There are lots of photo scanning services these days, and more people are taking advantage of them to have their old family photos digitized for easier, more reliable safekeeping. But can you scan your own photos without a photo scanning service? It is possible, although it’s a time consuming task that requires a lot of patience. If you think you want to scan your own bulk photos, here’s how to do it right.
- Do not take photos of your photos! A lot of people think it will be faster to simply pull out their digital camera and take new pictures of the existing paper photos. It’s fast, but it also results in an inevitable loss of quality. The digital photo is the one that will last long after the paper one is gone, so you want it to be high quality. Taking a photo of a photo is like taking a photocopy of a photocopy.
- Get a good scanner. The key to DIY bulk photo scanning is speed, so not just any scanner will do. If your own scanner is an older, slower model, see if you can borrow a higher end one from someone you know.
- Make sure you know how to use it. Do a couple test scans. You should find out which side is “up” on the scanner bed. Most importantly, come up with a system to keep the photos straight as you close the scanner lid so you don’t get crooked scans.
- Do only one photo at a time. It may seem faster to lay several next to each other on the scanner bed but it will take longer to edit them apart digitally than it would to just do separate scans now.
- Plan file names efficiently. If your photos are already pretty much grouped by event or occasion, it may make sense to make new file names and folders for each batch (e.g. “Jill’s Wedding”). But if they’re mixed up, it’s probably faster to just save them all to one folder and then sort the digital files later.
- Take your time. Scanning photos is time intensive so block out a whole day and put on a favorite movie!
Of course, for most people scanning your own photos isn’t a good use of time. It may be better to just save yourself the time and go with a professional photo scanning service. Our bulk photo scanning options at VistaPix Media are affordable, easy to use and you can choose a DVD and/or USB Drive.