scanning older photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by AeroBar, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. AeroBar macrumors 6502a

    Jan 21, 2009

    we've got a few hundred photos in the house that I want to scan and save on my Mac. I may also want to try my hand at touching them up where damaged or faded.

    is there any particular type or brand that is best for scanning old photos?


    are the scanners all the same really and it is the software that I use to "repair" them that matters?


    PS scanning a photo does no harm to the photo, does it? my Dad will ask and if I hesitate then I won't get them.
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Epson makes good scanners, so does Canon. Go their web sites and compare prices. Look for 4800 dpi optical resolution. That will help get the details on those photos. They run under $100 these days.

    Scanning will not harm a photo, but scanning 100 will take some time.

    Correction software is important to do a good job and it is not easy to do. PhotoShop is the top choice and GIMP is a free alternative. PhotoShop Elements has some of it's big brother's features, but I'm not familiar with it.

    Find a book on photo retouching and take your time.

  3. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    Look at what an Epson Perfection V700 series have to offer. You may want to read the reviews on these two Epson scanners. I have a V700, and it's a wonderful one. Also, I seldom use the software that came with it. Instead, I decided to buy VueScan, which is an outstanding scanner software, and does not cost very much. It's easy to use, and offers full control of the scans.

    You may need CS4 or so, to enhance the photos after scanning, or just to remove imperfections.
  4. mashny macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2006
    Any scanner made by a reputable company (HP, Canon, Epson, Microtek) should suffice. Depending on the size of the original print and how large you want your final print to be, you may need to scan at 2400 dpi or larger. A rule of thumb is that your final image should be 300 dots per inch (dpi) so that if you have a 2x3 image you want to print as a 4x6, you would need to scan it at a minimum of 600 dpi. Make sure you understand the relationship between file size, resolution (dpi), aspect ratio, and physical dimensions before starting your project. Failing to understand this can result in extreme frustration with the final image. It's a subject that confuses a lot of people.

    As for image editing, it depends on how damaged the pictures are and how much effort you want to put into repairing/restoring them. If you are serious about it, there is no substitute for Photoshop. I've restored several thousand images and for the control and tools I need for my work, nothing comes close. If the pictures are in good shape and only need minor repairs, Photoshop Elements is a superb program, especially for the money (roughly $50 or $60).

    If you have no background, or even if you have some background, Katrin Eismann's book "Adobe Photoshop Restoration and Retouching" is probably the best book on the subject. Here's the link:

    If you need help with an image you are working on, is superb (and membership is free). You can upload your image and ask the site's members for advice on how to proceed. As much experience as I have, I still occasionally upload pictures that are giving me trouble. I've probably repaired/restored about a thousand family pictures, some over a hundred years old and, though it can take time, it is a labor of love. Don't rush through the pictures; focus on learning Photoshop (or whatever application you use) and making the pictures as beautiful as possible. It's amazing how old, seemingly hopeless photos can be brought back to life.

    If your dad is uncertain whether to give them to you, explain that if he doesn't give them to you and anything happens to them, they're gone forever. If he gives them to you to scan, he will not only get back his original prints, but the images will be archived digitally. Once you scan them, make sure you back up all the scanned files onto a second drive or onto DVDs. There are also online sites you can upload them to so if your house burns down, they'll be archived off-site. For $25 per year, you can upload as many photos, at whatever resolution you want at And that's just one of many photo sites on the web.

    Oh, and scanning a photo will not harm it at all. Good luck with it and have fun!
  5. AeroBar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 21, 2009
    Thank you all. this is exactly the help I needed.:)


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