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Thread: Photo album scanning project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Kansas City, Missouri
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    Photo album scanning project

    So a few weeks ago, my MIL stopped in and dropped off a stack of photo albums asking if I could scan all the pics in for her. Not wanting to disappoint, I agreed, letting my wife know that she owed me for this. Many of the albums have the sticky back with the cellophane cover across the photos, So pulling back the cellophane on most wasn't an option and the binding on the books made it a real pain to hold up on the scanner and still push buttons.

    Well, I came up with the idea to simply photograph the pages and then crop the individual pages from the overall photograph. I made and alignment jig to align the books to, made some stands for some clip lights I had (with long ago missing clips) with some cfl bulbs in them, and a remote shutter release on the camera.
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    The photographing of the pages wasn't bad, but the cropping of the individual images was going to take a very looooongggg time to get done. So, again, did a little brainstorming and googling and came up with some free software that will let you open a scanned image and select the images to be cropped, and even orientate each to output individual photos of each. It tries to do a best selection as you go to the main image, but you can manually change the selections, delete them, and even select at an angle to straighten out a crooked image in the album.

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/scannedimageextractor/


    I ended up getting all of the albums done on Sunday, and as they say, "no good deed goes unpunished!" I was chatting with my own mom Sunday night and I made the mistake of telling her what I was doing. Low and behold, she showed up with 3 tubs of albums, photos, slides, and negatives for me to scan for her. And my MIL has a few more albums to scan yet, about 4 tubs worth.

    I did find a couple of pieces of artwork I did out of high school which I totally don't remember, but this is one I did of my brother's car at the time.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,247
    So you just "had " to share this info hey? Lol. You enabler you.
    Here i was living a nice peaceful life and you added to the enormous project list ......nice. lol

    Man you solved a huge problem for me. I looked into sending our stuff off and it was going to cost a pretty penny and i was not comfortable with just dropping them in the mail ....to .....India.

    I have loads of mixed info from my Dads family history that i now can capture and let my siblings have a copy of if they want.
    Thanks a ton Darren. Thank your Mil from me..lol.

    Btw that car picture is very good definitely a creative gene in you.
    I am not familiar with US cars of that period what make and model would that be?
    Photo of the drawing came out excellent.

    So question i have is what happens to the albums now?

    I ask because i did a ton of old video tape conversion and still have the totes full of tapes 😉 as a backup lol.

    Thanks again for sharing this.
    cheers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    96
    My old Epson 2450 Photo Scanner does the photo separation into separate files automatically with the software that was included with it, and I just bought one of these to help with a similar project.

    https://jet.com/product/detail/1a45d...Q&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Your way would have saved me a bunch of money, but this time I didn't want to make the camera stand myself. I'm also about to embark on a similar mission (scanning old family photo albums & large pictures). Are you importing the scans into Photoshop or a similar program for a final tweak before saving them or just saving the scanned photos without doing any tweaking? I once did photo retouching as a commercial business and I still have much of the equipment, but most is obsolete now. The camera stand that I just bought replaces a home shop built version that has seen it's day. It got pretty much destroyed while in storage, so I needed a new one, and this time they are more available and more reasonable in price (well, the smaller ones are).

    Charley

  4. #4
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    Dec 2006
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    Yorktown, Virginia
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    You're a good man, Darren. Adding this to my to do list. The software looks like it gets the job done. I bet my floor model drill press could be easily converted to a copy stand with a little work to create something to hold the camera in the chuck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Kansas City, Missouri
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    13,437
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    Btw that car picture is very good definitely a creative gene in you.
    I am not familiar with US cars of that period what make and model would that be?
    Photo of the drawing came out excellent.

    So question i have is what happens to the albums now?
    Thanks! The car is a about 1989 Ford EXP (sport coupe of the Ford Escort from that time), and was a nice little car for the time. My mom actually bought one shortly after he got his, which I learned to drive stick on. The photos go back to my sister's place (for my mom), which I'm sure she's got just as many to do, luckily her son has a dslr, so I'll loan him the lights and indexing board.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Lent View Post
    My old Epson 2450 Photo Scanner does the photo separation into separate files automatically with the software that was included with it, and I just bought one of these to help with a similar project.

    https://jet.com/product/detail/1a45d...Q&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Your way would have saved me a bunch of money, but this time I didn't want to make the camera stand myself. I'm also about to embark on a similar mission (scanning old family photo albums & large pictures). Are you importing the scans into Photoshop or a similar program for a final tweak before saving them or just saving the scanned photos without doing any tweaking? I once did photo retouching as a commercial business and I still have much of the equipment, but most is obsolete now. The camera stand that I just bought replaces a home shop built version that has seen it's day. It got pretty much destroyed while in storage, so I needed a new one, and this time they are more available and more reasonable in price (well, the smaller ones are).

    Charley
    I'm importing the scans into the app I linked in my original post, but not doing any post processing. I'm keeping the raw images from the camera with them to be able to do any print quality processing, but most of these are for safe keeping and sharing. I'll have to look into new scanners, I know mine was extremely slow and hard to trigger the scans with both hands on the albums. It's good to know some of the software may do auto cropping though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Calver View Post
    You're a good man, Darren. Adding this to my to do list. The software looks like it gets the job done. I bet my floor model drill press could be easily converted to a copy stand with a little work to create something to hold the camera in the chuck.
    No problem, I may be giving this software a try, seems to have some post-processing built in. Though I did just sign up for a year with adobe for their photography subscription, which has lightroom and photoshop to see what I can automate with them. Mostly was looking to organize and do some post processing in lightroom.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    30,008
    Thanks for the heads-up on the software, Darren. I know my sister has lots of photo albums she'd like to convert to digital.

    I had forgotten about the EXP. A good friend of mine had a Mustang GT from the same mid to late '80s era. He was the chief of police in a small town here in NM, and the town let him purchase his own police car, which they then leased from him. It was the first police-equipped Mustang in the state, and it was crazy fast. It was plain white unmarked, with all the lights and sirens hidden. It had the 5.0 V8 and a 5-speed stick with some really tall gears. He let me drive it in town once, and I got it up to 80 MPH and never made it past second gear.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
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    5,992
    Another thank you for the link to the SIE software.

    We've been scanning a variety of things as we've made contacts for family tree research. An item that has proven valuable for making copies of a lot of stuff is a hand held scanner with a self-feed dock: this one. It has been a bit of a pain to crop and separate multiple photos from an album page, so SIE should help.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  8. #8
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    May 2007
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    Just an update. I did end up trialing and buying the ScanSpeeder software ($30 usd - http://scanspeeder.com/). Though it doesn't let you skew the selection boxes to match the layout of the photo, it does allow you to add annotations to the tag data on the files, so I've been entering any handwritten notes or dates as I go. As well, there is the option to save a archival (.tiff, loss-less format, doesn't degrade when saved) and shareable (jpg, will degrade each time saved) formats at the same time. So I'm just trying to make sure I straighten out the pics the best I can before scanning them and will over select the size, then rotate/crop them in post processing if need be.

    I also ordered this guy, which has a 20 mp camera and does either slides, negatives, or photos. It saves to an sd card or to a pc/mac via usb, and has a 5 second scan time, which is a little slower than the camera method, but I shouldn't have as much post-processing to do. Another benefit is I can loan it to my sister and she can do her own pics.

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    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XF5Z9WG/
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

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