Do You Make These Common Photo Scanning Mistakes?

Posted by Michele Smoly on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Do you make these common photo scanning mistakes?I’m sure I’m not the only one who grew up with a “no instructions necessary” kind of Dad. Four hours later when my ready to assemble desk was still in pieces…I knew it was time I intervene with the manual. As much as you can trust your own instincts, sometimes it is not a bad idea to get outside advice.

We live in an age of DIY but sometimes we can be over confident. Experience usually equals good results. This is just as true when applied to scanning photos.

Don’t worry - nothing says that you can't learn from the mistakes of others instead of making them yourself.

I took the liberty of compiling a list of some common mistakes I've found people make when scanning photos.

Common Mistakes When Scanning Photos

It’s Not Always Best to Leave Photos in Albums

This is usually the first question that comes up when digitizing your photos. Your common sense would probably say to keep your photos in their original albums after scanning. However, this isn’t always the rule you should follow. If your wedding photos are in an ornate or unique album I would say return them to their original spot. If photos are found in a old, adhesive-backed album they should be moved to photo archive boxes. These will prevent your photos from curling at the edges and turning yellow.

Mistaking Resolution for Quality

Keep in mind higher resolutions are not the same as higher quality for the resulting images. Instead, higher resolution simply means that the picture can be displayed at a bigger size without losing image quality than the same picture at lower resolution.


Also consider what you want the final size for your picture to be - a thumbnail for Twitter or a poster in your house? Industry standard is to scan a photo at 300 dpi. This will give you several options as to what size your end pictures will be. If you decided you wanted to scan at 600 dpi, keep in mind this will take twice as long.

Not Backing Up Your Photos

We don’t like to admit it but yes, sometimes technology makes our lives harder, not easier. As much love and trust as I have for my computer, I regularly do a back up on an external hard drive. After scanning photos I would recommend to store copies in more than 1 different medium:

  • your computer
  • a thumb drive
  • an external hard drive

Our memories are so important to us that I would rather be safe than sorry.

Not Cleaning Your Scanner


Always make sure your scanner glass is clean. Remove any lint, hair or dust so that it doesn’t transfer onto the photo. You wouldn’t be pleased to find out later that in the family photo from your 10th birthday mom has a mustache because of a piece of hair- you may not be her favorite child for much longer.

Key Takeaways

Using a scanner for a small volume of photos is an easy solution to preserving memories for years to come. Common mistakes to watch out for include where to store them, how to back them up, not cleaning your scanner, and mistaking resolution for quality. If you find yourself overwhelmed, there are photo scanning services like FotoBridge that can take care of all these steps for you.

Click below for more information on choosing the right photo scanning service!


Photos courtesy of lianza from Flickr, drustar from Flickr, and - Kurukshetra University

Topics: photo scanning service, photo scanning, film scanner, fotobridge, convert photos to digital, digitizing photos

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