Digitize Your Old Family Photos
By: Lori Thayer
Have you ever inherited family photo albums? What did you do with them? Are they sitting in a box in your basement collecting dust and not being enjoyed?
I was given the photo albums from my childhood as well as genealogy photos my Mother had found in her research. This is on top of the many photos I've taken and had in my own photo albums. These family photos number in the hundreds, maybe even thousands.
It's interesting how items we own can cause guilt. Delving into that it a topic for another day, but these pictures cause guilt and worry for me. What happened if there was a fire, the photos were irreplaceable. It would be nice to share those photos with others as well. My brother and aunts and uncles would love to see the photos they are in. I am also the only one with access to the genealogy photos and I am sure the many descendants of those people would love to be able to find those photos on the internet.
Storing these photos in a more secure way and sharing them has become exponentially easier in the last 5 years. We can scan the photos ourselves or use a service to scan them. In this article we'll talk about strategies for scanning in your old family photos.
- What are your plans for the photo? Are you just planning to store it or do you want to share it on facebook or twitter. The answer to this questions will help you determine the next two considerations. If you are planning to sore your photo and space isn't an issue scan at the highest quality you can. If you are sharing the photo online you will probably want a smaller size. Large photos can take a long time to upload or you may find the site won't even allow a photo of that size to be uploaded.
- Determine the size you want for the photo.
- What level of resolution do you want for the photo? 75 dpi is good for photos that you want to share online. 300 dpi is the standard for archiving and print quality of digital photos. 300+ dpi should be used for 7×5 or larger photos.
- Choose a photo format. Research shows JPEG (or JPG) is the choice to make for quality, a small file size and compatibility. Most if not all programs can read a .jpg image.
Get started – ways to scan photos in
- Use your at home scanner or all in one printer. A flatbed scanner will work really well for older, stiff photos. This is what I have used the most often. Sometimes I will fill up the space with multiple photos, scan them in and later break it back into the original photos digitally by cropping out the different photos and saving them. I am not sure this really saves me any time though, LOL. Some scanners only have a paper feed option. This may work for many of your photos but if you are at all concerned about them getting bent or stuck in the machine I wouldn't recommend it. Most scanners have several options, scan to an SD (secure digital) card, a computer or email the scanned document or photo. Make your choice and proceed!
- Take a photo of the picture(s). If you don't have a scanned and depending on the level of quality desired you could snap a picture of the photo you can to store digitally. The photo on the right of the two boys was taken with an iPhone 4. We were in San Francisco visiting family and they brought this photo out of my husband and his cousin Alex. I wanted to have a copy of it so I took a picture. I think it turned out great. I am sure a digital scanner could get the best possible quality but this is good enough for me. Even a 500×369 size of this photo still looks good.
- Send them in to be scanned in bulk. There are a number of services that do this and you will probably be able to find a coupon with a couple searches. I often see photo deals for scanning in bulk images on daily deal sites.
Have scanned in your print photos? Share your best tips in the comments below or on Facebook.
Lori Thayer is passionate about finding ways to have the best life, from healthy eating, healthy living, saving money and enjoying life. She is excited to share these tips with others. Improve your health with her FREE article "5 Easy Habits To Improve Your Health".