When you start scanning your photographs — if you’re lucky — you get to make this choice:
Do you want to scan your original camera negatives, or the prints made from them?
And what I mean by lucky is that many of us didn’t hold onto our negatives when we had prints made from them. We got what we wanted when took them to the Photo Bug or the Photo Hut or the drug store down the street — a stack of photos to stick in our photo albums. So, I guess a lot of us probably felt safe tossing out the film negatives.
I think we are almost to the point where I can safely say there is no such thing as a bad photograph.
Aside from the photos that are accidentally shot off or the ones where the camera is completely set wrong (for example in the more complicated manual modes), every photo — even the “bad” ones — will one day be a few clicks away from being usable.
Photo Magic is Already Here or Just Around the Corner!
In October of 2011, Jue Wang, senior research scientist at Adobe, showed off a jaw-dropping “sneak peak” of some technology that will make all of you who threw out all of your so called “bad photos” wish you had that day back to do over again!
Guest post by:
Today, I would like to share something a little different here on “Scan Your Entire Life.” Usually it’s just me going on and on about my experience dealing with my photo collection. But not this time.
A couple months ago, Peter Fuller, a fellow reader of this website wrote and shared with me his experience getting started on the project of scanning his entire photo collection.
We wrote back and forth several times discussing the details of his workflow. He had questions for me and I had some questions for him. I became immediately intrigued hearing his story shopping for a particular model of scanner he wished to purchase where he lives.
At some point, I received an email from Peter asking me this:
If I sent you a piece about my experiences/ learning’s scanning photos, would you be prepared to publish it?
I had never thought about having guest posts on my site so soon — but how could I refuse!
Ah, there’s nothing quite like reading a great caption to go along with a special photograph. Sometimes they’re so effective, they just seal the emotional experience of being there—as if you were right there when that photograph was taken—even if you weren’t!
I think it’s so important that you record these “priceless” descriptions as soon as you can. Some of us might think we can remember all of the details. But face it, you probably won’t be able to. They’re fleeting. And even if you could, you and your memory aren’t going to be on this earth forever.
With prints, it was easy to record this information by writing the stories by hand on the back. But, now that we are wishing to move our prints, slides and negatives to a digital form in our computer, how do we easily add this information so that it can live with each master image file?
Q&A – “From your site and the other information I’ve found on the net, I think we should scan our photo collections in TIFF, at 600 dpi, using your naming convention / workflow. You don’t cover TIFF versus other formats in your articles, but I see you are using that format and there seems to be general acceptance that it is the best format for archiving. What do you think of the PNG format?”
Peter, that is a great question. And you’re right, up until now I have not covered what I feel is the best file format(s) to save scanned photos with. But, as you astutely noticed, I did sort of allude to my personal choice in a couple of my posts. Especially in some of my images I used in my 3-part “naming convention” series you brought up called “What Everyone Ought to Know When Naming Your Scanned Photos.”
I could really use your help.
Getting all of your photos into your computer seems like it should be such an easy thing to accomplish these days. You hook up a flatbed scanner and then push the scan button a few times. Or you connect your digital camera via USB cable and then magically, your digital photo collection is complete! Don’t we all wish it was that easy!
In fact, even those of us who make it a little bit easier on ourselves by hiring a scanning service for our prints and slides still have a lot of work to do before and afterwards. You see, getting your photos into a digital form is only part of the entire process.