Preserving and Digitizing Your Family’s Memories
Births, weddings, baby’s first tooth, birthdays, all your cherished moments captured on paper and tucked away in albums and boxes. Unfortunately those same moments are susceptible to all kinds of damage. Whether it is moisture, mold, mice, insects, or even worse, fire or flood.
So what can you do to preserve all of your family’s memories that you hold dear? One option is to scan your photos and digitize them. It’s really not as difficult as you might think. The following will give you some pointers on the best practices for digitizing and storing your precious memories.
- You will need a computer and a scanner. As long as you have both of these items, you are well on your way to creating a digital library of all of your photographs.
- Blank DVD’s or CD’s (DVD’s will hold more photos or higher resolution/quality photographs)
- Time and patience!
Although fairly simple, the process is time consuming and sometimes tedious, but it will be worth it in the end. So, gather all of your photos and prepare to settle in for quite a while.
- Using a lint free cloth, carefully dust the bed of your scanner making sure the scanning bed is free of dust. You don’t want the specs to be captured along with your image.
- Scanners come with installation software that you can open up and manipulate the scanning preferences.
- Set the dpi to a minimum of 300dpi and as much as 600dpi. This will create a large file, but it will give the best resolution should you need to reprint your photographs.
- Usually the san bed has an arrow or some other indication as to where to place your image. You’ll want to try to keep the image as straight as possible to avoid having to crop them should you need to print them again.
- Carefully scan each photograph and save to a file on your computer. Some scanning software opens up to show you a preview of the scanned image and it will have a dotted line or some other indication of where the actual image ends and begins. If your software offers this option, by all means take advantage of it and move the line to the edges of your photo. If will crop the image for you before completing the scan.
- If some of the images are in those old albums where you can’t safely remove each image, scan the entire page. Don’t risk tearing a photograph trying to remove it.
- Creating a file to save the photos into for each time period or event will help with what we are going to do later.
- After you have scanned and saved each photograph into it’s chosen file, copy them all to a DVD and make a notation on each disc of the time period or event that is contained on that particular disc.
- Once all the discs are completed and labeled store them all together in a fireproof box, safety deposit box, or other area that will be safe from the elements.
You can pat yourself on the back for a job well done and know that your family photographs and memories are now safely digitized. Don’t have a scanner or the time to take on such a large task? There are many companies that offer the service along with restoration services for a fee. If you are interested in such a service, please visit Digitize and Preserve Your Photographs.
*Please remember, photographs that were professionally taken are still subject to the original photographers copyright and may not be reprinted without their permission.
By: Kelly Ann Jones