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Old 12-18-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
Luv2Camp
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Old Photo Albums - Scanning Photos

I have a project that I'm not sure how the tackle, so I was hoping the experts here could give me some guidance. My parents have tons of photo albums stored. My father would like to have the photos scanned and have access to them for viewing. I assume we would need to purchase a scanner, and from there I'm lost. Since there are so many photos, I assume scanning them to a computer would take up too much space. Are there any other options? Thanks for any suggestions you may have - I would love to get this accomplished for him!
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Old 12-18-2014, 03:08 PM   #2
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Hire a service. (Check any nearby photography/printing studios - they usually have services in house or know who you can contact to do so)

I had my collection of grandfather's slides (started out with 50 trays of about 30 slides each but family members kept finding more and I think it ended at around 100 trays) and decided to do it myself because I could do it the most justice. Which, I think, I did. I bought a specialized slide scanner for the purpose. But my one year project turned into 4!

Scans of good quality slides were easy but some of the slides were early versions of Kodachrome and the scanner would just out and out refuse to do a proper scan so it took multiple passes (at about 5 minutes per scan). Then there was the post-processing and restoration.

I'm still glad I did it (I've made multiple copies on DVD and given them to family members - Lookit that, 100 trays of slides fit on one DVD so the images will hopefully survive a few more generations) and because I was doing the work I was able to spend the effort to restore some pictures that were worthwhile over a service that might gloss over them. But it's a LOT of work!

That said -
Your computer can easily store all your photos so long as you have a large enough hard drive (4TB drives are pretty cheap these days). If you're uncomfortable with updating your PC you can get an external hard drive to store them. Note that it's imperative that you think about backups and how you're going store these photos long term. The average lifetime for a hard drive is 5 years and the lifetime of a burned DVD is about double that (or half that depending on the quality of the DVD media). Make backups... make LOTS of them and store them in other places besides your house!

As for the scanner - Here's a good article that explains the basics of looking for that:

http://howtoscan.ca/guide-to-photo-s...igital-images/
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Old 12-18-2014, 03:15 PM   #3
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I tackled a similar project a couple years ago. I took my mother's photo albums and scanned to my computer about 150 photos of my parents, my siblings and extended family. I then put them in a digital frame for my mother. I also made her a photo book from an online source that I love with many of the pictures. I used my printer which has a scan feature and scanned to my MacBook Pro. Those old photo albums are so space consuming and cumbersome to enjoy the memories from the photos.
Good luck.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:09 PM   #4
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If they are prints you might be able to digitize them faster and easier with a camera set up on a copy stand (which can often be a tripod). Prints don't have much information beyond about 300 dpi which means you can scan or digitize a 4x6" print at 2 MPixels without losing quality. Viewing on a monitor or HDTV is still about 2 MP so if that is the end goal there is no reason to go for more resolution.

Scanning a negative or slide is more difficult.
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Old 12-20-2014, 06:49 PM   #5
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Thank you for your suggestions! I'm going to read up on the scanners now and then look into an external hard drive to store them. I can't even imagine how many photos there are to scan. At least it will be entertaining seeing them all again!
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:56 PM   #6
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I am working on scanning my photos and my dad's old photos and slides. I bought an Epson Perfection v370 scanner last year to do it. It is doing a very nice job, it's easy to use, I can do 3 4x6 photos at a time or 4 slides.
I am scanning them to my laptop, they don't seem to be taking up tons of space, I think I am scanning at 400dpi.
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:06 PM   #7
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Keep the time it takes in mind if you take on this project. About ten years ago I scanned about 2500 slides and the basic process once you're set up isn't much different than scanning photographs. It took me about 40 hours, and that was just for the basic scan. The copy stand mentioned in a previous post, if you can get it set up, would be much faster.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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Yes, you definitely need plenty of time if you have a load of photos to scan. I've been working on mine for years, on and off. My father and I both took a lot of photos(he has more in slides). Mine mostly started to accumulate in Dec 1989 when my DD was born. I switched to all digital in 2006 so that is a lot of years of photos of my kids, pets, vacation.....This reminds me that I need to get back to work on them, I am up to 2003.....
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:36 PM   #9
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Can someone explain the "copy stand" method? I know this is going to be a huge job, so doing it in a faster manner would be great!

I really appreciate everyone's feedback. I'm excited that this might be a possibility!
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Old Yesterday, 12:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2Camp View Post
Can someone explain the "copy stand" method? I know this is going to be a huge job, so doing it in a faster manner would be great!

I really appreciate everyone's feedback. I'm excited that this might be a possibility!
A copy stand is just a way to use your camera to shoot something, usually printed material. The traditional setup is usually with 2 or 4 basic lights at 45 degree angles on opposing sides and something to hold the camera so that it is parallel to whatever you're taking a picture of. Now you can set up a copy stand with a lot less but the results might not be perfect. The simplest one I've seen DIY is an iPad on a milk crate with a couple of lamps. You line the iPad camera up with a hole in the crate, throw some light on there and go.
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