How I Turned Three Bags of Photos into Two Compact Discs

By: Linda Reavill

Sounds like a magic trick, but over the years I have taken and developed over 3,000 pictures.? I know this because I began on a quest to digitize all these pictures by scanning them.? They took up too much space and no one ever looked??at them.? I had carefully created theme albums years before, but there were more pictures in boxes.? I didn’t even know what I had.

There are two ways you can digitize all your pictures.? You can have a service scan your photos (something a sane person would do if they had the money) or scan the pictures yourself.? If you do not have a scanner and don’t have that many pictures you can get your photos scanned by a service for as little as $0.19 a picture.? If you want to do it yourself I can tell you that I used an inexpensive HP Officejet All-in-One Printer/Scanner/Copier and it did a fine job.? This is not an expensive piece of equipment, so don’t feel like you need to go out and get the best.

When scanning the pictures you will need a software program to help you with the imaging and scanning. I just used the software that came with the scanner and did not upgrade it.

It worked fine. And although the project took forever,??it was fun to think about each picture as it was being scanned. Now some people would think it would be worth their time to send the pictures in to a scanning service, and part of me agrees with that. But, I did enjoy thinking about each photo, and I would never have done that any other way.? Scanning all those pictures took a long time and I finally decided to scan pictures for about 20 minutes a day.? It still took me over 4 months.

There are a few tips and tricks that would help you reduce this time.? First, you might not really have to scan every??photo that you had.? If you can let go of some of them you can save a lot of time.? I wasn’t able to clear out my duplicates, so I found I did scan the same photo twice in many cases.? Second, I also found directions to do something called batch scanning.? If you are into a large project it would be worth your time to investigate this.

Another tip is that you have a plan to organize your photos as you scan them.? Otherwise, you will just have a mass of pictures when you are done.? Photo Management Software helps you locate and organize all the photos on your computer using keywords and categories.? If you do not use photo management software you should at least create folders in you “My Pictures" folder.? There are many ways you can create folders, but create a scheme that makes a lot of sense to you.? Some people try to organize by year and others will organize by event.? Some combination of these two tactics will probably work best.

When my project was over I had years of pictures available on my computer.? I have been able to share individual pictures or a small group of pictures with family and friends.? It was nice to share some pictures of our parents with my brothers.? I love photobooks, so I made a few books for gifts.? They weren’t the most expensive gift these people received, but I think they were the most excited about them.? And, people will willingly look at a slide show of pictures more than they will look at an old photoalbum.

If you decide to undertake a project to digitize all your pictures like I did, enjoy the process.? It is time consuming but it can be very rewarding.

Photography
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