I spent the better part of the past two days trying to unwind with a few mindless activities – not because I needed to, but because I wanted to. For Nanny’s funeral, our family had gathered up a few favorite photographs and put them on display. Naturally, all of them were printed photos. I lamented that they had not yet been digitized, and that several of them were in weathered condition (read: quite old). Knowing how precious these recorded memories are to everybody in the Lamberti clan, I approached aunts and uncles cautiously – aiming to scan and perform basic touch-ups on the old, worn out photographs. Luckily, my relatives consented to the digital transformation that was to come. I knew it would be a time-consuming task, as there were hundreds of Kodak, Canon, and Polaroid prints waiting to be welcomed into the 21st century. I’ve scanned photos in the past, but never in bulk. Still, it needed to be done sooner rather than later – although I’d leave the heavy clean-up tasks to another (more experienced) individual.

I used the Epson Perfection 4990 Photo Scanner, although I didn’t really think Digital ICE was worth using on these dated prints. Its speed was fast enough for a USB 2.0 device, but adding the automatic correction options seemed to do more harm than good with the photographs. I wound up scanning full pages of photos, given that they were still glued to pages of a scrapbook (and I was trying to minimize the mess). When everything had been “imported,” I opened up each image in Paint Shop Pro, did some cropping, contrast tweaking, and general tasks to enhance each image. Now, I’m staring at a folder full of 400 semi-organized digital photos. I’ll be putting ’em on CD / DVD for our family to view in the comfort of their own home, but I’m thinking that re-printing the old photographs will be a much more welcomed (and surprising) action. By accepting this activity, I peeked into a window to the past – seeing my close relatives for who they once were (in locations that are all-too-familiar to me). If you haven’t digitized your family’s old photographs, what are you waiting for? Even if you don’t do any touch-ups (dust removal, scratch repair, etc.), at least you have the option to more easily do it at some point in the future. There’s no better time like the present!

[tags]epson,canon,kodak,photographs,old photos,scratch repair,dust removal,photo scanner,perfection 4990,polaroid,photo restoration[/tags]