Sunday, January 3, 2016

Louise's Lost Files - Scanning Best Practices for Photographs

You've probably heard me (and others) talk about this before. When scanning photographs, you should scan them at the highest resolution and save them as Tiff files. Scanning at highest resolutions will allow you to have the crispest and most detailed digital image of your photograph. Oftentimes, when you zoom in on a photograph scanned at a high resolution, you can see more detail then you can see with your eye. This has come in handy many times when I have tried to identified a person or place in a photograph or tried to estimate when the photograph was taken.

Although JPEG is the standard format for saving images to your digital camera, hard drive, and email, it is a good idea to save your scanned photograph files as TIFF rather than JPEG because TIFF files do not lose resolution each time you open, close, and save a file. You can think of a JPEG file as a kind of compressed file which loses resolution each time it is used.

When to Save as JPEG? 
If you are planning to upload your photographs to your family tree software or online tree, or share with family members via email or a website, then you can save copies of each photograph in the JPEG format. When I scan photographs, I save each scanned photograph as a TIFF file and then I make a copy and save it in a JPEG format. I have two folders on my hard drive - one for my TIFF files and one for my JPEG files.

How to Save as Both JPEG and TIFF files? 
This process can be done several different ways:

1. You save each scanned photograph as a TIFF file, then save as JPEG file directly in your scanning software
2. You save each scanned photograph as a TIFF file, then batch save each one as a JPEG in your photo software
3. You save each scanned photograph as a TIFF file, open each photo up individually and save a copy as a JPEG file

I have the option of all 3 listed above at my fingertips. My scanning software holds all my scanned images in a queue until I'm ready to save them. Then I select the images I want to save, give them all the same name, for example, "Benson Photos," and select what file format I want to save them in. I save all my files as TIFFs first. My scanning software will append a numerical value at the end of each file name as it saves them. I will then go through each scanned image, identify the person or persons in the photograph and name accordingly.

Because I usually rename my scanned photographs, I create JPEG copies using the number 2 option above: I open my photo software called XNView (Windows based) and I select batch process to save all of my photos as JPEGs. It will then make a copy of all of the photos I have selected and save them as JPEGs. This is a very handy tool to have at your fingertips.

My next post will discuss how I name my photos and identify the subjects in each photo.


Photo: This is a photo of the Canon LiDe 110 scanner downloaded from the website. This is my 2nd iteration of this scanner that I have had for 10 years now. It fits nicely in a backpack or briefcase and is fast and easy to work with. The scanning software I use with it is called MP Navigator EX.