Helpful Photo Scanning Tips: Part 2

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Do you have albums, stacks and maybe shoeboxes full of old family photos? Like us here at MailPix, you recognize the value in all these precious memories and want to better preserve them for generations to come. Maybe it’s time to safeguard your photo memories by scanning and cataloguing them.

To get some pointers we talked to Gary Pageau, a photo industry veteran who recently scanned more than 10,000 family history photos. He helped us come up with a list of scanning tips to help get you started:

1. Locate Your Photos

Start by gathering photos. Track them down, remove from albums and/or frames and line them. This can be very time-consuming. Try to keep photos grouped chronologically.

2. Determine a Workflow

How do you wish to organize images? Most likely you will decide to ‘organize by date,’ but there may also be reasons to organize by location, theme, subject or even by person/people who appear in the photo.

Save your photo library to digital files and make it last

3. Create a Catalogue and Identify System

If you decide to create a catalogue listing of what you have this may be the toughest step. We suggest you develop a comprehensive system that’s A) easy to use, and B) can best pinpoint locate photos that you’ll later wish to find.

Two things to consider for your catalogue system: 1) Will you be adding to this collection or is it a static (purely historical) collection? 2) Who will be using your new photo organization system and how will those individuals search to find a photo? By year, by person, colors in the photo, time of day photo was taken?

4. What’s Best: Written or Digital Record Keeping?

As you review and scan each photo, create a cross-reference record that lists every photo and/or photo collection. Should you do that by listing things in a log book and via notations on the back of the photos? Or will you go digital and keep all records on a computer? If the latter, of course it makes sense to eventually create a print-out of that photo records list.

5. Start Scanning

Doing all the scanning yourself? Do the job right–set aside lots of time for the task. Just prepping all the variously sized photos and types of pictures can take up as much time as the scanning itself. Line up your photo stacks and photo shoeboxes. Start scanning. Depending upon your number of photo files, you may wish to pause periodically to be sure your scanning is happening correctly. We suggest you also pause intermittently to do a records print-out or other back-up as a precaution.

And when you find a gem on a photo, how about sharing it with family and friends? The simplest thing to do is order a stack of photo reprints. With a digital scan of your photo you create a print, photo wrap canvas, soft and warm blanket that shows one or several photos, and many other photo gift items.

In fact, our expert Gary is ordering photo reprints to send to the relatives. He’s also started the layout on a big photo memory book.

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