Tips on how to restore and preserve old photos

A picture is worth a thousand words. Don't let those memories fade away

Photographs are fragile objects and can easily be damaged or lost. There is no way to stop the natural aging process of old photos, and color photographs fade faster than black and white. Moreover, photos are at constant risk of accidental destruction by fire, flood, kids, pets and other causes; in fact, 70% of people have lost family photos due to such causes. If you don't preserve your photos now, today's iPad generation will lose those family memories. But thanks to the latest scanning and storage technology, you can now ensure that your old photos are preserved forever.

Digital Preservation, Digital Immortality

If you haven't yet scanned your old photos, you owe it to your descendants to scan them and share the family legacy that they contain. You can either scan your photos yourself, or rely on a professional service. Once they have been scanned, you don’t need to worry about fading, risk of destruction, or loss.

Do-it-Yourself Scanning Tips

We strongly recommend using a flatbed scanner rather than a special purpose table top slide or photo scanner.

Scan your photos at least at 600 dpi (dots per inch) for paper photos and 3000 dpi for 35mm slides or negatives.

Use 24 bit color depth to ensure the highest visual quality.

Clean the scanner’s glass regularly with an acid free window detergent.

Before you scan, use compressed air (in a can) to clean your 35mm slides or negatives, or gently wipe them with a lead free cloth.

Add keywords, date, and names to the image files on your computer to make organization easier.

If you are scanning with a camera phone:

Place the photo on a flat surface and ensure that there is no glare.

Keep your camera phone parallel to the table surface.

If you have a smartphone, there are many mobile scanning apps that can help produce the best scans.

Physical Preservation Tips

Store your photos in a cool/cold location, but not too humid. Heat accelerates the aging process so never store photographs in an attic or non-air conditioned garage

Keep your photos in a fire and flood-proof box, away from kids and pets. If you don't have such a box, make sure to keep your photos above ground to avoid floods.

Never display or frame an original photo; instead, make a copy and display the copy. Always keep the original safely stored and away from light.

Never use albums with adhesive pages. The plastic eventually sticks to the photos and chemically reacts with the plastic sheet.

Photo Restoration

With advances in photo scanning technology and digital photo editing software, it is now possible to repair just about any damaged photograph. With the right tools, knowledge, and time, you can do wonders with your old photos. In order to start restoring your photos, you will need a high resolution flatbed scanner and an image editing software program. There are many on-line tutorials and videos to teach you the basics. You will be amazed with your results if you dedicate enough time to it.