Digitizing Photo Albums and Scrapbooks

Digitizing Photo Albums and Scrapbooks

In July, I wrote a blog about how to organize your printed loose photos.  This post is a continuation of that blog.  

I’ve worked with four types of albums over the years:

Sticky Album
  1. Sticky page albums.  Often, the stickiness has dried up, and the pictures no longer adhere to the page. These albums are not photo-safe and the pictures should be removed.  The albums should be thrown out and the pictures handled like loose pictures.

2. Small albums with sleeves for two pictures back-to-back.  I recommend taking the pictures out of these albums, and giving the albums away.  I handle these pictures like loose photos.

3. Really old photo albums usually with black paper pages in which the photos are either glued directly to the page or corners are used.  These could be scanned using the approach discussed in this blog.  Alternatively, the pictures could be removed and treated as loose photos.

4. Photo albums and scrap books which are acid-free and, therefore, photo-safe.  This blog will concentrate on these types of albums.

Over the years, my husband and I took nice vacations all over the world.  When we returned home, the film would be developed and I created a photo album for each trip.  I attached ticket stubs, brochures, even post cards to relive the vacation.

I currently have over 50 vacation albums.  I had put a lot of time and thought into my albums.  Living in Houston, the possibility of flooding is always present. I would be devastated if I lost my albums!    

Several options of how to preserve the albums came to mind.  One was taking the pictures out of the albums and scanning them.  But I didn’t want to lose all the decorations and captions I added to my albums.  And besides, I just love my albums as they are.  They bring back the sweet memories of the trips.

So, I decided to scan them one page at a time.  To do this, I scanned entire pages on the flat-bed scanner.  I did not peel the clear film.  If the page was too big for the scanner, I took several scans, making sure to overlap, then stitched the photos together with a utility called Panorama Stitcher (http://www.boltnev.com/panoramastitcher/), which is free for stitching 2 or 3 images.

Scanning albums

This resulted in beautiful pages which I could view on my computer as a slide show!

What I learned:

This is a time-consuming endeavor.  As a Photo Organizer, I can see the pluses and minuses of doing this on your own or hiring someone to help.

For the DIYers, I would suggest in investing in some software utilities and some hardware, such as scanners. Once you’ve made the investment, actually working on your photos will cost you only your time.  You can certainly use an all-in-one printer/scanner, but the quality of the pictures will be compromised.

Left:  Scanned on flatbed scanner at 600 dpi (notice, you can clearly read the labels on the map); Right: scanned on all-in-one printer/scanner

For the folks who would like to have someone else take care of their photos, I would suggest working with a Photo Organizer to scan your albums and scrap books.

If you have any questions, would like some guidance or would like to have your albums scanned, please contact me at www.PreciousMemsPhoto.com/Contact.

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