Digitizing and Archiving Old Photos

Information for Converting, Saving and Using older photos

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Digitizing and Archiving Old Photos

This is a good article that I found with good information on Digitizing and Archiving Old Photos:

By Justine Dorton

I have what sometimes feels like 87,000 photographs in albums stacked in my basement. They fill dozens of albums, and cover the interesting, mundane, special, outrageous, and sacred moments of my life. They stop, abruptly, in 2002. They have been replaced by, as you might have guessed, digital files. Files and files and files of pictures, the sum of which is likely closing in on 87 million. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

I struggled mightily with what to do with all these old albums. My digital storage is well maintained and heavily backed up – no house fire or earthquake is going to destroy my pictorial life since 2002. How could I possibly guarantee the same for all those albums in the basement?
After a little bit of research and a little bit of luck, I’ve been able to catalog about 70% of my family’s photos digitally. I’ll walk you through how I did it.

Making Old Photographs Digital:
Let’s start our walk through the first project I undertook with my sisters to start saving some of our old photographs. My younger sister snuck into our parent’s home and borrowed all their crates full of old pictures. Scattered around my family room we three sisters sat, filtering out the pictures of most and least importance. We whittled 5 crates and 50 years of pictures down to about 700 pictures that most accurately captured the important moments in our parents lives.

That stack of 700 pictures then sat there, fading away, losing more quality and texture, for two more weeks, until I mustered the courage to conquer it. I toyed with the idea of scanning each photo, and even messed around with our scanner for a few attempts, but found the quality and size of photo unacceptable for any really serious attempt at archiving. There are scanners available that produce high picture quality, but the real issue with scanners is their propensity for dust. Professional photo restoration companies will keep their digital scanners in professionally maintained dust-free rooms. Scanning your photos will guarantee that dust will need to be removed from the photo image after you have captured it. Depending on the quality of your camera, the quality of your scanner, and the free time you’ve got on your hands (taking photos of your photos is much faster), you can make that choice yourself.

Scanners:
If you are in the market for a scanner, or have the spare change to spend, make sure you buy a scanner with at least a 36-bit color depth, and the highest resolution you can possibly afford. Any resolution under 1200 dpi will result in diminished picture quality if you intend to reprint your picture at some point (1200 dpi is sold for between $150-$250 at many office supply stores). If you are certain you will never want a scanned picture to be any larger than it was when originally scanned, you can get away with a 600 dpi. These scanners can be found for under $100.

If you do decide to use a scanner, you won’t have to worry about lighting or distortion, which we will talk about later, however, remember that when using a scanner, you will always diminish the quality of the portrait by introducing dust particles onto it. That can create more work in a photo editing software to restore the image.

Cameras:
There are several important things to remember before using your camera to capture an old photo digitally. (Click link below to continue reading the article)

Article continued on Digitizing Old Photos

Source: MyTrees.com – Family Trees

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