I’ve blogged before about how we’re a family that loves photography, the sheer mind boggling amount of photos stored on my Google Plus account and backed up elsewhere is INSANE.  Someone else in my family who was utterly photograph mad was my Grandma, I wrote this post about treating your memories with respect last year, and I suppose this is a bit of a follow-up.

Grandma’s passing has meant the family has inherited her photo collection, and it’s VAST, it covers hers and my Grandad’s family, right up until she got ill at the start of the year. There are a LOT of pictures, I can’t even comprehend the number, the albums of all shapes and sizes adorn her library shelves. They are sorted by date and grouped together, in her later years she’d started sorting them all out, making sure they were all organised.

When I was there yesterday, I found my very own ‘first year album’, which had pictures covering my first year, with newspaper cuttings of my birth announcements, and from when I was Christened. Along with a few little notes, both written and typed, with poems and readings, it’s a gorgeous way to document my first year, and each page is dated with the occasion and location. She really did care about keeping all the information together.


The thing is, there are around 50-100 albums sitting there, filled with photos and memories, and whilst I’m sure the books will be split among the family. I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to allow her memories and photographs to live on, for hopefully generations to come. The albums are great, but I am very aware that something physical is only as good as the environment it is stored in, god forbid there’s a house fire at some point and all these precious photographs could be destroyed forever.

So, I want to ‘back them up’ and catalogue and archive them for the family, so even though the physical copies will live on for as long as possible, there will be digital versions stored forever in a multitude of online and offline locations.

Now, it’s a ridiculously big task, and will take hours, days, possibly even months to get it all done, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end. It’s one of those jobs you only need to do once, and that’s it. Hopefully!

I have mused with giving them to a company to do, I know lots of places do scanning services, but with so many photos, it will be costly to do, and also I don’t really trust anyone to care for her work as much as I do. Similarly, I was considering a photo scanner with an auto feeder, where you can dump a load of photos in and it would scan them automatically. Whilst it would save time, I know auto feeders can jam, and break – I couldn’t bear the thought of ripping out a jammed up 70 year old picture from the clutches of a machine.

So I think the solution I have, whilst massively time consuming will ultimately give me the best results, doing them 4 or so at a time on a decent flat bed scanner. I do have a scanner on my printer, but, well – it’s not very good. If I am spending time on this project, I need to do it right first time. So, whilst trying not to spend too much money, but equally not end up with a lemon – I’m ordering one of these which is a good balance of quality and budget. It’s got an infra-red facility that can recognise dust and scratches and filter them out which sounds awesome!


Software wise, it would be be slow to crop each image out in Photoshop and rotate it and align it straight. There is a relatively good software solution out there for it called ‘AutoSplitter‘ which takes a flat-bed scan of multiple images and then rotates and crops them automatically. I tested it the free trial version and it works beautifully, the full version is very cheap too. Obviously the images will then need running through Photoshop to be colour corrected and processed (although I think I’ll keep an original version too), but just having them cut out and straightened will cut down the time massively.

I’m getting everything ordered this week and will have to try and find a child free space to set up a ‘scanning area’ and go from there. Hopefully I’ll find some ways to automate the process further, but I’m quite looking forward to the mammoth task ahead.

Have any of you had to scan a shed load of photos?

0 thoughts on “The Family Photo Archive

  1. Pingback: The Negative Photo Album by the Epson Perfection V550 - kiphakes.com

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