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Scan Photos - The Basics of Photo Scanning Software

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Scan Photos - The Basics of Photo Scanning Software

You've downloaded ScanSpeeder and are ready to start scanning those old paper photos to digital.  Just a couple of photo scanning tips before we get started.  

The modern digital photo is not just an image.  It is an image and information tagged to it.  So, when digitizing the old photos, ensure you scan the image and give the scanned photo a tag so you can easily find it later.  

The other tip - choose 300 DPI for best speed and 600 DPI for best quality for scanning.  Long discussions go on in the scanning photos world over this topic; needless to say, to optimize the speed of scanning and the quality of the image captured, use 600 DPI.  So, let's get started..


Digitize Your Old Photos with ScanSpeeder's Photo Scanning Software

At this stage, I will assume you have a registered copy of ScanSpeeder's photo scanning software.  Need a copy? Click here.  

Photo scanning is actually quite simple.  I do recommend however that you watch a couple of very brief videos to help you get going.  These videos are in the Guidance box that pops up when you first start using ScanSpeeder.  Well worth the couple of minutes....  After you've finished watching them, click the box "don't show this again" so you won't see this pop-up every time you open the software.

Now we begin...  This is the fun part... 


1 - Place Photos to be Scanned on the Scanner

Place as many photographs as you can fit on your flatbed scanner.  Photos can be placed separately by hand or you put an entire photo album page directly on the scanner.  If you place the photo album page directly on the scanner, if possible, lift the clear cover such that photos are in direct contact with the scanner.   In the screen shot below, I placed the photo album page directly on the scanner.  This is better for photos in a photo album so you don't take the risk of ripping the photo paper.  

Hint: Leave at least ¼ inch space from the edges of scanner and between photos.


2 - Click the "Scan" button 

scan photos


After the scan is complete, you should see the full scanned image containing your photos on the left side.  The following Guidance message will appear.   First time users, please read the message before proceeding.  


3 - Extract Photos and Automatically Split into Separate Files

Click the "Extract Photos" button in ScanSpeeder's Step 2 - Extract Photos to Preview Area. You will see your old printed photos now digitized in the Preview Area.

split scanned photos


At this stage, a Guidance box will pop-up, as below.  Click the "Don't show this again" after viewing.  

photo scanning guidance


In this example, all 6 photos were automatically straightened.  If you need to correct orientation of an image, see this article.  If you just need to finely rotate the image, see this article. 


4 - Add Captions - to Tag Scanned Photos - So you can Easily Find them Later

Add captions to your scanned photos.  The captions are embedded in the photo and are saved as the photo's title in Windows Explorer.  The photo's title (which is the caption that is now tagged to the photo) is both searchable and sortable.  Adding this tag is truly digitizing that old printed photo.  Modern digital photos taken with your phone and digital camera automatically have tags.  Scanned photos have no information; just the image is scanned.  So adding tags are very important.  Trust me - you will be thankful when you can easily find your scanned photos later.  See this article to learn how to add a caption to your scanned photo.  

caption scanned photo


5 - Save Scanned Photos 

Select a "Save to Folder" in the Step 3 - "Save Files" section in ScanSpeeder.  I recommend you create a folder that adds meaning to the batch of photos you are scanning.  Such as for the photos scanned above, they are being saved in a folder called, "Aaron's Baby Photos".  

Then, select an "Album Name" for your image files. A 3-digit serial number will be added to the prefix to make the file name. For example, if your prefix is "aaronsbabyphotos", an image file might have a name like aaronsbabyphotos001.tif and/or aaronsbabyphotos001.jpg.

save scanned photos


Select "File Type".   ScanSpeeder lets you do JPEG and TIFF.  In fact, you can do both simultaneously.  I recommend this.  JPEG is great for sharing because its small, but it's compressed.  TIFF is the best quality - this is the file you need for archiving because it is "lossless".   This means every time you save a TIFF photo, it doesn't loose any detail.   If you want to enhance the scanned photo later - use the TIFF.  If you want to print the scanned photo later - use the TIFF.  Computing power and screen monitors are getting better every year.  You need this archival quality for your photo to be useful in the years to come.  

