Top Tips for Cataloging Scanned and Digital Photos

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Scan photos and catalog at the same time.  If you are like me, you may have the tendency to just want to get the photo scanning started.  But consider this.  How will you find a specific photo when you are finished?  What if you want to create a slideshow?  Why spend all the time scanning photos if you can't find them easily later?  

 

Save yourself hours of organizing, after the fact, by deciding how you would like to organize photos before you scan them into your computer.  For the professional photographer, you may want to check out professional photo cataloging software; there are many on the market.  For the rest of us, there is an easier solution right at our fingertips.  Organizing folders in Windows in a manner that makes sense to you.  Then use ScanSpeeder photo scanning software to scan and tag photos such that you can easily find them later.  (Need a copy? click here to get one)  

 

Want to see how?  Let's go...

 

Scan Photos and Catalog at the Same Time

 

To get started, set-up your catalog with folders that makes sense to you.   There are several ways to catalog photos; however, the way shown here works best if you are scanning with your photos organized in a "main category", such as: your baby photos, your childhood photos, your wedding photos, etc. No need to organize any further as they can be scanned within this "main category" in no particular order.  

In the example below, I will be scanning Brent's childhood photos.  To start I will create a main folder called "Childhood Photos" and for each member in my family, I will create a sub-folder with their name on it. In this case, "Brent's Childhood Photos".  Then I will physically arrange Brent's childhood photos into piles.  Photos in a photo album will be kept in the album and scanned directly from the page to ensure I don't rip any.  In other words, the photos can be in any order,  but organized into Brent's childhood photos only.  

 

1 - Set Up Catalog

In Windows, Set up your Folder Structure to Catalog your Photos

  • On my hard drive I have a main folder called, "Old Scanned Photos".   I created this folder by opening Windows File Explorer and creating a new folder to house all my scanned photos.  
  •  In this main folder I have many categories of the photos I have scanned.  In this case I have created a sub-folder called, "Childhood Photos".   Then within the "Childhood Photos" folder, I have another sub-folder called, "Brent's Childhood Photos" and other sub-folders with different people in my family that I am scanning childhood photos for. For example, I have a folder called, "Brent's Childhood Photos", "Aaron's Childhood Photos".    
  • In this case, I am using the folder structure to save Brent's Childhood Photos as shown in the screen shot below to:
  • c:\Old Scanned Photos\Childhood Photos\Brents Childhood Photos\

 

scan photos catalog

 

2 - Scan Photos

Put as many photos onto the flatbed scanner that it will fit (keeping about 1/4 inch between each and from the edge); they don't have to be in any particular order.  Click the "Scan" button.  When it shows you the screen to choose scan DPI - select 600 DPI as its the optimal DPI selection for both scan speed and image quality.  ScanSpeeder will scan the photo's image and it will automatically split them for you.   Brent's childhood photos are all in a photo album, so I peeled back the plastic cover and scanned directly from the album.  I recommend you do not try and remove photos from a photo album as they tend to glue themselves to the page over the years in storage.  

scan multiple photos

 

 

3 - Extract Scanned Photos and Automatically Split

Click the "Extract Photos" button in Step 2 as seen below to automatically split all photos into separate images.  If any photo is not oriented properly in Step 2 - Extract Photos to Preview Area, hover over the photo and rotate it.  (See this article to learn how.)

Quick tip: If your photos have a printed border around the image, and you would like to scan both the photo's image and border, please refer this article to see how to scan photos with borders

scan photos

 

 

4 - Write a Caption (to tag the scanned photos)

In the caption field under each photo, type the description of the photo in a consistent way.  This text will be embedded in the photo making it easy to find later (search and sort).  

For example, type "1977 Brent's Second  Birthday ", "1977 Brent and Dad", etc.  These details will later be used to search and sort.  Keep the description consistent.  Such as: type the year the photo was taken, who is in the photo, and any other interesting details in the Caption Field.  

For more details on how to search for photos with tags, see this article and how to add a caption in further detail, see this article.  

 

tag scanned photos

 

 

5- Save Scanned Photos

 In ScanSpeeder, Step 3 "Save Files"

  • In the "Save to Folder" field select: c:\Old Scanned Photos\Childhood Photos\Brents Childhood Photos\
    • All the photos you just scanned will now be saved into this folder so you can easily find them later
  • In the field below, "Generate Files with Prefix" type: BrentChildhoodPhoto
    • Now click "Save" and your photos will be saved in both JPEG and TIFF
    • Quick tip: Save to both JPEG and TIFF.  TIFF is an archival quality of your photo and is lossless.  JPEG is good for emailing, posting on social media like Facebook, etc.  See Top 10 Photo Scanning Tips to learn more. 

save scanned photo

 

You're done!  

  • Your scanned photos are now searchable in Windows File Explorer
    • The File Explorer Search Field can be used to search for the photos because you wrote a caption in the Caption Field; this caption is saved as a title in Windows File Explorer and can be searched and sorted.  Hence, the caption is a "tag" that is permanently embedded in the photo so you can search and sort by it later.

 

To show you how you can easily find your photos later, look at the screenshot below.  

The photos are all saved under c:\Old Scanned Photos\Childhood Photos\Brents Childhood Photos\

catalog digital photos

 

How did I find them so quickly?  See this article to learn how to search

The caption you gave each photo is now embedded in the photo  and is called the photo's title in Windows Explorer.  This title is both searchable and sortable.  See this article to learn how to sort your photos. 

 

 

To recap: You can batch scan photos, automatically split them into separate files, tag them so they become searchable, and catalog them in Windows File Explorer so they are neatly organized.  Digital photos you take with your phone, or digital camera, can also be tagged with a title and organized in Windows too.  This will keep all your digital photos, including scanned photos, nicely organized all together.  

| Categories: How To, Scanning Basics | Tags: catalog, catalog scanned photos, catalog digital photos | View Count: (1825) | Return

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