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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Murray Landauer
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/9/2005

Scanning Old Photos Safely

I recently acquired a book of black-and-white photos from when my dad was young. The photos were taken around 1921, and they look to be in good shape for the most part. I am worried that a scanner would flood the images with too much light and cause them to fade at a higher rate. Is this the case, or can I safely scan them?

1/21/2005 6:42:41 AM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  The few seconds of light from a flatbed scanner will not harm your photos. The fact that they have been in a book, away from direct sunlight, is encouraging. They would have been more likely to suffer from the acidity in the paper pages than from a few-seconds burst of light. Scan them, archive them on good quality CDs or DVDs, and keep backup copies. Also, print them, or have them printed, to an archival quality paper. Use search engines to get these specifics. Keep a backup copy of the prints, also.

1/21/2005 9:57:00 AM

Mark O'Brien

member since: 2/11/2001
  The above answer is correct. Sunlight -- with UV is what can cause fading, not the light from a scanner. Since these are B&W prints, and they were properly processed, they are about as archival as one can get, so if they are not glued to the photo album, I would transfer the photos to an acid-free photo album (See Light Impressions on the web) after you have scanned them. Make sure that you scan them at a high dpi setting (for best reproduction, at least 600 dpi). The files will be big, but they will be much more detailed.
I am sure your family members will be pleased to get a CD with the images.

1/26/2005 6:26:17 AM

Murray Landauer
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/9/2005
  Thank you for such detailed information. I plan to do all those steps and my family will be suprised as only myself and my sister know they exist.

1/26/2005 7:01:23 AM


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