Finally, click "Save Image Files" to create separate image files for each of your photos in the scan. You can click "Open Folder" to see the results.


find scanned photo

To see how to find scanned photos, see this article.  


To recap: Scan photos with photo scanning software to make your photo scanning easier.  ScanSpeeder lets you batch scan multiple photos, automatically straightens, automatically splits into separate files, lets you add a caption so the newly digitized photo is tagged with information that is searchable, and lets you save in both .jpg and .tiff simultaneously.  

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  • I have approximately 3000 to scan and share with my cousins. Using ScanSpeeder, can I save the photos to my desktop, then backup on USB drives to mail out? Or do I have to keep the photos in the ScanSpeeder app? Some of my cousins are older and can not handle going online to look or to look in the cloud. Thank you so much for your help.
    7/24/2023 10:39:13 AM Reply
    • @Gail MIchelini: Hello Gail. You can save your photos to your Windows desktop or any other folder of your choice with ScanSpeeder. As you said, you can copy the files to a USB drive to mail out. I hope this helps and good luck with your photo scanning project!
      7/28/2023 7:22:27 AM Reply
  • Hi, Im still not seeing how to scan at 600dpi or higher
    2/9/2023 8:07:57 AM Reply
    • @perry shapira: Hello Perry. You may be limited by the selected driver for your scanner if you know your scanner can scan above 300 DPI. Click the Scanner button near top center, select the driver for your scanner with TWAIN in the name (not TWAIN-MS). If you don't see one, you may need to download the scanner driver from the scanner manufacturer website. That should give you the higher available DPI settings if there are any for your scanner model. I hope this helps.
      2/10/2023 8:46:35 AM Reply
  • I would like to scan album pages that are slightly larger than 8.5 x 11; when I scan the standard letter size the top 1/4" of the page is cut off, and this is where title information is often written. I see that using scanspeeder I can scan an album page and have the pictures extracted - both to tiff and jpg formats, which is great! But I also want a picture of the entire page as one entity that will be later printed as an album, and will have whatever writing happens to be on the album page. Can a I do this in one fell swoop with scanspeeder?
    1/11/2021 3:03:05 PM Reply
    • @Jeanne: Hello Jeanne and thank you for your interest in ScanSpeeder. Yes you can accomplish this with a single pass of your scanner but not in one fell swoop. You’ll need the Pro edition for PDF output. One way to do this : 1) Scan the entire album page into the Step 1 section 2) Auto detection will try to find the photos and put crop rectangles around them. If they are off you can adjust them or you can click to add additional crop rectangles if needed. 3) Extract to Step 2, then save in Step 3 as jpg and tif. 4) In the Step 1 section, click the All button then Delete button to remove all the crop rectangles. 5) Add a new crop rectangle to frame the entire scan. 6) Click Extract and delete the other cropped photos in Step 2 from before if you just want the entire scan. 7) In the Step 3 section, set the output to PDF and save. Recommend PDF setting “Text with Images” for your project since the OCR may be able to capture hand writing so your PDF is searchable by text in File Explorer as well. I hope this helps.
      1/11/2021 5:33:42 PM Reply
  • Hello, is it possible to put a space in the title of Generate files with prefix. For example write "scan of February 22, 2018 - (space)", which would give "scan of February 22, 2018 - 001"
    2/22/2018 9:58:52 AM Reply
    • @Jean Lachapelle: Hi Jean. Great question! Yes, ScanSpeeder allows you to write in the Generate Files with Prefix ""scan of February 22, 2018 -" giving the result for the first photo as "scan of February 22, 2018 -001". ScanSpeeder will tag your photos with chronological order after the dash, but note that the digits will start immediately after the dash. Hope this helps! Sandra
      2/22/2018 4:59:45 PM Reply
  • Hi to all, I have a box with about 1000 photos in random order. They have already been individually numbered from S1600 – to about S2500. I intend to scan all with Scanspeeder and the captions will initially be these numbers. At a later date the captions will be altered to include the details & date. These will then be date sorted under heading. Storage & sorting will be with Openoffice 4.1.2 writer & calc. My questions are:-a) Can I alter the photo captions at a later date easily, and with what software. b) Some photos are large & some small, can I export within Scanspeeder for them to be all the same size. If larger prints are required, I can always use the original. Many thanks
