Do you want to extend the life of all those cherished family photos that have been collecting dust in the family album for years? Maybe you are trying to organize them for an elderly family member or present them in a special memory album at the next family reunion? With the advent of scanners, it’s now possible to preserve these fading photos for all of time for future generations to enjoy. And it’s easier than you think to convert these cherished memories into digital files to preserve and share them.
Choose the right scanner. When it comes to scanning photos to covert them to digital format, it’s advisable to work with a flat bed scanner. While other types of scanners are available, like film scanners and wand scanners, the flatbed scanner will allow you to scan a variety of picture sizes without causing damage to the pictures themselves. This is especially important to keep in mind with any pictures taken prior to the 1950’s, when film paper was very thin and pictures tend to fade to a soft amber color. A flatbed scanner will allow you to scan even large pictures thanks to a built in feature called “panoramic” scanning, which allows you to scan the picture in sections and then piece them together.
Scanner settings. Once you have selected the photo prints that you’d like to scan, you will want to set your scanner to the optimal settings to get the highest quality scans. The best setting to choose is “custom” which will enable you to view each photo as you scan it, then “tweak” the digital image to get the best quality of the digital file. Generally scanning them with a 300 Dpi will give you a good quality image. You can adjust the sharpness, size and pixules of the scan using the custom setting.
Photo editing. Once you scan the pictures you will be able to work with them to improve their quality. You can do this with a user-friendly photo editing software. Try using the software that comes on all new computers or you may download a photo editing software such as “Picasa” or “Kodak-Photos” to do this. One other way is to use an online photo service to upload and edit the photos there. Either way, the photo editing software will allow you to improve the photos by eliminating things like “red eye”, blurring, color fading and mottling of the photo itself. Take your time and play with the photos to get them looking their best or use an auto-correct feature to do this in one step.
Photo sharing. Once you have scanned and corrected all the photos, you are ready to organize and place them into albums to enjoy, get prints made or share with other members of your family. Feel free to choose an online photo service and upload your photos to specially named online photo albums. Some people even choose to create a family website or blog and create online photo albums there. It’s just a matter of taste and who you want viewing the images. Feel free to create collages with some of the photos or use some of the special effects like frames, outlines, filters and tones to create one-of-a-kind photo masterpieces that look like a professional photo restorer’s work.
Just like it’s important to preserve family history and stories, it’s just as important to preserve the photo memories of loved ones and special events. By taking just a few minutes of time, you can select and scan photos to preserve them forever. Just follow the steps above to get the best results.