13 More Reasons Why You Should Already Be Scanning Your Photo Collection

by Curtis Bisel
updated: April 21, 2017
Curtis Bisel
April 21, 2017
Art Taylor in front of train at the B&O Museum
Art Taylor at the B&O Museum in Baltimore, MD

If you’ve read any of the post comments on this website in the last month, I’m sure you’ve seen 1 or 7 detailed comments from a man named Art Taylor.

I haven’t met someone in some time who is as passionate about preserving photographs as he is. And since he’s been so generous sharing his scanning experience with others, I couldn’t help but take him up on his offer to write a few guest posts for us.

Art has been an amateur photographer for over 40 years, taking close to 50,000 or more slides and negatives on film. But, what really got my attention was his love for trains.

Even though I can’t say I have ever ridden a real train — just miniature ones in amusement parks — I just love them. Most of Art’s photo collection was taken of trains and railroad-related subjects.

My desire is to eventually get these collections digitized and archived so that they can eventually go to appropriate museums or historical societies.

I’m very happy to share with you his first guest post. And you just might see a photo from his cool train photo collection!

13 More Reasons Why You Should Already Be Scanning Your Photo Collection

by Art Taylor

In a previous post, Curtis discussed the 13 reasons why you should already be scanning your photo collection.

His list covers important reasons, but there are also other benefits and purposes.

1 If you find a batch of negatives, of any size, stashed away somewhere, it’s cheaper to scan them to see their contents than it is to get them printed by a lab.

Negative strips lit from behind
Photo source: Mooste
2 Kodak stopped making slide projectors several years ago and getting your slide projector repaired, if you still have one, is not going to be easy or cheap. Setting up the projector and screen, getting everyone seated, then darkening the room, was a pain in the behind.

Kodak Cavalcade Slide Projector Brochure
Photo source: bcostin

If you have your slides scanned, it’s easy to create one or more digital slide shows on DVD, then watch your images on a large-screen TV. Music, sound effects, and commentary can be added, along with maps and perhaps titles, during the production of the shows.

3 Uninteresting, distracting foregrounds or backgrounds can be cropped out and the exposure and contrast can be adjusted to concentrate the viewer’s attention on the main subject.
Group of guys in grass with bright light behind them (Cropped)
Figure 1: Original, faded print, showing trimmed white border (across bottom).
Group of guys in grass with bright light behind them (Cropped)
Figure 2: Cropped digital image, sky and part of grassy area removed, contrast and exposure adjusted.
4 Faded colors can be restored and unwanted color casts can be removed.

Faded photo of two guys boarding a train engine
Figure 3: Original faded print made from a slide.
Faded photo of two guys boarding a train engine
Figure 4: Colors restored and rounded, faded corner areas cloned to restore original details..
5 Small subjects with lots of extraneous, boring background can be enlarged. The exposure can be corrected.

Wide photo of lake and man holding up a fish
Figure 5: Good environmental shot, maybe, but fisherman’s ‘big catch’ is almost lost in the frame.
Tight photo of man holding up a fish
Figure 6: Fisherman and his catch much more visible.
6 Photos can be printed on fabric, then used on T-shirts, sweatshirts, or other clothing items.

7 Posters, coffee mugs, mouse pads, jigsaw puzzles, greeting cards, and more can all have digital images printed on them to make unique gifts.

8 A selection of images depicting an individual’s life can be displayed at their funeral or memorial service.
9 Printed images can be posted at family, alumnae, or other reunions or parties.
10 Digital images can be used by genealogists to create photo family trees, to easily share with relatives, to illustrate family histories or memoirs.
11 Digital images can be included in PowerPoint, Keynote or similar multimedia shows for any kind of presentation.
12 Both parties involved in a divorce can receive identical digital images.

Divorce for $199/$399 in window
Photo source: banjo d
13 Digital images can be restored and preserved more easily than original slides, prints, or negatives.

Quite possibly you can think of other uses to make of your photo collection, once you have it converted to digital format, whether you do the scanning yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Curtis and I have provided many reasons why you should be scanning your photos. Hopefully, one or more of these suggestions will spur you to get started scanning, if you’re not already.

Art Taylor
Ontario, Canada

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