Best Way To Save Scanned Photos

I attended a genealogy session today and learned something I didn’t know about working with photos. This is an important piece of information to anyone who scans photos, particularly those old, old family photos. When you first scan and save the photo save it at the highest resolution possible, 300 dpi, 1200 dpi, whatever you scanner allows. You probably already knew that. But then, you need to save it as a .tiff document, not a .jpg or .gif. Every time you copy a .jpg file the quality diminishes. That doesn’t happen with .tiff documents. As long as you keep a master copy of your photo in .tiff format, you can create as man .jpg copies from that original .tiff and each of those copies will remain true.

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5 Responses to Best Way To Save Scanned Photos

  1. Abracadabra says:

    Yes and that’s the same if you save in .PNG, it’s a non destructive format. It use only lossless compression. Tiff can use lossy methods but it’s rare.
    By the way, I like your blog (even if I use Macs since 20 years) but we can always learn something. 😉

  2. macnancy says:

    Hi Abracadabra, Thanks for the additional info and for your nice compliment.

  3. Frank says:

    Nancy, great tip but only part of the information you were given is correct. Making an infinite number of copies of a JPEG file results in the exact same file you started with. There are many programs that when you Save a file as a JPEG will apply additional compression that can result in a lower quality version of the photo. But copying a JPEG from one location to another in and of itself does not lose any quality. Now when you first save a file as a JPEG you do lose some quality because it is a lossy compression format as opposed to TIFF.

    I think you meant dpi (dots per inch) instead of dbi.

    Also, the original quality of the photo or negative combined with the quality of the scanner has a large impact on the final result as well.

    Finally, if you have a lot of photos or negatives I highly recommend using a service. Last year for our anniversary I had http://www.fotobridge.com convert all of our wedding negatives into digital images so that I could make a great album for my wife 🙂

  4. Jane says:

    I truly appreciate this information… I have thousands of photo’s from our parents home after they passed and I have 5 siblings who need copies of all the photos (I just want the boxes and albums out of my house after 7 years)… thanks so much for posting. I hope this works!!!!

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