Winter Time Photo Scanning

This just might be the opportune time to get some scanning of the family collection of photos done. If you have put it off in the past, make the time now before you discover there is nothing left to scan.

Even if you have many of the images already scanned there still might be the ones you skipped over earlier or new ones you have acquired in the last year or so. Another thing to check is that you did not scan the first set of photos at too small a resolution. If that was done, they can only print out a wallet size. Also the quality can be poorer. You can’t scan at a low dpi (dots per inch) and then re-size the dpi thinking the quality will improve. Pixels make up the image, so the higher the number of pixels the better the scan will be.

The family heritage photos do need to be preserved and the best method is by scanning each at a high resolution plus as a ‘Windows Bitmap’ (bmp) rather than ‘jpeg’ first time. The quality will be better and nice prints can be made. So a good dpi would be 300 or better. NEVER do less than 150. If you originally scan it at 500 or 600 dpi to store it you can still scale down the dpi to 150 if you need to for another purpose. When sharing the family images, do give those other family members the higher dpi also. That way the images will be stored in different locations.

Take care of the original photos protecting them from mold, major changes in temperatures, never expose them to sunlight, mildew and natural disasters. Store them in acid-free boxes, sleeves or cartons. If they are in those self-sticking highly acidic magnetic albums of the 1960s and 1970s, carefully remove them soon! Use dental floss, starting at a corner to gently lift the photo and carefully ‘saw’ along the back to free the photo. Get those scanned right away because they have already started to deteriorate being in that acidic album.

Once scanned, make sure to label your digital images. A name and date can go as the title and then right-click on the image to ‘properties’ then to the tab ‘summary’ to add details about the image. Even if it is guess about a location or name, it might prove to helpful as a clue to you later or to someone else.

Scanning a few over a scattering of a few weeks will produced some great results.

Photo: 1912 family image scanned (500 dpi as bmp) 8 years ago just before it began to deteriorate. It was rescaled to be placed on this site.

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