All those albums and shoeboxes scattered all around the house treasure some of the most valuable memories you shared with your dear ones. Over time it can become hard to find the photos you want to take a look at. It’s entirely understandable that you want to scan them and keep them in one place well-organized.
The question is, how do you do it in the most effective way? First, you’ll need to get a hold of a scanner. You can find a variety of photo scanners here. However, getting a scanner is only the beginning of it. Here are the best ways to scan your old photos.
Plan Your Scans In Advance
You don’t want to scan your old photos as they come. If you do it, you will end up with a chunk of digital photos. You’ll risk this big chunk of digital material discourage you from organizing it. That’s why you should organize your photos and plan your scans in advance.
A simple methodology will do the trick. Decide how you want to group the photos. You can then go through all the photos and organize them by the criteria you want, such as dates, events, family & friends, trips, etc. If you have too many old photos, you should also make a scanning schedule so that you know what to scan first and have a timeline to stick to.
Finally, you don’t want all your photos to end up in “Scanner” or “My Pictures” directories. Make a new directory on your drive or cloud-storage and decide how you want to name directories. Make sure to move your scanned photos to designated directories as soon as you scan them.
Make Sure Your Scanner is Ready
The photo scanner is a piece of equipment vital for the success of your project. You need to tend to it with care and attention. First, make sure that it’s properly connected to the power source and your computer. Then, you have to ensure that you have the latest drivers and proprietary software used to run it.
Once you have taken care of the technical part of the care, you need to make sure that your scanner is clean. Any dust, stains, or fingertips on the scanner bed will potentially ruin your scans. Never use tissues or paper towels to clean the scanner bed. These leave debris that can affect the scans too. Instead, opt for a dry handkerchief, or even better, a dry microfiber cloth.
Since the scanner bed can get dirty when you place and remove photos, you should also wipe it clean every now and then.
Clean Your Photos Before Scanning Them
Stains and debris on your scanner bed can ruin your scans as the stains and dust on photos. That’s why you should dust off your pictures before putting them into the scanner. If you’ve kept your photos in a shoebox, they probably have some dust on them.
Use a can with compressed air and a dry microfiber cloth to dust em off. Just make sure to store the compressed air can properly so you don’t get liquid on your photos. There’s no need to get all your photos cleaned. Clear them in batches according to your scanning schedule. Otherwise, they might get dusty again, especially if you have a couple of thousands to scan.
Scan Multiple Photos at Once
If your scanner bed can fit several photos at once, why not scan multiple photos in one go? It will save you time. Make some space around every image when you put them on the scanner bed. However, you will need to crop those photos later and save them as individual files. If you don’t know how to do it – you should stick to the good old “one by one” routine.
Make sure to hit the “Preview” button before each scan. It will help you assess whether you placed the photos correctly and save you time down the line having to rotate images.
When it comes to choosing the best resolution for the images, the rule of thumb is to stick to 600 DPI. It’s more than enough to get sharp scans without the photos eating up too much of the storage space.
Finally, avoid using the default file names the software offers. Name every scanned image accordingly. Use dates, locations, or people names to name the files and save them in an appropriate folder, as we’ve previously discussed.
Follow these steps every time you want to scan your old photos, and you will be able to do it like a professional. As you can see, planning is vital for this delicate project. You will also need to make sure your scanner and photos are clean at all times to get good scans.
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