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Scanning Old Photos ?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by christilou, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    One New Year's Resolution is to get all (or at least some!) of my old black & white photos scanned for posterity. My dad was an acrobat in the fifties having spent time as a PT instructor in the Marines. He met some guys in a gym in Australia and formed a threesome doing a comedy acrobat routine, dressed in suits and hats. They were on the Ed Sullivan show once and also the Royal Command Performance at the Palladium in '55 I think and I have quite a few old signed publicity photos from the likes of Lena Horne, Harry Secomb and others of that era. There are many, many photos of the guys tumbling on the beach and standing on the precipice of a cliff head to head or doing handstands and I really want to preserve them for posterity. My question is, what's the best way to do this, I have no idea!

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/49629331

    Top left, small writing "The Chadells". This was my dad's troupe. They also went under the name of Latona, Graham and Chadell. My parents lived in Australia for 5 years both in Adelaide and Perth.
     
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  2. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    They are already well-preserved for posterity by being on paper, Christina. If you have the negatives, so much the better.
    Scan them if you wish to share, but in a hundred year's time the prints will still be pretty solid whereas there's no guarantee a digital file will be readable.
    Or scan them and then reprint with the best archival inks and paper. But again, no guarantees of longevity as those methods haven't had long enough to see how they go (accelerated ageing tests are not necessarily good predictors)
     
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  3. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I like the idea of scanning and reprinting some of the better ones, it seems a shame to just lose them in a box. Perhaps I should get some framed.
     
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  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Unless you absolutely ADORE scanning things or need a scanner for other purposes, you might check with your local camera shop about professional scanning. Most have a very attractive bulk rate. a place near me has 2 different boxes. You can have a small box (which holds around 500 prints) scanned for $100. Another box that is 3 times the size is only $180. I helped my mom scan some old family photos and the results are quite mediocre and I spent more than week doing it. Don't forget the old adage about time being money.....it's true.
     
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  5. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I had exactly the same thoughts about the old family photographs which are in a dire state. But scanning those with a flatbed is just so slow, so I have decided to get a Digiframe scanner, which you can just feed the photos through one at a time, and they will be stored on an SD card. Then import all to the computer, quickly. It seemed to be the quickest option.

    http://www.digiframe.com.au/photo-scanners.html

    I don't know if they ship overseas but it doesnt matter, there are others which do the same job on the market. Seems like the easiest way to get it done and probably cheaper than having it done by someone else. *and* you'll have the scanner for posterity :)

    This is the one I'll be getting... it seems to be the most flexible.
    http://www.digiframe.com.au/a4-ezyscan-multi-purpose-rechargeable-scanner.html
     
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  6. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Christina,

    I have been scanning old family photos for the better part of three years now. I have scanned and restored upwards of 200 family photos, including my parents' wedding album. Yes, it's time consuming, particularly if you do any restoration, but the end result can be very rewarding if done right.

    As for the scanner, any reasonably priced flat bed will be sufficient for the job, as you really only need 300dpi resolution at best. I have used a Epson V500 and, more recently, a Canon 9000F Mark II. Both are more than adequate for the job, and neither cost more than $200.

    I´ll provide you with one example. This is a photo of my paternal grandmother taken in 1919 when she was 3 years old. She is now 97 and in remarkable shape for her age. This is a bit of an extreme example, in that it has about 6 hours of restoration work (not all in one sitting, mind you).

    Before restoration:

    IMG_20131105_0001.

    After restoration:

    IMG_20131105_0002v2_1.

    I made a print of the restored photo and my dad framed it. My grandmother was extremely pleased, and I was also able to share the photo with the rest of the family.

    Cheers,

    Antonio
     
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  7. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Yep, A flatbed scanner will do the job. Slowly. I am basically very lazy, and I have 7 old family albums of my parents' which need to be done. I won't have the patience to do them over a number of years. I want the scans in... fast... and to take my time over the repairs which will be considerable... and then have them printed professionally because my printer is 3rd rate.
     
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  8. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    However you do it, have fun. I scanned 90 years of family photos for my mother's 90th birthday, and I had a great time doing it. I put it into a video slide show with a music track of sentimental favorites of my mother, and it was a great hit at her party, after which I made copies for family members.

    But pdh is right, paper photos may well outlast the digital media. I was involved in a project where I processed 4x5 negatives and made archival prints for the national archive because they did not want just digital files of the things being documented.. Librarians and archivists all want a hard copy with known archival properties, since it turns out that CD's are not that long-lasting, and popular formats come and go. You don't need any machinery to see a print, and a properly processed one should easily last more than a century -- negatives even longer, at least latter-day negs that do not spontaneously ignite.
     
