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10 Tips for Scanning Old Photos

Scan Away
Don't  be shy -- get your scan on!
Don't be shy -- get your scan on!

Now that you've got your scanner set and your photos ready, the next logical step is to do the actual scanning. Before you start, clean off the platen -- the glass scanning bed where you'll put the photos -- by wiping it down with a little bit of glass cleaner sprayed on a cloth. Clean the platen again from time to time as you're scanning those old, dusty photos (we'll talk more about why scanner upkeep is so important in a later tip).

Place the image face down on the glass. As we mentioned, you can hit the "prescan" or "preview" button to check that your photo is clean and positioned correctly before you scan it for real. After you've scanned a photo, save it as a TIFF or JPEG file. A TIFF is higher quality image, but a JPEG will make it easier to e-mail the photos. When you save, don't compress the photo too much. You'll sacrifice image quality for file size, and it will look like mush.

One cool function of scanners these days is that you can scan directly to your e-mail account (or anyone else's, for that matter). Avoiding the hassle of finding your image in some random folder, this allows you to simply type in an email address and receive an e-mail with the attached image. Another tip for scanning old photos is just a click away.