Karl`s PC Help Forums

Scanning Photos
grayles - 3-5-2009 at 11:09

I have some family photos that I want to scan before I give them back, I guess about 1000 of them. Some are very old as they were my grandmotherís collection.

What I would like to do is scan them all in, then try and sort them into order and possibly put names to faces with help from other family members eventually.

What is the best way to scan the old photos in?

Would I gain or lose any quality by scanning everything as colour photos, even the black and white ones?

What is the best file format to save the images in?

I would like to sort them into order and rename then and possibly attach notes to them, any suggestions of programs to make this easier?

I'm using Vista and my scanner/printer is a Lexmark p6350 all in one.


Daz - 3-5-2009 at 11:40

Redwolf is the man to ask I should imagine...

Faolan - 3-5-2009 at 11:50

If they are old and valuable I would ask a professional to do it, especially if you have any negatives.

The reason for saying this is that your scanner probably won't have the resolution or the software to remove the dust and scratches.

In addition they'll probably need retouching as well.

Best file format? For archival I would say TIFF is the best as that's a lossless format. Also scan the images as is don't change to monochrome. Some scanners handle monochrome better than others. As to archiving a good quality external HD and a internal HD to duplicate the images. CD/DVDs have proven to be unreliable for archival purposes.

Once you have them you will need a meta-data editor which most graphics app will allow to do. Meta-Data is the proper way to annotate images rather than embedding it into the image itself.

LSemmens - 3-5-2009 at 13:12

SF and RW are likely the best candidates for this, for my own stuff, all I do is generally scan at around 600dpi which then gives a reasonable print out on photo paper. What you really need to consider is are you looking at archiving for posterity or just your own personal use. If archiving for posterity then follow their suggestions, otherwise, scan at the highest resolution that your storage can possibly bear (considering the number of photos, it had better be big), Print off those that you want on the shelf and burn the rest to DVD, keeping SF's caution about optical media uppermost. The way I work, there, is backup to CD, verify that all is well, produce a second copy and verify that all is well. Keep a copy on my HDD anyway. If it is stuff that I want to keep for the term of my. I'd then copy one of the DVD's back to the HDD every five years verify that all is well and then re-burn them again to the most appropriate media at the time.

Redwolf5150 - 3-5-2009 at 13:53

Faolan pretty much covered it all.

About 1,000 images you say?

That's a project. If you DO decide to do it yourself. you'll need to prepare yourself for a lot of work, at least a weekend of it.

And you should plan how you intend to store the scans once you have them. Be sure to make redundant copies of them to DVD in case of a computer crash!


grayles - 4-5-2009 at 08:19

Thanks for all your advice, I would like to get a professional to do them as they are valuable to me, but I can't afford that. So just want to get the best I can do myself.

I am copying them so that I have a copy for myself, but also to pass onto my children, and possibly to pass onto other family members that want them. For quite a few years I was under the impression they had all disappeared following family disputes so it was very nice when they appeared.

As for the dust, scratches and retouching, I actually quite want to keep them looking as they are.

I thought it might be the case to save them in another format than jpeg, but why do photos tend to be done in jpeg? Is it just so they can be compressed?

How do I tell if a hard drive is a good quality for backing up, do I go by if itís a well known make? I have a couple of 40gig drives that I took out of a scrapped machine so would like to use them via my external caddy.

I expect it to take quite a bit longer to do than a weekend actually, we have six children here currently so long lengths of time that I can set aside to do this are rather limited, maybe an hour at a time at night if I'm lucky.

Can somebody explain a bit more what a Meta-Data editor is, how it works and possibly suggest a simple to use one?

Thanks for all your help,


Faolan - 4-5-2009 at 09:07

Grayles, can you u2u me when you have some time free, I will talk you through much of this.

It's not something that can be easily covered in a fora as it's got a lot of areas to research and would take a lot of time to cover.