Do you have shoeboxes and tubs full of family photos hidden in multiple closets around your house or office? If so, welcome to the club! You are part of a generation that is seeing technology increase at what feels like the speed of light.
PMD is here to help you through it! From clients wanting to digitize old photos for business presentations to families that are just ready to get rid of the clutter, PMD is going to share advice for those wanting to take on this challenge.
Take inventory. How many photos do you have to digitize exactly? A lot of people who get started down this path have a reason to get it done such as an upcoming presentation or family slideshow they are preparing. If this is the case and if you have more than, let’s say 100 photos, pull out the ones that you NEED for your project and let’s start there. Otherwise, maybe try sorting your photos by year or events and set deadlines for each group depending on how much you have.
TIP: Many people will take a picture of a picture with their fancy DLSR or Smartphone. For the purposes of sending a quick shot to a friend, that’s fine. If you want to have nice photos to refer back to for life, take the time to actually scan your photos.
If you have a LOT (and we mean a LOT) of photos to scan, it might be worth your time to invest in a scanner that includes Digital ICE technology as a feature. What’s Digital ICE? If you want the long answer, click here. The short answer is that during scanning it picks up defects, surface dirt, and scratches. It then applies some formulas to rebuild the missing information*, which can save you hours of Photoshop time at the end of this project.
Clean your scanner with a dry cloth. Do not use paper towels If you still have smudges on your scanner, wipe it clean with a damp cloth first. The little cloths used to clean eyeglasses works well. Take some time to wipe down each photo before adding it to the scanner as well. Minimizing the amount of dust particles will only help. Some experts recommend using compressed air to dust off old photos rather than a cloth or towel.
Let’s start scanning. If you’re going to be using these photos for a special project or even if there is a chance you’ll use any of these photos for a special project, make sure to scan in your photos at 600dpi to TIFF. At 300dpi, your images still look good, but you will not be able to enlarge them later without them being blurry. Also, using compressed formats will work against you if you want to do any Photoshop work later. Scan your photos in color…even if they’re black and white. Just trust us on this one. Also, take notes as you go. The first few times you scan and edit, it’s going to take a while and you may feel discouraged. Just know that you get faster with time. The notes will help in the case that you are not able to work on this project for a few days, when you come back to it, you will have notes on all your settings and tips.
Time to edit! So unless you are a Photoshop guru, this step may not be for you. There are some basic and free programs you can use to adjust simple things like red eye and cropping, but otherwise, Photoshop is your best bet for really nice looking photos. If you would like to edit the photos, but really just don’t know about Photoshop, another option is to send your scanned TIFFs to us! We can edit them for you.
*Information on Digital Ice Technology taken from http://www.vividlight.com/articles/1015.htm.