Gary Pageau, a veteran marketing communications and publishing executive, is principal of InfoCircle LLC, a content-marketing company serving local and national clients. Prior to starting InfoCircle, he was Publisher, Content Development and Strategic Initiatives, of PMA – The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations. His primary responsibilities included overseeing the Association’s editorial department, marketing research unit, education and corporate relations department.
Despite working within the photographic market and rubbing elbows with some of the world's most elite photographers, photo industry titans, and jet setting around the country conducting interviews or hosting think-tanks with photography trend-setters, Gary's personal collection looked similar to the average Joe.
"I was like a cobbler whose kids had no shoes," exclaimed Gary. "Here I have been around the photographic industry for decades, and this vast trove of my family's personal printed photos are just sitting in boxes and bins all over my house fading into obscurity through neglect," he continued.
So, after being introduced to E-Z Photo Scan's Rent a Professional Photo Scanner option, Gary decided to participate in making 2017 - The Year to Digitize Your Family Photos!
Interest in archival photo scanning has increased a great deal over the past few years. There are so many options to consider! When evaluating which method - send-away, retail drop-off, boutique service or do-it-yourself - may be best for you, look at the entire scope of the project. For example, everyone knows they need to scan the family archives, but what does that mean, regarding the final project.
I rented a Kodak Picture Saver Scanner with a flatbed scanner - from E-Z Photo Scan, so I thought it would be useful to share my real-world experience, warts and all. My scanning project included 10,000 family photos, gathered in a wide array of boxes, albums, and loose prints. I had inherited a great deal of random photos from my parents, and I wanted to scan and to organize them for my brothers.
The online ordering process is easy, and soon the giant box with all the equipment arrived, including a computer with the software pre-installed. The set-up was remarkably easy; I didn’t have even to refer to the set-up instructions. I have many years of technical experience, however, so your mileage may vary. The important thing to remember is not only is there easy-to-follow documentation, but there is also a helpful hotline available for your use. All the cables are color-coded, which made setting the system up very easy.
If you are going to embark on an at-home scanning project, you need to keep some things in mind to keep you productive and to reduce frustration.
1) Have enough space to work. The scanners and the laptop take up a considerable amount of table space, plus you have to have room for your boxes of photos and photo albums. You also have to accommodate the prints after you scan them, whether you are putting them back in boxes or photo albums. Some people want to maintain the photo albums after scanning, so they return all the pictures to the same album pages. Depending on the type of collection, this can work fine, but in my case, I chose just to put them in order into labeled boxes.
2) Have a pre-scan plan. Scanning is only a small portion of the time needed for the project. Getting pictures organized (removed from albums, organized by date, etc.) consumes a large amount of prep time. Also, organizing the shoeboxes themselves, so it made for convenient workflow took a while. In fact, to make the best use of your time with the scanner, I’d recommend not even placing the scanner rental order until all of your pictures are organized and ready to be scanned. This is especially true if you opted for the three-day rental.
3) Pace yourself. Believe me, reaching up and putting several thousand pictures up into the scanner feed tray can tire out your arm!
Resist the temptation to load up the print feed tray, and walk away. While the Kodak Picture Saver Scanner does an admirable job, it can occasionally get jammed, especially if you have prints of various sizes and thicknesses. So, be mindful some prints may have a sticky residue, from a photo-album page and use the scanner cleaning sheets provided in the rental kit to help keep the scanning path clean. Finally, be sure to check prints aren’t stuck together from years of sitting in boxes before feeding them in to be scanned.
Organize the photos into logical batches, and then scan them to corresponding folders. Doing so helps you visually as you try to keep track of your progress, as well to ensure you are getting all photos scanned.
Scan both sides, always. You never know when a personal note on the back of print will provide you with valuable information. Even more important, in the 1960s and 70s, photofinishers would often print the date on the back of the print, which could be very useful to you when organizing your scanned images.
If you choose to use Kodak Perfect Touch correction software, keep in mind, after you press the button to select this option, it can take a long time for Perfect Touch to work its magic on hundreds of photos in a batch. Something to consider when estimating how much time you have for the project.
4) Have a post-scan plan. Do you know what you are doing with your photos, after scanning?
For example, it sounds like an excellent idea to upload all of your photos to the cloud, until you realize just how long uploading 10,000 scanned images over an in-house wireless connection will take. Have an accessory hard drive and flash drive to save the archive to from the rental computer; you can upload it later. Make multiple copies of the newly scanned photo archive, even before you begin organizing them. Keep one copy pristine, so if something goes awry in the organizing, you’ve got the original scans to fall back on.
5) Returning the rental scanner. Packing up the rental was harder than setting it up! I took notes of how the scanner, laptop, etc., all fit in the boxes, but the cables were a challenge to get them as tightly wrapped and together as the E-Z Photo Scan staff sent them.
Overall, my personal scanning project was an extremely positive one and now my family members are enjoying the chance to see and share all their family history in photos, using the many different types of tools available with digital images.
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