7 Things to Keep in Mind While Scanning Old Family Photos

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How many times has this happened with you, that you are showing your family photos to someone and most of them are on your computer but the old ones are in printed form in an album which you have to take out from the attic! Instead of shuffling through two-three places to view all your family photographs, it is easier to digitize them and, in a way, immortalize them.

So start the process straightaway by scanning the pictures and making an online backup. Some pointers here will walk you through this process.

1. Know your scanner: Study what kind of scanner you are dealing with. Is it a lower-end scanner or a high quality scanner meant for pros? You should be aware of the scan quality of the equipment you have. Scan a couple of photos and see how much different they are from the real print. If it’s deviating too much, scan with a better scanner. Just a friendly tip: It is best to avoid MFPs (Multi-functional printers) for scanning.

2. Get familiar with your scanner. It is possible that your scanner provides you different modes of scanning and picture quality. It is recommended that you scan the same picture in different settings so that you can decide for yourself which setting you prefer the most. It is possible that different settings are suitable for different kinds of photos. Keep the result of your initial test in mind (or write it down if your memory cannot be trusted) so that later on you can change the settings accordingly.

3. Scanners do come with automatic dust and scratch removal tools. These features correct small scratches on the photo print or dust specks which often finds its way in. The really good scanners have this feature, but in case yours doesn’t, then use canned air to remove dust off the photos manually.

4. Don’t waste time scanning one photo at a time when the rest of the scan bed (the area of the scanner where you place your photo upside down to be scanned) can accommodate more snaps. Utilize the rest of the space to scan more photos but do remember to leave some margin between the photos so that you can later crop them in post-editing process.

5. Picking the right resolution is crucial. The resolution defines the quality of your scanned photo and where you can use it later. If there is no chance of ever using the scanned copy of the photo for anything other than viewing on the computer screen, then 72 ppi (pixels per inch) is the best bet.

6. But if you feel there is a chance that you might print it our later or enlarge it, then go for 300 ppi resolution.

7. Photographs that embedded in an album can also be scanned but the only condition is that these photos need to lie flat on the scan bed. For that photographs need to be taken out of the album. If the albums were pasted too lovingly, then it is best not to take it out of the album lest it gets damaged. In that case, you can remove the entire album page from the binder and then scan it.   

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