Working on old photo's

gillian_41August 19, 2007

I have alot of old photo's dating back to 1926, b/w and some quite yellow, seeing that I have been given such great help in this forum I thought I would ask for advice, I have a Canon LiDE scanner and Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 that came with my computer. I would like to put them all in a folder then onto a cd later. My DH passed away 2yrs ago so am now ready to put his life story on record.

Thank you for any help.


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Gillian, I would suggest going to the graphics and scanning forum for some help with this. I'm sure the nice folks there would be glad to help you. There is a link at the top of this page.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 7:53PM
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You should scan these photos individually at perhaps 200% of original and save as bitmaps (bmp) not jpg. This gives you a much better quality file for when you want to do anything with them. I like my old photos to be anywhere from 2 to 4 megabytes in size. You can always make them smaller later without degrading but you will most certainly degrade a smaller photo when trying to increase the size after the fact.

Play with you scanner a bit to get comfortable before doing the serious scans. Having never used Adobe Photo Elements I do not know it's capabilities. Sufficient to say it should be capable of doing the job for you with the Adobe name on it. You should be able to lighten or darken any photos to a modest degree and manipulate the photo if needed.

The entertainment comes when you start repairing scratches and bends on the photos. This takes some practise though but there is a huge sense of satisfaction in repairing an old photograph.

When you have scanned these to your computer you might want to open Explore - right click on Start and click Explore. In the new window find the folder with your scans in the left side and click on it to highlight it. Now right click on each file in the right side and click Properties. In the new window click Summary at the top then click Advanced. Now you have the opportunity to enter any data you want for that photo, like the names of those on the photo, where it was taken and a date if you know these things. That data then gets embedded in the file when you exit.

Sounds like a lot of work and it might well be. However it is not a race and you can do it over an extended period as you feel capable.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 10:27PM
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Owbist, although I am not the originator of this thread, I just learned something I never knew. Going to Summary and Advanced and putting in the info on a picture. I always learn something from your clear explanations.

Wish you lived near me so I could hire you to give me some computer lessons. You are terrific!


    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:22PM
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A couple more points you might consider during the scans. Scan in full colour rather than the harsh black and white. This retains the shading of the original photos. The other point you may find helpful is to sort your photos into physical size groups rather than who is on them. This way you do a preview for just the first photo in each size, the rest you simply insert in the same spot and scan. Saves a bundle of time, scanning is labour intensive as you are required to stay with the computer to keep swapping things over. Naming each scanned file can be a nightmare too if there are a lot of photos

Jane, thank you for your kind comments. Having done exactly what Gillian is contemplating it is easy to set out my experience with the task hoping to make her job a little easier.

The beauty of old photographs is that they have been stored in the old cookie tin or shoe box in a cupboard so the quality has been retained. Photo albums are a curse really because the photos fade, especially those near the open side of the book.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 7:06AM
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