Author Topic: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?  (Read 904 times)

fruitcake

  • some kind of fruitcake
    • Bailey
Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« on: March 14, 2018, 09:48:58 pm »
So the family photo albums are getting dusty up there on the shelf. Only reason I haven't digitised them, and then binned the rectangles of shiny paper, is I've been dreading it. There's a whole shelf full of them. I know, I know. I don't need to keep them all. But even the thought of loading even a quarter of these prints into the flatbed scanner, waiting for the scanner to do its scanning, and then file-naming each of them it is enough to make me want to leave them all there on the shelf gathering dust instead. It strikes me there must be a quicker way of digitising these prints. It's the waiting for the scanner that's the onerous part. So I'm thinking I could molish some means of photographing each print instead, and just work through the pile in one evening.

For that I'm looking for a kitchen table studio set up. My initial plan is to place the print on a drawing board, with the DSLR on a tripod looking down on it, perhaps tethering the camera to a laptop if that's possible with the Canon 1100D. Need to check if extra software is needed to handle the tethering and the file management. I will use continuous lighting from table lamps with colour matched lightbulbs, rather than flash, in the first instance.

Have any YACFers digitised their print albums by photographing them? Care to share your choice of software or your workflow?

Much obliged.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 11:32:51 pm »
I'm not sure I'd bother, to be honest!

I think I'd splash out on getting a commercial service to do the job.

They've got the spendy kit and experience.

I got this http://www.pixave.co.uk/photo-scanning-service/tags/Convert-Old-Photos-To-Digital-Service from a quick Google.

Looks like you'd get over 5,000 pics digitised for £500 but could easily spend this on kit and occupy time you could spend otherwise.

ETA Over ten years ago, I had the dubious pleasure of presenting a slide show to a large family gathering to celebrate my parents' Golden Wedding. 50 years of assorted photographs needed to be scanned and digitised. Even a small selection was a LOT of work!

Having the deadline of the event meant I did the job but I don't think I touched as much as 10% of the material. I really would get someone else to do this. They won't procrastinate the way you and I might!

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 12:33:29 am »
I've done both methods, easiest and best was tripod and DSLR approach. I did a page at a time if the pages were removable and then cropped the individual photos later in Photoshop.

Lighting is crucial, if you haven't got nice diffused lighting it won't work well. If the album pages are not detachable then it takes longer to remove each print from the photo corners. If the pages nor the photos are removable then you you have a problem, in my case I just left those albums and 10 years later they are still waiting.

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 08:01:01 am »
Our pool table is currently covered (where current = for the past 2 months and counting) with Mrs T42's family photos going back to the early 1900s. The colour ones are turning orange, "but you can fix that in Photoshop". Oh, joy.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

windy

  • Sitting on a bog in the North Atlantic
    • My Instagram
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 10:13:03 am »
I've done some using a flatbed scanner - then lost interest. Still pick them up to do occasionally so in years to come I may complete the job.

Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 10:20:22 am »
I found dlsr on a scanner much easier than a scanner, with 2 flashguns bouncing off the walls either side and a cable release it was pretty quick. 

Ben T

  • Viable.
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 04:16:30 pm »
Why do it yourself?.. You can send them off you know!
Talk to a few companies, we found one that basically accepted them in year/decade/epoch-labelled boxes, and came back in a zip file corresponding to that time period.
They have to be loose, you have to take them out of the albums but then you just box them up and send them off. You get a nice memory stick through the post.
Depending on a lot of factors, obviously, but the end result could be cheaper (assuming you use the time it takes profitably) and better than doing it yourself.
(It's one of those things like servicing your own car, doing your own plumbing, building your own bike wheels - yes, you can do it yourself, but it will be better if done by a professional, and thinking you're saving money is a false economy because you might as well spend the time doing what you are actually professional at yourself instead.)

We found we actually looked at them when they came back digital, in a way that we wouldn't have bothered rummaging through the old albums in the loft.
No matter how far down the wrong road you are, always turn back.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 04:36:02 pm »
It's one of those things like servicing your own car, doing your own plumbing, building your own bike wheels - yes, you can do it yourself, but it will be better if done by a professional, and thinking you're saving money is a false economy because you might as well spend the time doing what you are actually professional at yourself instead.

The corollary to that is that, assuming you're competent and suitably equipped, you're likely to take more time and care about it than many professionals would.

