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Scanning Your Pictures

Your best friend's birthday is coming up and you have a great idea. Instead of standing in the greeting card aisle pulling out card after card, you’re going to grab the old photo album, scan in that picture of her blowing out the candles on her 16th birthday and make your own card. Brilliant!
But now you have to face all those pull-down menus and unknown settings for your scanner. And if you think TIFF, JPEG and PNG sound like the stars of the latest children's show, you're not alone.
So we’re here to clear up all the scanning confusion.
How to scan: overview
1. Place item on clean scanner bed
2. Use Preview to highlight area to scan
3. Choose DPI setting
4. Choose image and color format
5. Scan and save
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collage of images
Share the Inspiration:
"Colorful artwork and photo prints can fade over time. Scanning is the best way to preserve and archive these kinds of images.
— Ann, Rochester, NY
What’s the plan for the scan?
How you scan depends a lot on how you are planning on using the results. Are you archiving family pictures, scanning your daughter’s watercolor, or just grabbing an image or two for a project? All require good image quality. But archiving is about balancing quality with efficiency, while scanning for a project is about maximizing creativity.
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collage of images
Archiving - Edit more. Work less.
If you’re putting together an archive, don’t just dump a shoebox full of family pictures onto the bed of the scanner. You’ll save loads of time by making hard decisions about what to convert to digital. Scanning one out of every five is a good general rule. Think of it as writing a memoir, not compiling a dictionary.
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Don’t scan the scanner
Before you place photos on the scanner bed, put a little glass cleaner on a cloth and wipe the glass to get rid of dust and smudges. Once you have your photo or other item on the scanning bed, use the Preview feature to highlight or crop only what you want to scan, not what you don’t. This saves both time and hard drive space.
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framed images on wall
Share the Inspiration:
"I wouldn’t have been able to create this wall collage without my scanner. It gave me the ability to resize my children’s art, snapshots and old family photos. For this wall collage I scanned them all at around 350 dpi, saved them out in TIFF format and enlarged them to fit in store-bought prematted frames. For an even more cohesive effect, I converted the color snapshots to black and white."
— Ann, Rochester, NY
DPI – Delightful Printing Instructions
It's actually Dots Per Inch, but that’s not important. Just know that higher is better, in image quality, but higher is also bigger, in file size.
If you're going to be e-mailing photos or posting them on the internet, 72 to 100 dpi is fine. For archiving and printing at smaller sizes, scanning at 150 to 300 dpi will give enough quality without devouring hard drive space on your computer. Scan at 300 to 600 dpi if you'll be displaying the image on a large screen or printing a larger size than the original.
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Image format
After scanning, you’ll want to save your photos at high quality in either the TIFF or JPEG format. For archiving and printing at smaller sizes, a JPEG is perfect. Use TIFF if file size is not a concern or if you’ll be enlarging the image for printing.
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Color management
More alphabet soup here. The choice is between RGB and CMYK. If your scanner gives you the option, use RGB (Red, Green, Blue) if you'll be displaying your image on a TV screen or monitor, CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) if you'll be printing it.
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framed images on wall
framed images on wall
Share the Inspiration:
"II scanned in my daughters watercolor. I played with the colors to make a new color version. I had both of them printed on canvas from Kodak Gallery."
— Amy, Iowa City, IA
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Organize as you go
After scanning and saving, tagging is a great feature that allows you to use your own words to describe and organize your images so you can quickly find them later. Tag pictures with the name of subject, the name of the event, the year—like Grandma, Christmas, 1994. Use whatever words you might search for again someday.
Photo filenames are a little different. It's best if they all follow the same logical structure – something like Date (YYYYMMDD)_Event (descriptive identifier)_Number (###).file format (jpg or tif).
Beginning the filename with a year-month-day structure allows your computer to quickly sort through them later. An example filename with this structure is 19941225_Christmas_062.jpg. It’s also a good idea to create a subfolder for each year. This might seem worthless at first, but you'll be thanking us in 2014.
It's a lot easier to spend a few minutes tagging, naming and organizing now than to sift through your entire collection trying to locate that special photo later.

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I scanned it! Now what?
You could close your eyes, sit quietly and think creative thoughts. Or you could just head on over to the Create section. Have fun.