The following tip is courtesy of the below and I thought it might be interesting to the readers. I have added a note below her article.
Maureen Taylor (www.maureentaylor.com
) is the author of Preserving Your Family Photographs (Picture Perfect Press). Article published in (Copyright 2011, Ancestry.com printed in The Weekly Discovery.
Here’s a big question: Is it OK to scan photos onto your computer for storage and reprinting?
The short answer is yes. Scanning is misunderstood. There is a common belief that scanning will destroy pictures. Sure scanning exposes images to heat and light, but a single pass of the scanner won’t cause permanent damage. Plus, it’s important to remember that by scanning your images you’re creating a digital copy in case something happens to the original.
While it’s not recommended to scan the same image again and again, it’s okay to scan it once. Photocopying is more hazardous to your images than scanning. Copiers are a toxic combination of heat, light and chemicals. Scanning is a quick pass of light. The key to saving your photos in a digital format is to know the facts.
It’s important to scan at a high resolution. You can always make a digital file smaller, but you can’t increase the resolution. It’s advisable to scan at the highest possible resolution (at least 600 dpi) at 100% scale, in color (even if they are black and white) and save them as Tiff files. Scanning photos at 100% scale is often all you need, but if the original is small then increase the percentage. That gives you the flexibility to enlarge the photo if you decide to publish the image in a family history book. Don’t forget to scan the back too. There might be information that you’ll need later on.
Don’t rely on being able to find the original again. You probably know at least one genealogist that has “lost” a family photo. It’s a scary situation. You’ll be glad you scanned the images as a back-up.
Each digitized picture will be multiple megabytes. These big files take up a lot of room on your hard drive. If you have a lot of photographs, you may need an external hard drive for storage.
By scanning them at these specifications you’ll be able to later reduce their size for sharing, projection or uploading. Consider these high resolution files your “archival” copies.
When scanning, turn off the auto-correct feature that automatically corrects flaws in an image. Save your photos in their original condition, then make copies and use photo editing software to “fix” problems. Always save those edited images as a separate file and keep the original scan.
Slides and Negatives
Not all scanners have the capability to scan slides and negatives. When purchasing a scanner specifically ask if a particular model can accommodate these types of images, and then do your research. You can find specifications on the manufacturer’s website. Once you’ve purchased a machine, read the manual and follow their directions. If that doesn’t work, do an Internet search for your scanner model followed by “scanning slides” or “scanning negatives.” There are dedicated slide scanners, but they are expensive.
Cased Images: Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes
It is possible to scan these cased images, but not all scanners can manage it. Sometimes the scanner reads the glass rather than the image causing a fuzzy scan. Try scanning one on your scanner to see what happens. If you have a dedicated photo scanner rather than a combination machine it should work.
If it doesn’t work, don’t take the images out of the cases. You could inadvertently cause damage to the image. Daguerreotypes have chemical salts on the surface of a silver plate and are very fragile.
Ambrotypes are on glass, but the photographic emulsion (the picture) can flake off. If you have a collection of these cased images, you’ll have better luck with a dedicated photo scanner. An alternative can use a camera to photograph these cased images, but the reflective mirror-like surface of a daguerreotype is a problem. You often end up photographing yourself in the image.
Once you’ve scanned your pictures store the originals in acid- and lignin-free boxes. Find an organizational system that works for you. In general, keep it simple such as filing images in surname order.
Use a photo organizing program to keyword your digital pictures so you’ll be able to see all the digital files of “Aunt Sue” with a single click. Once you have these digital files take time to share the images and the stories with family. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll be saving your family history.
Now by Sandi: I have discovered the most marvelous invention for genealogists. It’s known as hand-held scanner (and other names). I purchased one some time back and am doing handstands over it. The entire size of this scanner is a little over 25 inches long and about 4 inches tall. It comes with a simple software program on a CD which you load on your computer. You insert one of these mini disks in the side (I’m using an 8GB right now). After a one-time calibration, you’re ready to go. This unit scans in b/w and color and the software program allows for the normal editing (red eye, lightening, darkening, etc). The scanning area is just a tad shy of 8 ½“ wide. One places the scanner on the photo, document or record to be scanned, just above what you want to copy. Push a button and slowly move the scanner down the page or photo, going slightly below it to be sure you’ve gotten it all. Turn the unit off and repeat as often as needed. Then, when you are ready to save the documents, pop out the disk and put in the computer in a USB port (I have one that handles various sizes of disks) and there are your pictures or documents. You can edit, delete, save to your system. The unit is powered by two batteries. I would suggest that you get a scanner that can use rechargeable batteries (which I didn’t). One can store as many documents or photos as the disk will allow. The quality is wonderful; the scanning is easy and very forgiving. You can scan horizontally or vertically. I have not yet attempted to scan an over-sized document and patch it together but supposedly this can be done easily.
This unit will fit in your purse or briefcase, is very lightweight, most comes with a little carrying case or a cover similar to what sometimes comes with an umbrella
Many court offices will not allow the larger portable scanners you can bring with you as these require the paper to be fed through and might damage the original. This unit can do no damage to the source. In a trial, I scanned over 100 documents in less than ½ hour, while they were still in the original bound book. I edited the picture later to remove the lines where the book is bound, etc. using one of my photo editing programs.
One can do a search for this type of scanner on the internet; there are many companies that sell them and the price is reasonable for what you are receiving. I paid about $80 for mine; it supposedly did not come with the disk in the advertising, but it did. I was up and running within 15 minutes. Every time I scan a document, I think “there’s 25 cents that I didn’t have to spend on a photocopier.”
© Copyright 19 January 2012 (of my portion only) Sandra K. Gorin