By Don Lindich
Week 30, 2015
Q. I have 30 years’ worth of pictures, taken of my family and places we visited. I used a 35mm camera and have both the printed pictures in albums and the original negatives.
Do you know of a source I could go to so that I can learn how to convert the images from print to a digital format, for storage on a computer and/or DVD?
-Jean Harwood, Contra Costa, CA
A. This is really quite easy to do. I can walk you through it here.
The first thing you need is a scanner. I recommend the Epson Perfection V550, which currently sells for $169. I’ve been using one myself lately and absolutely love it. It costs a bit more than an all-in-one unit, but the advantages are well worth it, especially for a job like yours which will involve hundreds or even thousands of photographs.
The Epson Perfection V550 scan quality is outstanding, with vivid color, incredible sharpness, and a lack of inaccurate color casts. My scans and the prints I made from them look like the original photographs, which is exactly what you want from a scanner. It can also scan negatives and slides with its illuminated back, and automatically fix defects in the pictures with the Easy Photo Fix and DIGITAL ICE software. It can also upload automatically to the Internet.
Though the technical quality is outstanding, what makes the Epson Perfection V550 so great for this kind of duty is its ability to scan multiple photographs at the same time. Just arrange the photographs on the glass, close the cover and hit the scan button. It will scan everything and automatically create a separate jpg image for each individual photograph. It is easy to do the math and realize what a big deal this is. Assuming you are using standard 3.5×5 or 4×6 print sizes, scanning 3 or 4 photographs at a time compared to scanning each one individually will cut your time scanning to one-third or one-fourth what it would have been, or considered from a productivity standpoint, you can scan 300 to 400 photographs in the time it would normally take to scan a mere 100 photographs. See it at: http://tinyurl.com/
Once you have the scanner, install all the software from the included disc, connect the scanner with the USB cable and plug it in. Launch the Epson Scan software, then select a destination folder for your scans. I recommend you create folders by date or subject name on the desktop, scan groups of images and direct them to the folder. If your pictures are organized in albums it should be easy to keep them organized digitally as well. Lay the pictures on the glass and click the automatic scan button. The Perfection V550 will scan all the photographs, create separate images and put them in the folder.
I recommend you store your photographs on both a flash drive and an external hard drive. DVDs are not considered an archival medium and your precious pictures will be safer this way. Just insert the flash drive into a USB port, find it using Start>Computer and click on it to open it up. If you have a Mac the flash drive will appear on your desktop. Drag the folders on to the flash drive icon and they will be copied there.. The same procedures apply for the external hard drive. Keep both in a safe place, and your pictures should remain safe as well. You may also want to store them online in a place like Google Drive, just in case something happens to your hard drive or flash drives. Remember, there are two kinds of people: those who back up their data, and those that wish they had!