Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scanning a Photo Album

I've spent a good part of the day scanning individual photographs from my Aunt Gerry's collection. My goal is to provide a CDROM for my cousins with her photograph collection for Christmas. I have a good start on the loose photographs. I'm saving them as TIF files at 300 dpi and trying to label them by subject-date-location as best I can in the file name (which I can change easily later). Hopefully, I can put real captions on them digitally

There are a few "new photos" for me - here is a picture of Gerry and her mother Bess getting off the train in San Diego just before my parents wedding in July 1942. From the left, the people are Lyle Carringer, Emily Carringer, Fred Seaver (my father), Dorothy Chamberlain (my father's cousin), Gerry Seaver (beaming at brother Fred), Bess (Richmond) Seaver (Fred and Gerry's mother), and Betty Carringer (my mother). Look at Fred's suit and the hats on all of the ladies - times have changed, haven't they?

My next problem is the photo album. It is a "magnetic album" with many photos pasted down and a clear sheet over them. The pasted down photos won't come off, of course, and I'm not going to try. Some photos overlap others. The clear sheet can be raised enough that I can get the pages down on the face of the scanner.

The album has a comb binding, so the pages can lay almost flat. My plan is to lay each page of the album on the scanner flatbed and scan the whole page and save it. Then I hope to use the photo editor to select each individual photo off the image of the album page one at a time and save them individually. There are many photos in this album without captions or dates, and I'm just going to identify them as "album-page01-photo001" unless I know who they are. There are about 16 pages in the album.

Has anyone done this sort of thing before? Any advice?

My next problem will be using software to caption the photos that I have. What do you recommend? I have Picasa and Microsoft digital Imaging on my computer and don't really want to buy more software. I've seen photos online with captions and labels and tags, but am confused by what there is and what would be best. What would work best on a CDROM with a PDF format or in a Powerpoint slide show? What do you recommend?


GrannyPam said...

I did exactly as you mention. I did have a problem, the quality of each individual photo left something to be desired when worked on them later, since the resolution of each photograph was a small percentage of the entire page.

You might want to select the area of each photo on a page and scan them individually, the results will be better. My newer scanner software lets me select several ranges and then scan them all at once. I’m having to redo the ones I did a page at a time.

Unknown said...


I worked on a similar project a few months ago... a cousin had made a scrapbook of my grandmother's old photo for her Dad... she used scotch tape to adhere to the page... anyway I couldn't remove w/o damaging them.

I placed the entire page on my Epson printer/scanner and pressed scan, it them prompts me to open in a particular softward - I have an old copy of Adobe Elements... the pre-scans scans the entire page --- from the pre-scan you can set the scan area... this was I was able to scan each photo individually and not remove them from the album. I am sure you can find other photo software will allow you to do something similar... it made the whole scanning process fast and I did not lose my resolution by having to crop them from a page scan.

Good luck!


Unknown said...

Oops - guess I should have previewed and spell checked before I posted.

Oh well, time for more coffee!


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

First I would check out Sally Jacobs article on removing stuck photos. I am having good luck getting the ones out of the album that I am scanning now.

For labeling the pictures try right clicking on one you want to add notes to. Choose properties. Then choose the summary tab and you can type in notes - assuming your software works like mine. As for how to label them so that the label shows up on the picture I have no clue and hope someone else responds with that information.

Family Attic said...

I've been playing with a free little program called "FotoTagger." It allows annotating and tagging photos. With the program you can choose to view the image without the tags or with. I don't know if that would help.

Moultrie Creek said...

Take a look at a nice little app called FotoTagger to add captions directly on the image. The application is free and includes the ability to display the annotated images on your blog or in Flickr too. I played with it a bit before I moved to Mac and I really liked it.

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That is exactly what I'm doing with all my old pictures of the family, scanning them and saving them on the computer.

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