Pragmatically, if the pros do a decent job on 95% of the images, then you can bung the tricky ones through the flatbed scanner yourself to get a better result and it hasn't sucked up hours of your life.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

rr

Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 04:58:24 pm »
Google photo scan on a phone for a few pictures.

Sent from my XT1562 using Tapatalk


hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 06:20:55 pm »
Why do it yourself?.. You can send them off you know!
<stuff>
We found we actually looked at them when they came back digital, in a way that we wouldn't have bothered rummaging through the old albums in the loft.

Good to see I'm not alone with this view!

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 07:15:44 pm »
I've done some using a flatbed scanner - then lost interest. Still pick them up to do occasionally so in years to come I may complete the job.

Pretty much my experience. Those I have scanned were to put images up here, or create a birthday presentation, or similar.

I also invested in a Nikon slide scanner and started digitising my negatives.

Both involve tearing open a large packet of tedious and mixing it in a bucket until it is very gloopy. And Dull. Monstrously Dull; something to be done when you have mountains to look at.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2018, 08:48:46 pm »
I'm in the same boat - would cost thousands to have them all scanned by someone else.

My plan is to set up a fixture with wooden guides forming a corner in which to place the photo, then digitally photograph with diffuse flash. Camera on heavy tripod so it can be aligned to just crop out the guides. Cable (Or electronic - phone/wifi) release.

No filing as I go - just photo a blank image between each film, then sort electronically later.



EDIT:
Then there is this:
https://www.google.com/photos/scan/

I'm going to try it...

Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2018, 09:23:42 pm »
I ‘scan’ film with my dslr on an old enlarger with a copy stand Adaptor and an led light table. Works very well and much faster than a dedicated scanner. You still don’t get away from the dust bunnies though, but at least it’s in a different place on each negative/slide;)

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2018, 10:23:16 pm »
I used the same process that I used for my slides.

I ordered some 35mm slide mounts (empty slides that clip together around a 35mm negative) like these - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reflecta-Slide-Mounts-100-Pieces/dp/B000KZ5WTO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521497841&sr=8-1&keywords=slide+mounts+35mm

I chopped my negatives into individual negs and mounted them in the mounts.

Then I loaded them into a carousel, projected them, photographed them and inverted them into positives in Photoshop.

Because you can project them very large you can get extremely detailed results (I should really do them again now I have a nice white wall and a better camera)

This is a 35mm black & white I took at college on a Pentax ME Super, using (probably) Ilford FP4.  The year was 1980ish so it's a 38 year old image and the digital (post-processed) image looks better then the original print.

The digital images were taken on a 2Mp Fuji (basically a piece of crap by today's standards) but they still hold up I think.  I used spot-removal in Photoshop to remove the worst of the dust.



Same era, maybe a year earlier. Same process.  Once again, it's great to use Camera RAW (Lightroom) and Photoshop on these old favourites.

Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 02:32:48 pm »
I'm currently working my way through 62 rolls of b&w negatives, from 1971-73, digitising and outputting positives.   Soul destroying job and wonder why I ever started.  At least I'm getting to see them again.

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2018, 11:36:05 pm »
I'm now using an iphone 6s with an app called PicScanner Gold to scan from prints. I've got through 333 pictures in about two hours work so far (not including set up)

Here *is* the setup




And one of the results (Me, circa 1980 :-) ) Note, that was shot on 110 cartridge film - not bad considering. I'll be getting onto prints from 35mm in a few days.


LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2018, 01:14:48 pm »
And one of the results (Me, circa 1980 :-) ) Note, that was shot on 110 cartridge film - not bad considering. I'll be getting onto prints from 35mm in a few days.



Looks surprisingly good all things considered*

*Considering that most 110 photos weren't that good in the first place.

I tend to convert to monochrome/greyscale because it's almost impossible to correct the white balance on old prints since so many hues are lost over time.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Anyone digitised their family photo albums?
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2018, 06:03:30 pm »
That is one of the best of the 110 films - I've got some appalling ones. They're all getting scanned though - this is personal and family history. Quality is less of an issue than having the memories accessible. Window light (daylight) gives better results than the uplighters shown above.

Process is reasonably quick - 100 photos takes about 1/2 hour.

Each envelope gets a number label on, and is scanned before the photos - that way I can always go back, and do a negative scan if one is particularly important (where I have the negs)