Hi-speed or feeder scanners are great for scanning photos fast. They work well to digitize modern photos in good condition in an efficient manner. But, when it comes to fragile, damaged, historical, sticky, compromised and oversized photos, the flatbed scanner is a fabulous tool.
Here are SIX SCANTASTIC tips for capturing awesome flatbed scans.
Scan individual images/items as separate files in TIFF format where possible
Beware of the methods you use to create separate files for each photo when you scan more than one photo on a flatbed. Don’t get caught compromising the size of your file either by the format, the scanner settings or the post-processing software.
Scan 3D artifacts like jewelry and watches (and even toothbrushes and shoes)
Place jewelry, watches and other small 3D artifacts directly on your flatbed glass. Before scanning, drape a piece of silky, fluid fabric over the items rather than shutting the lid of your scanner. Select and scan objects as normal. The resulting scan can be edited with software to completely remove or change the color of the background fabric. In the samples below, the black background remains intact.
Scan thin and double-sided memorabilia with a black backer sheet to reduce ghosting
To reduce bleed-through on double-sided or newsprint memorabilia, place a sheet of non-glossy black paper the size of the flatbed glass on top of the item before closing the scanner lid. Goodbye, ghosting!
Create a SCANTASTIC FRAME, custom-made for viewable window
Flatbed scanners often have hidden spots on the glass that aren’t visible when an item sits directly next to the glass edge. Each scanner’s actual viewing area varies. Create a custom SCANTASTIC VIEW FRAME by following these steps:
Weigh down photos on the scanning glass to reduce movement and fly-off
Use SCANTASTIC WEIGHTS to keep curling photos flat. Scantastic weights also reduce movement and help to more accurately line-up photos on the scanner glass. Plus, the weights keep photos from flying off the scanner unintentionally when the lid is lifted. Purchase an inexpensive set of scan weights at a local hardware store. Try ¼” (height) Zinc-Plated Steel Flat Washers. Shown here are two diameters (1-3/4” and 2”). Look for the heaviest material that offers a minimal height.
Scan pages AND individual items when creating “Digital Replica Albums”
Scan a full page in addition to individual item scans when an old album is being taken apart and recreated as a digital replica. Scanning the full page provides information such as photo order on the page, page order in the album, journaling, titles, embellishments or other added items present in the original album. Even if the full page scan isn’t provided for the client, the full page scan is useful as a reference to the original curation of a photo album.
NOTE: The term “Digital Replica Album” is defined by the author of this blog post as a digital remake of a photo album containing physical photos, journaling, captions and other memorabilia in which a client requests that all photos and information in the original album be re-created digitally and printed as a replica.
BONUS SCANTASTIC TIP
Keep scanner washed and wiped for best results!
Clean dust from the scanner’s exterior. Clean the scan glass often during scan sessions. Don’t forget to wipe down the white lid on the scanner. Keep the scanner covered when not in use to prevent dust build-up. For specific cleaning product information, refer first to the scanner manufacturer’s advice or scanner manual. Use soft, lint-free cloths for wiping. For additional instructions refer here.
For further reading about flatbed scanning and additional scan tips visit these sites:
Sherrie Jenkins of Preservation Pix is dedicated to bringing total peace of mind to clients and believes every photo collection is filled with stories and pictures worth preserving. Sherrie is APPO certified and has been featured as a speaker and trainer at APPO National Conferences.