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  9. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    I was contemplating a book for family members. Many of the photographs have been water damaged and are (mostly) beyond repair. But I do need to go through them. Some are only relevant to me, but some will be relevant to my cousins and my last remaining aunt as well.
     
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  10. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    Antonio that's a beautiful photo and well worth the effort, don't know how you did that!
     
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  11. Alberto

    Alberto New to SC

    7
    Nov 17, 2013
    TINY old prints

    Yes, properly preserved prints will outlast us and our children. Nonetheless, I am scanning all I can scan. Not only for backup and for sharing with family members but also for viewing purposes.
    I have been trying to convince my mother in law to let me take her old pictures to a studio. She didn't see the point until I showed a few snaps of some very small prints (about 3X4 inches) she has framed on a wall. The first one is of her husband before she even met him, when he was serving in the Pacific during WWII. The second is of herself and her siblings (Germany, 1937). Both are shot through glass with XZ-1, macro, handheld, cropped and processed in Aperture 3.

    They are so small, especially the first one, that you can barely see the faces, even with a magnifying glass.

    She was blown away, she cried, she gave me all her old pictures.
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Just popping in to agree - Antonio, beautiful image and great work. Your grandmother must have enjoyed seeing little self!

    Interesting thread - I guess I'll add in that archival boxes or albums are important. That said, I'm still enjoying photo albums (the old black paper ones with those little corner holders) from my father's trip to Europe and Russia from sometime in the 1920s.

    P.S. Alberto, I'd missed your post - great pictures! I bow to you all who are doing this work of love and remembrance.
     
  13. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Agreed with Antonio about Epson V series flat bed scanners. Slightly difficult to use, but gets good results. You can also use it to scan negatives.

    I've been scanning old family photos from our time in Brazil. While the scanning process is time consuming, the journey through memory lane has been quite special!
     
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  14. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Here's one I'll share. This is one that my mother particularly loved (and I do, too). It's a photo of her grandfather's saloon. It was in kinda rough shape. It was beyond my editing skill levels. I submitted it to a group on flickr for people who enjoy photo restoration. When I saw what they were able to accomplish, I set out to learn some of the skills myself.
    Here's the original.....
    4272475517_b5c016ebb8_b.
    Joe Troy's Saloon by opt out of new experience, on Flickr

    here's a nice straight clean-up job someone else did for me
    4279944790_14216de097_z.
    Old photo restoration by limajulija, on Flickr

    and someone else was working on learning to colorize old photos. I think it works fairly well.....
    4331336503_dfc87a59be_z.
    Untitled by timms139, on Flickr

    Then after watching some tutorial videos and learning a bit of Photoshop, a group I was in had started running weekly Photoshop contests (each week, someone would submit a photo and the photo had to be manipulated in some way....that week, someone submitted a photo of some elephant figurines).....this was my submission......
    5006848178_0e2e2e82d0_b.
    the day the circus came to town (and the animals got loose) by opt out of new experience, on Flickr
     
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  15. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    :biggrin: Great picture(s) Luke! I'm surprised you didn't put yourself in one lying "flat".
     
  16. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    well that would just be ridiculous. I wasn't even born yet. :wink:
     
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  17. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    But you could have dressed the part like you did for your replica photo project!
     
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  18. Dewi Sant

    Dewi Sant SC Veteran

    364
    Dec 20, 2013
    Lancashire, England
    Guess?
    As already mentioned by Sue as regards photo books, I'm planning on doing one of family shots that have recently turned up. Mum died in 2008 and before she went she gave me a box full of stuff which I brought home with the intention of going through one day. It sat in a corner of my office for a few years until I finally got it out last year and had look through. It's full of mostly photographs - many from before I was born. There's an album of photos of my Dad during his time in East Africa with REME Corps, he spent almost 6 years out in Kenya during WW2, their wedding album is also there. I've had to remove the photos from the albums in order to scan them but they're now all done, so I'll pop them all back in when I get time. Meanwhile I'm going to compile the shots and make one of those diy photo books online. I did a wedding album for my niece a while back and was very impressed with it so I'll use the same company.

    The photos themselves were scanned using my Epson photo printer which has a decent scanner built in.

    Some of the photos were in a bit of a state but I've managed to repair them in Photoshop, I actually enjoyed doing it. Here are a couple of finished examples:



     
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