Helping Your Photographs Live Forever

digital photography--shutterstock_127177601

Photography is changing rapidly. The change from film to digital technology happened in less than four years. Only a very few ever use film for taking pictures anymore. This improvement in digital photography will continue making dramatic adjustments even faster than we can imagine. What does the future hold for digital photography?

The first photograph was taken in 1826. In the 1900’s photography became commercialized. It was during that time that the Eastman Kodak Company came out with the Brownie camera. Some of you might remember that camera. Eastman Kodak was an American company out of New York state that got most of America taking pictures.

Do you remember slide trays? Color transparency slides? Boxes of old photographs and undeveloped film? You can probably find oodles of these items stored in your attic.

What is happening to those old photographs you have stored away? You may have noticed that they are fading. To save them from fading away you have to scan them and create a digital image of them. A scanner for your home photos is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to digitize your photos. Look for a scanner with the following qualities:

  • 6400 DPI (optical resolution)
  • 4 Optical Density (Dmax)
  • 48 bit Color

You can purchase a scanner with these qualifications for about $150-$200.
When you scan your photographs of your ancestors ask yourself what you’re going to use a scanner for. Do you have a hundred photos to scan or do you have several hundred photos you want to scan? How do you plan on sharing, viewing, copying and preserving them in the future?

If you think this through, you probably will not need a large scanner. A simple, easy to use mid-sized scanner should do you just fine. Each picture should be preserved as a 20 to 30 megabyte Tiff. That provides you with a good quality photograph when you print a paper photograph from your file.

What is the best format to use when digitizing photographs?

Most photographs are stories as one of the following file formats:

  • GIF
  • PNG
  • JPG
  • TIFF

JPEG files are a great way to store until you start adjusting your picture. When you alter your pic in JPEG format it will alter the colors because it is a compressed file. If you save it to a TIFF this will not happen. Most people don’t store photos as GIF files, anymore. This format is a bit outdated.
Where will all your pictures end up?

Store your photos in more than one location. Share digital copies with friends and family members. The more you places and people you share your files with, the less chances you have of losing them. You can also use an online site to store them. Many people store their photos on the Family Search Family Tree because the LDS church goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of all content posted on the Family Tree.

Be selective in what you are taking to the future. Your ancestors will probably not be interested in viewing thousands upon thousands of mundane photos, so be selective and keep those family photographs that will matter most to your progeny.

Photography remembers what the mind forgets.

Photography Tips of the Day:

  • If you have old photos that are yellowing, most scanners have the ability to adjust coloring and can adjust that yellow color away. Most scanners can do this relatively easily.
  • Digital prints are important because pigment based inks can last up to 200 years.
  • 20 Megapixel Camera=60 Megabytes File.

Best quote of the class: Ansel Adams was the best photographer of all times.

This article is a recap of a RootsTech 2016 presentation.


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