Photos Can Make your History Come Alive
Adding photos to your life history is the best way to make your story come to life. In many ways this is easier said than done. This blog post will explain how you can transform your photos and slides into electronic files you can insert into your narrative.
Why use Photos?
Photos are the best way to tell your story; the expression “a picture is worth 1000 words” is especially true in your story. Gathering your photos is a great way to help you remember events and people from your past. There is no better way to help tell your story than with photographs. Photos are the key to making your story something that will appeal to all the generations to come.
How to Get your Photos and Slides Ready to Use
Wanting to use photos and slides is one thing, but you need to make them ready to use. Digitizing your photos by scanning them is the only way you can make them ready to use. I guess you could digitally photograph the prints but it is much easier to scan them.
Scanners are really inexpensive today. You can buy a good scanner that you can use to scan your photos and slides for less than $100. Ten years ago a scanner with the same capabilities would have cost over $1,000.
Resolution is an important aspect when scanning your photos. Usually resolution is defined as Dots per Inch (DPI). This is a measurement of how many dots or pixels (PPI) are in each inch of photo size. The more dots/pixels the larger you can blow-up or enlarge your photo without distortion. For example an image scanned at 72 DPI will not enlarge big enough to put into a book without being initially distorted. For an image scanned at 72 DPI will only be about the size of a postage stamp. Therefore you really can’t use the image in your printed history.
As a rule of thumb scan everything at 600 DPI! This is probably overkill but using this resolution will provide you with enough DPI for practically all your photos. Slides are a different story that we will get to in a moment! The 600 DPI setting on your scanner will handle everything but very small image sizes. Some old photos can be very small in physical size, these small prints need a higher resolution, in some cases increase your DPI setting to 1200 or even 2400. This will ensure enough dots/pixels to enlarge these smaller images for printing. When shopping for a scanner make sure it has the ability to scan at the higher resolutions.
Slides require a much higher resolution because of their small size. Remember slides are only about 1 inch X 1 inch. They are really a negative image that you view through a projector with a light source. Your scanner will need to have an adapter that is capable of scanning slides. Usually these adapters are included in your scanner box. As with small prints you will also need to scan your slides at a high resolution, 2400 or even 4800 DPI. These higher resolutions will ensure you have enough dots/pixels in your digital file to print in your book.
Another thing you need to understand is that the higher the resolution the longer the scanner takes to scan each image. As the scanner completes a scan it is collecting digital information for each image. The higher the resolution, the more information it is gathering. For example an image scanned at 72 DPI the files size is only 425 x 282. The file size for an image scanned at 600 DPI is 2640 x 3799. As you can see at the higher resolution the digital file contains much more digital data.
In the next Blog I will discuss saving your images as a TIF or JPG format.