View Full Version : Advice please on copying old photos

15-04-09, 13:29
Rather fortuitously, I inherited a number of old family photos/documents through both my parents. A 2nd Cousin of mine who I got friendly with again through my research has proved really helpful in naming people in the photos but was not as fortunate from his family and has asked nicely if he can have copies of the photos of his parents (my great Aunt/Uncle) and his Grandparents (my GGM & GGF) etc.
I want to keep my copies if possible because I want my 'research' to remain intact and become a family archive but I really want to help him.
What is the safest/best way of taking copies without damaging the originals?
Having seen the marvelous work people do with old photos on here, I thought this was a good place to ask.
I have not used photo software before so please avoid technical jargon if possible.

Rachel Scand
15-04-09, 13:45
(1) Guard any originals with your life and never let anyone borrow them.

(2) Keep them away from the light ... I keep mine in acid free photo envelopes (the sort that are made of paper) in cardboard boxes and I now keep the cardboard boxes in those plastic, storage boxes with lids.

Any I want to display or show people are copies I've made.

So, first question ~ do you have a scanner ? or is there a person you trust who could scan them for you ?

15-04-09, 13:57
Hi Rachel
Yes I have all the hardware. Scanner, PC, external harddrive etc.

Rachel Scand
15-04-09, 14:35
:) Hi Allan

If you cousin has a computer, then the easiest way is to scan your photos and e-mail them as jpg files

Make sure you scan them at 100% scale at least and at a resolution of 300 +
But if you're going to e-mail them, do keep an eye on the file size. You won't want to send something HUGE.

Some of mine where I increased the scale to 300 or 400 % are fine for personal use but far too large to e-mail.

Here are some scanning instructions OH did for someone


Anne in Carlisle
15-04-09, 14:40
If there are a lot of photos you could scan them and put them onto a CD or DVD. That way your cousin could have the very best resolution for the photos. You might even find the scannned and "improved" ones are better than the originals - and you can store them with your tree as well.


15-04-09, 14:43
Keep in mind that the scanner's unsharp mask feature will also sharpen specks, dust, scratches, etc., which may make them more obvious on the scan than on the original. Likewise, the noise reduction feature may also "reduce" noise/texture that you wish to keep.

I find it is usually best to turn off such features in the scanner settings, and apply them later with photo editing software if necessary.

15-04-09, 14:48
Thanks everyone.
Is there also a way to produce 'paper' copies?

Anne in Carlisle
15-04-09, 15:00
You can get various types of photo quality paper but it tends to be very expensive and you would probably need to experiment with it a bit - adding even more to the cost. If you wanted some good photos for display its would be worth getting the best quality paper and also sticking to the type your printer prefers.

Alternatively you can oder prints from photo websites like Photobox. You upload your scanned photos onto the site and they send you the prints by post - very quickly in my experience.


15-04-09, 15:18
I've ordered prints of scanned photos through a professional photo printing company here in Holland and the quality (especially contrast/smoothness) is much better than those printed on my photo printer (even though it prints very good photos as well).
Here there are also lots of high street shops that do (digital) photo printing - from CD, memory cards, or from files sent digitally to the shop's photo processing website. I'm sure there are plenty of such shops in the UK as well, but I wouldn't know which to recommend over there.

Rachel Scand
15-04-09, 16:04
I've tried all manner of photo paper and find the Tesco general use picture paper (matte coated inkjet paper) works well for me.

It's lightweight and inexpensive :) (less than £ 5 for 100 sheets of A4) and if the pic is one I'm going to frame, then there's no point in buying a heavier paper ~ also some of the heavier, gloss ones tend to produce a slightly purple hue on black & white prints, which I don't want.

My scanner is a 3 in one ~ Epson Stylus Photo RX 500

15-04-09, 16:17
I also have a 3-in-1. Mine's a Canon Pixma MP800. I've used Canon, Epson and Kodak paper with it, which all produce good results.
I always use genuine Canon ink cartridges rather than compatibles, as colours are great and the Canon Chromalife ink is supposed to have 100-year album life and 30-year lightfastness, not that they can prove that! :D