One of the most productive things you can do with your scanner, which seems to be gathering dust, is to use it to digitize all the old family photo prints. These old prints are probably a little faded and have wrinkles and scratches now, but it is going to get worse from here on. So better to make a digital backup and immortalize all those pretty pictures of you, your parents and grandparents.
Start off by cleaning the scan bed of your scanner by a slightly moist soft cloth to remove dust, stains and finger prints. You can try using compressed air to remove dust off the photographs. Once that’s done, here is a 6-point checklist which you can follow to complete this project.
1. Organize your photos from the huge pile that has just tumbled out of those old shoe boxes. If the one who stored those photographs in cardboard boxes was good at organizing and proper labeling, then your job is half done. If not, then you will have to sort out the photographs according to date, person and/or occasion, which could be a tedious job.
2. Make bundles of photos after you are done sorting and organizing. The bundles could contain 10-15 photos and every bundle scanned could be like a milestone achieved. If this scanning process is going to be spread over a lot of days, then bundles per day could define your speed.
3. Now start scanning the photographs. You can either scan them individually, one at a time, or you can place four photos on the scan bed and scan them at once. Just remember to keep a margin between the photographs so that you can crop them into four photos while editing. There are two resolutions in which you can scan – 72 dpi and 300 dpi – the former being good for web usage while the latter is optimum for prints.
4. Start saving the photographs with all the possible details that you can associate with that photo. Old photographs should have information like date, people, place and event. All these details can be fed into the photo information section once the photo is opened in Photoshop. This way, no matter where or when you open this file, the metadata will reveal the details easily.
5. It is important to organize photos in your computer and laptop as well. Make relevant folders and label them well.
6. Make a backup of the photos online. You will be happier and tension free this way, even if the hard copy or the soft copy in your computer gets damaged/lost by chance.
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