    11/12/2016 6:14:16 AM Reply
    • @Andrew Mackay: Hello and thank you for asking. I have been thinking about your project... I can explain how to do this using ScanSpeeder and Windows File Explorer. I think your idea of tagging each photo with the original number already assigned in the Caption Field is an excellent idea. At a later date, when you are ready to change the captions to a more elaborate description, you can easily search for them within File Explorer. No other software is required for this. To get started, please see the article about how to find a scanned photo (tagged with ScanSpeeder), This will give you an idea of how you will find your photos after you complete your scanning project. Once you have finished your scanning project, you can easily go back later and search for any photo; again, no other software required as the Caption Field in ScanSpeeder “tagged” the photo with the information (example in your project: “s1600”) as the photo’s title. To add to the content in the article, in your particular project, you would change the photo’s title directly in Windows Explorer. When you do, I would consider keeping the original photo’s number (ex. “S1600”) in the title and then follow with the details you would like to capture such as: date, location, and people in the photo. The best part of using this method is that you can then search via original photo’s number or the additional details, such as the date. Windows File Explorer is easy to use for this. Here are the steps I would use to change the photo’s title (which in your project is photo’s original number you typed in ScanSpeeder’s Caption Field). 1) Open Windows File Explorer, search for the photos you want to change the caption of (aka. photo’s title). Example “s1600” 2) In File Explorer’s tabs use the “View” tab and select “Details pane” (which is found to the left of the tabs). In the far right of the screen you see the “Details pane”. This will show the photo’s file name it was saved in. In this pane, you will see the photo’s title. In this example, it will be “s1600”. 3) You can change the title at this stage and then click SAVE. The photo’s title will then be saved and searchable with the new information you typed in. To answer your 2nd question in regards to photo’s size. Are you referring to physical or pixel size? When scanning, I use 600 DPI and save both as TIFF and JPEG. TIFF is a lossless format that is considered an archival quality and excellent for later prints, modifications, etc. ScanSpeeder will save in TIFF and JPEG simultaneously for you (ScanSpeeder’s step 3 – select this option is highly recommend). You may also want to read the article about how to sort photos and adding a caption. I hope these answers have helped. I would love to hear how your project goes.
      11/14/2016 10:18:02 AM Reply
  • I'm just at the start and trying to develop a process for scanning . I know I can put captions in grandmother was very prudent about writing down a wealth of information on the back of the pictures I'm scanning. My question is how would you recommend keeping this information with the photos so the viewer clearly knows the information goes with the photo?
    9/19/2016 7:38:13 PM Reply
    • @Barry Reddick:Thank you for asking this question. I recommend two things: add captions and scan the back of the photos to visually capture your grandma's handwriting. 1) The caption allows you to permanently embed up to 500 characters in the photo. It is tagged and view-able as the photo's title. 2) Scan the back of the photo itself because the handwriting on the back is important to capture visually. First scan the front of the photos and then turn them over and scan the back. I keep this process in batches. So if I have 6 photos on the scanner, I will scan the front of the photos and then I turn them over and scan the back-side. I ALSO add a caption to the back of the photos, exactly as I did to the front. This makes both the front and back of the photo view-able together in my catalog when I search for them. To make this easy, I write my long caption in Notepad first. Then I copy & paste it into the caption field for both the front of the photo and the back of the photo. The key here is using the same caption so the front & back of the photo are tagged the same. You've inspired me to write an article on this process as I too have scanned both the front and back of photos too. In the meantime, the article on how to scan baseball cards, is actually great to explain this process because baseball cards are scanned on both the front & back.
      9/26/2016 11:43:40 AM Reply

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