Scanning those Photos

scanner flatThere are several different types of photo scanners available on the market, so select one you can easily use. If you get a flatbed style, then if a photo is in an album that can’t be removed, then you can still scan it in the album. The portable scanners do work quickly, scanning many photos in a short time, but works with single photo at a time, no albums.

No matter what type of scanner, the most important is how you scan. Here are some points to assist.

Scan that photo ONCE, if at all possible. Set the resolution high, at least 300 dpi. If the photo might need cropping the edges, scan even higher, say to 600 dpi. If it is physically a small photo, for sure scan it at a high resolution of 600 dpi or higher.

Then, scan that original image into a the TIF (TIFF) format. There should be an adjustment setting for TIFF on the scanner. If not, this is true of portable scanner, use BMP setting. A TIFF image does take up more disc space but the quality and the color are so much better than JPEG. You can convert any TIFF images after scanning to JPEG to use on a family website. If you find you do need to scan to JPEG, do so at a very high resolution, 600 to 800 dpi. It will help keep some of the quality.

scanner-wand-portableMake sure you place as much identification with each image as possible, in its file name or in the metadata. You can locate all types of metadata programs you can download just Google ‘metadata’.

After scanning and labeling the images, arrange in folders by family surnames or by decades dates, us whatever method works for you. Then BACKUP on several different devices those photo folders you have spent time on. Place them on a flash drive, on a DVD disc, external hard drive, on another computer in the household, and on a family member’s computer who lives in another house. The copies on one or more flash drives, discs, or external hard drives can be placed in a safe deposit box and at a family / friend’s house. Most important is to have many copies on different storage devices and different locations.

There is also Cloud Storage available. Some that are good to use are Dropbox, Hightail or Carbonite.

scanner mobileIf you have vintage slides or negatives to scan, select a scanner that can handle those items.

If doing the scanning and the backup are more than you can handle; high school students are good to hire to assist or there are professional scanning companies to contact.

Related genealogy blogs:

FamilySearch Scanning

ZCAN Scanner

OCR-Scan to Text


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