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Scanning Tips for Digital Photos

1 Check your photos for dirt, lint, or smudges. Gently clean dust and dirt from surface of your photo with a soft brush or lint-free photowipe.
2 Check the scanner glass for lint, hair, fingerprints, or smudges. Use a lint-free pad or wipe to thoroughly clean the glass. When using your scanner or handling photographs, it is best to wear clean white cotton gloves (available from photo stores and hardware stores) to avoid leaving skin oils on your scanner or photos.
3 Specify the type of scan. If you're scanning photos, you have a basic choice of color photo or black and white. Choose to scan in color, even if the source photo is black & white.
4 Determine scan resolution for your digital photos. The optimal resolution depends on how the image will be printed, saved, or displayed. Scan your photos at a minimum resolution of 300dpi. Set up 600dpi or more for photos smaller than 5x7.
5 Carefully position your photo on the scanner face down on the glass, just like on a photocopy machine. Then hit "prescan" or "preview." The scanner will take a quick pass of the image and display a rough version on your screen. Check to see that it's straight, that no part of the photo has been cut off, and that the photo appears free of dust and lint.
6 Crop the previewed image to include only the original photo. Some scanners and software will do this step for you automatically.
7 Avoid corrections while scanning.
8 Choose your file type. The best file type for scanning and saving archival photos is TIF (Tagged Image Format). The popular JPG (JPEG) file format is nice because creates smaller file sizes - making it the most popular photo format for Web pages and file sharing - but the compression which creates the small files also causes some quality loss (something that you are likely to do when restoring damaged or faded photographs). If possible choose TIF when scanning and saving digital photos.