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Does Scanning Damage my Old Photos?

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By Dillon Wallace

Are you on the fence when it comes to digitizing your old photos? Worried that scanning and the whole conversion shabang may damage your precious memory cargo?


If this sounds like you, then take a deep breath and relax because scanning your old photos won’t harm your memories. Trust us.

In fact, the only thing that will harm your photos is simply doing nothing. The longer you wait to digitize, the more risk you bring to your pictures, video tapes, film reels and more. Because father time, water damage, discoloration, improper storage and accidental tears are your enemy, not the scanner.


But just in case you’re still teetering on that fence, here’s a more thorough breakdown about exactly what happens when you digitize.

 

Proper scanning techniques

When you’re looking at a DIY photo-scanning digitization process, you’ll want to pick the right scanner. Generally, a flatbed scanner is the best option on your photos as they are super gentle on your delicate vintage photographs. For example, the Canon CanoScan LiDE220 or the Epson Perfection V39 are great for scanning photos up to 8x10 in size.


Benefits of scanners

Not only do scanners not damage your photos, they actually do the exact opposite – enhance your photos. Perks like automatic color correction and various editing enhancers can give your old photos a fresh look. If you’re willing to spend some money on your digitization efforts, you can even go portable with various wireless scanners, like the Epson FastFoto-680W.


How to organize for DIY scanning

If you’ve never scanned large amounts of photos at home in the past, then before you get to scanning, make sure to follow these guidelines. Why? Because full album scanning can be quite the hectic, time-consuming process if you’re not well prepared.


  • For starters, get organized. Know which photos you want to scan and the order in which you want to scan them. Having a system will help you keep everything neat and tidy when converting them to your computer or hard drive. Plus, it’ll let you know what’s been scanned and what hasn’t.

  • Next, be cautious. You don’t want to just grab the first photo you see and start blindly scanning. Chances are your crop of old photos are dirty, or at least dusty from their time in collection. Use a non-abrasive cloth to wipe each and every photo down before scanning them, so that they’re clear and won’t produce any dust specks once digitized. Otherwise, you’ll just have to scan it again.

  • Fine tune your settings. Your scanner isn’t universal. What may work for one scanner may not be the best setting for your scanner. That’s why it’s important to use a minimum quality setting of 300 dpi – higher if you’re enlarging any photos (up to 600 dip). This will give you the best resolution outcome and opportunity for edits or enhancements.

So go ahead, hop off that fence and get to scanning. Trust us, it won’t hurt your photos, but simply doing nothing to preserve them definitely will. And if you’re not up for taking on the task and giving up the hours to scan your own photos, let us help. Our qualified team of digitization experts will securely and carefully convert your photos for you. All you need to do is load up one of our pre-paid, self-mailer boxes with your desired pictures and the rest is on us. Ta-da, it’s that simple!

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