Home Forums Challenges Sentimental Clutter Scanning postcards and photos

This topic contains 14 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  ninakk 6 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #159922

    ninakk
    Member

    I’m eager to get rid of postcards and letters in their physical form. Can’t save everything and I’d rather make room for craft supplies etc., so I thought I’d make a memory book out of them the same way as I will make of photos later (either physical or pdf, haven’t decided yet).

    I remembered a very informative thread started by luxcat and since it is relevant, here you go:
    https://unclutterer.com/discuss/topic/scanning-family-photos-recommended-dpippi

    Now I’m interested in hearing whether you have any additions to the information already written there as well as tips and tricks when setting out. The postcards aren’t as valuable, so I figure I can make some newbie mistakes with those first. Thanks!

  • #213817

    Anonymous

    Scanning postcards and photos

    I am doing the same project right now and have scanned a few hundred 35mm slides and about 100 photos of 1980’s neph-kids, which are already yellowing. I also scanned old planners which serve as diaries of my most recent 12 or so years.

    It takes a long time to label these things, so if possible, I write information on the item, such as the pages of the old calendars. One side of the spiral planner had the year and month but the other half of the page did not. The pages are too large to copy with the planner open to the entire month. Instead of labeling each image, I left the numerical sequence that was assigned by the scanner, and just put the date right on the scanned item with a marker. Each year was placed in a folder, so it will be easy to get to the right page. I put clear dates on letters as well. The envelopes had postmarks, so I was able to identify letters that tended to be undated. Then I could scan them in chronological order and place them in a folder that just had one label for “Grandma’s letters”. If optical character recognition is not helpful later, I can always see the big marker dates on the thumbnail page.

    Photos tend to bow on my scanner, since there is a bit of space between the cover and the glass. I place a thin magazine on top of them to hold them tighter to the glass and prevent focus issues.

    It might be a good idea for you to scan a few of your typical items and see how they look at them on various devices at assorted DPI levels. Text mode, photo mode, whatever choices your software gives you. For instance, my Epson Perfection 4990 has fancy options like descreening, which gets rid of the texture of those satin-finished prints. It takes longer to scan and I don’t always need that on some items. Sort things for each setting and save time fiddling with the software.

    I used the TIFF format, since I keep hearing that this is lossless format. ** I am not sure what I need to do about compressing the images, which my scanner lets me choose. If I share these on a CD or in mail, will my non-techie relatives be able to uncompress them?**

    Before you toss the item, do make backups, online or on flash drives or other external memory devices. Keep them offsite if possible in case of fire at the location of the computer.

    The last thing I can advise is to prioritize what you are scanning, since the process takes time. After awhile you might be getting a little pickier about what *really* needs to get digitalized. Even when we paid for film processing and were careful about “spending” the 24 or 36 shots on the roll, not every picture is a favorite. At some point you might say “Enough!” and re-assess/recycle.

    It helps me to have an audiobook to listen to as I scan, since this is a job that ties you to the desk.

  • #213819

    chacha1
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    This prompted me to go to blurb.com, where I’ve done a couple of photo books, because they’ve upgraded things quite a lot since I did mine (plus it’s been a while and I didn’t remember the process very well!).

    Blurb only takes JPG or PNG files. So if you want to use an online service like Blurb to make your memory book(s), best check what format they use and save your scans accordingly.

    I am waiting to buy a photo scanner until I get a couple of writing projects out of the way, then I also will be plunging into this project. I have six feet of closet shelf occupied by bulky scrapbooks … would be MUCH happier with a foot of bookcase and some nice tidy goofy little books. πŸ™‚

  • #213825

    luxcat
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    I am nearly done with this project (took a while as it eventually grew to include scanning years of old journals) and I have to say it went really well, but is a time vaccum. My only hint would be to set aside say 15-20 minutes a day and stick to it. The pile will reduce surprisingly fast πŸ™‚

  • #213835

    Anonymous

    Scanning postcards and photos

    Chacha, I hear you on the linear storage of scrapbooks. As I look at my stash of paper, tools and embellishments, I can see that I am headed in that exact direction with my photo project. It will have been a creative journey making them and I am much more likely to revisit them in scrapbook form. How are you planning to transfer the scrapbooks to the digital memory books?

