Thursday, February 08, 2007

Scanning Techniques You Will Want to Know {Part 1 of 2}

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Scanning Photos for Digital Scrapbooking
By Sue Kristoff, Creative Team Member

Part 1 of 2


Although we may generate many of our images digitally (via a digital camera), you may
want to use actual photographs in your digital scrapbooking. Photos can be converted to
a digital format using a scanner. This article will provide:
  • an overview of scanning basics,
  • introduce some helpful scanning techniques, and
  • provide some insight into scanning “difficult” print types.
  • Links to useful resources are provided for each topic.

Post-processing of photos will be covered in a later article, this article is all about the scanning process.

Getting to Know Your Scanner

Every scanner is different, and may have its own quirks. You should always spend some
time with your scanner manual, and get familiarized with your scanning software. It is
also important to be sure that you have the latest drivers for your scanner. These can be
found at the website for your particular scanner’s manufacturer. The manufacturer’s
website will also provide support information in case you are having any technical issues
with your scanner.

General Scanning Techniques

The quality of your scan can be affected by many things. Here is a brief checklist to
review when you’re scanning a photo, layout or other element.
  • Clean scanning plate – Be sure that the glass plate on your scanner bed is perfectly clean, because any bits of dust or fiber will show up in your scan. It is best to use a soft lint-free cloth designed for use with lenses, such as for cameras or eyeglasses.
  • Use even pressure on the scanner lid – The lid of the scanner is generally designed to have some flexibility so that flat or “lumpy” items can be scanned. Providing an even pressure assures that the entire item is pressed evenly against the glass.
  • Keep out excess light – It is important that the item to be scanned is only exposed to the internal light from the scanner. Any light leaking in from the lid can cause shadows. If you are scanning something that has some thickness and the scanner lid does not sit flush on the bed, drape a dark cloth (a sweater works well!) over the scanner lid.
  • Use a high enough resolution – 300 ppi is generally the minimum resolution used for digital scrapbooking. If you are scanning a historical photo for preservation, or if you only want to use a small portion of a photo, use a higher resolution, then resize for your scrapbooking needs.
  • Don’t be afraid to post-process – Your scan may or may not have the same color balance and brightness/contrast as the original item. Use the power of your image-processing software (PSE, PS, etc) to improve the look of your image.

Resources to Check Out:
1. HP Quick Scanning Tips
2. Scanning Basics
3. Scan Tips

Coming Tomorrow in Part 2
Non-Standard Print Types

Not all of our photographs are the standard clear prints from the photo lab. Other photo
formats can be more difficult to scan due to their thickness, surface texture or format.
The following sections will provide some tips for some non-standard print types.

Tomorrow we will discuss scanning:
  • Polaroids
  • Prints with Texture or Gloss
  • Historical Photos
  • and more Resources

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