Top 5 tips for scanning photos
We often get asked for tips to speed up the scanning process, or to make it a little less mundane.
So, we have put together the top 5 tips for digitizing your family photographs.
Get organized – The process will run a lot smoother if you have everything set out before you start. This means sorting your images in to themes, timelines etc. Having all the necessary supplies you may need – white gloves, dental floss for stuck photos, photo safe pens, photo safe storage boxes, Label maker etc. The more organized you are the easier the process will flow.
When sorting the images in to their piles – to be scanned, not scanned but kept and throw away stacks. this process will be way quicker if you can get someone to help who isn’t so emotionally attached to the images. Get the friend to hold the images and quickly go through the initial pile. Their job is to keep you focused and once they show you an image you simply say “scan, keep, or get rid and they will then put in to necessary stacks. This way it takes the reminiscing part out of the equation and things will be much faster. Remember, you will have all the time to go down memory lane once your images are scanned.
Have a secure working area that can be closed off if possible. This will allow you to keep going back to the project and doing bits when time allows. If you don’t do this and use the kitchen table as example, then you will face constant disruptions and have to keep moving images and losing your place in the process. This will lead to discouragement and giving up.
Be objective when it comes to downsizing the amount to be scanned – i.e. if an image is obviously a very close duplicate, do you really need to keep both copies?. The same goes for poor quality images – out of focus, poorly composed, bad exposure etc. Unless it is a one off and holds very important information, then it will make things a lot faster to either put in the “keep but don’t scan pile”, or get rid of it.
Be realistic at the start – Scanning your own photos if you have the time can be a rewarding task. However, you need to work through the numbers and potential time required before you start. We run in to people everyday who started the project, then quickly became overwhelmed at how long it was taking to complete and then gave up. So, a good start is to sort your images and then once you have your “scan pile” take a count. our experience shows that on average each image will take between 4-6 minutes to digitize (including enhancements, saving, labeling etc), on a home flatbed scanner. The time will get closer to 4 minutes once you have done a few and have a process in place. But, this doesn’t take in to account the initial learning process involved for best scanning practices on your equipment. Therefore, if you have several thousand images, be prepared to spend many weeks of continuous work to complete this project. So, be honest and ask before you start – Do I have the necessary time and patience to dedicate to this? If the answer is no, or your time is more productive elsewhere, then you may be best outsourcing the work to a company like Share My Photographs, where we can either work closely with you and assist, or do as much of the project as you like. Another option is to still do yourself, but rent a high speed photo scanner from us. You can then cut those many weeks, in to just a few days, as our scanners are capable of scanning up to 80 images every minute.
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