It’s time to get in your attic and free your old photos from gathering dust, getting damp and who knows what else! These treasured pictures
can never be replaced if they’re lost or destroyed. Old photos are a key to your family’s memories, history and heritage but they’re difficult to preserve.
By having them digitised, scanned and restored you are ensuring that they will last, not only for your enjoyment but for generations to come.
If you would prefer not to trust having your precious old photos to the local post service, then why not try scanning your own and sending them to us?
There are a few things you will need to scan your photos to a good enough quality for restoration.
1. Flatbed scanner.
2. A clean microfibre cloth, like the kind that comes with glasses.
3. The software that came with your scanner.
Do you have a scanner? Multifunction printers typically have one on the top. If you’re not highly familiar with all the electronics in your home, you may already have one without realising it.
Prepare Your Old Photograph for Scanning
Wash your hands or wear clean cotton gloves while handling your photographs to avoid leaving any skin oils or grease on the pictures. Carefully remove pictures from their frames or albums and gently remove any dust or dirt with a microfibre cloth.
Prepare the Scanner
Even if your scanner is new, take time to check for any dust, hairs, fingerprints or smudges on the glass. If necessary, you can clean the glass with camera lens or reading glasses cleaning solution and a microfibre cloth. Remember to allow the glass to completely dry before putting your photographs on it.
Set up your scanner
Your scanner and scanning software will allow you to choose a variety of settings.
They may look a little different to the one pictured, but each option will be available somewhere. It’s important to try and get these right so your photos can be restored and reprinted in the future:
1. Make sure it’s set to scan a photograph and not a document
2. Set to scan in colour, even if the original photograph is black and white. If you are able, scan your photo in 24bit RGB, but if your photograph is very faded set it to 48bit RGB colour to be sure
3. Turn off all auto-correct options or automatic filters including sharpening, colour correction, scratch or dust removal. Although these seem like cool ways to make your scanned image look good, they’re unhelpful when it comes to preserving and restoring your old photographs
4. If you are able, set to save the scan as a TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) file to avoid any image compression, if you are only able to save as JPEG, save it in the highest quality your scanner will allow.
5. Set to scan at a resolution of at least 600 DPI
Resolution Settings for Scanning Old Photographs
Scanning at a resolution of at least 600 DPI is important to include enough detail to restore and reprint your old photographs. If you want to enlarge the photograph, you will need to scan at an even higher DPI setting.
Take a Preview Scan
Lay the old photograph flat onto the scanner and as straight as possible. If there’s a lot of white in the image – say, for example, it has a snowy setting – put a piece of black card behind the photo. This will help the scanner pick up all the detail.
Most scanners allow you to do a preview scan. Click ‘preview’ or ‘pre-scan’ and the scanner will take a quick picture of the photograph. Check this on your computer screen to see that the image is straight and that no part of the photograph has been missed off. Crop the preview scan and remove any wasted background space. If your image is straight, this should be easy to do. Crop it as close to the edges as possible without cutting off any of the main image.
Take a Full Scan
You’re now ready to take the full scan of your old photograph. Double-check your scanner settings are as described above and hit ‘scan’. It may take a few minutes to complete.
Name and Save Your Photo Files
Be sure to rename the image file with something that describes the photograph and if there are duplicates of the people in the photo, add a 1, 2, 3 etc. to the end of the file name.
No time for scanning? Don’t worry – contact us and we’ll do it for you. We can provide a quote for photo restoration from just a simple snapshot taken with your smartphone. You can then send the original old photograph to us and we’ll scan it at the correct resolution for restoration.