a digital folder in several locations.

Photos: Dedication of new Roosevelt bridge in 1934–car part of the parade. Background left – the Stuart, FL train depot and to far right the Lester’s Texaco station; 1940s-Luckhardt farm in Saline, Michigan; and 1943 in Hobe Sound, FL-Ray Hadlock, Charles Rue, Charles Sloan.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Equipment for Scanning

Add Info for a Digital Photo

Photos Over the Years

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