  • #213836

    irishbell
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    Is summer the scanning season or what???
    When I scan a photo at higher than 300 dpi, I get a message that says the resolution is set higher than necessary for this photo.
    What do you reccomend, use the higher res or not?
    Also, since most of you think tiff is the best format in which to save, can I use this with iPhoto?
    I don’t have much experience using anything but jpeg.

  • #213838

    Anonymous

    Scanning postcards and photos

    I have only started using TIFF, after reading a lot of comments here.

    Maybe you should scan a sample of photos at both 300 and 600 DPI, irishbell. Try printing one set on your home printer. If you can’t really see much difference, scan at a lower number. I cropped a lot of my photos, so the enlarged pictures are pixillated at a lower dpi. I also plan to use some in Powerpoints, so I want them to be projected with the best image in class.

    I don’t know anything about iphoto, sorry.

  • #213840

    chacha1
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    AnotherDeb, I am planning to use a flatbed photo scanner to convert paper pages to JPGs and assemble the books on Blurb. Where I have actual photos, I’ll weave them in. Some years I have taken so many photos of specific events that I’ll need to do books devoted just to those, or as in the case of trips to the Sierra in multiple years I’ll do a Sierra book.

    Re: formats, my choice of JPG is strictly due to Blurb’s requirements. I don’t really care about long-term fidelity of the images in most cases … my photos are not all fine art by any stretch, and my scrapbook pages are … scrappy. πŸ™‚

  • #213845

    ninakk
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    irish, it seems like iphoto accepts tiff. in help they talk about jpg, raw and tiff.

    thanks guys! it is helpful and inspiring. just finished my first cull of a bagfull of letters and postcards.

  • #213871

    Anonymous

    Scanning postcards and photos

    chacha, are the scrap pages in 12×12 inch format? That is what keeps me from getting mine scanned. The local scrapbook store sometimes has an “event” where they bring in a 12×12 inch scanner for this purpose but i have not seen that happen for a year or so.

    I like your idea of the one Sierra Blurb book. I have a yearly music festival that would fit the bill on that count, as well as pictures of neph-kids that could fill a book for each kid.

  • #213880

    Xiro
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    I did this a few years ago, takes quite some time to scan hundred of photo graphs, then I found some more family photos that must be scanned, no time at the moment, it could hours for days along with doing other work.

  • #213926

    chacha1
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    AnotherDeb, I used 8.5 x 11 paper. I never got any dedicated scrapbooking supplies, just started roughly compiling things as it became clear that DH & I were going to be Doers & Goers who had a lot of papery memorabilia. Mine are *very* scrappy and not at all artistic.

    As I go through and upload images into Blurb for each project, I will insert text pages or caption boxes where I can write a little about the event or locale, because while my recall is now excellent, I know there will come a day when I think “WTH were we doing there?”. πŸ™‚

  • #213964

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    I spent a lot of time concerned about the question of file formats, and I eventually went with jpg because, like @chacha, my intention is to make Blurb books from my scanned photos. If it is something like a journal with many pages, I’ve actually just been scanning to PDF so that it is all in the same file. In other words, I sort of “gave up” in terms of finding the perfect file format.

    @Deb – I am in a scan-labeling nightmare right now, so I wish I’d followed your advice and put everything in chronological order first. Nothing I had was anywhere close to chronological, and that would have been an epic task, but maybe not so epic as the labeling I’m doing now.

  • #214002

    ninakk
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    I especially love the built-in order feature of iPhoto. Means I can make a book in the program and have it printed directly from it. Did it a few years ago and the quality was great. It would be awesome to have a few more font selections but the layout is stylish and minimalist enough even for picky me, so that’s the route I’m going once again with real photos. Scans of various letters etc. will be made into pdf books only unless I win the lottery tomorrow/in the near future.

    I think I have quite a few scenery photos from my youth that now don’t mean anything to me, so those won’t even get scanned. Only favourites count.

  • #218558

    ninakk
    Member

    Scanning postcards and photos

    Speaking of scanning, I found this the other day:

    http://www.marthastewart.com/272083/digital-albums-clip-art-and-scanning-tip

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