How to copy Photographs


Joined: 2007-01-11
Posts: 3
Posted: Fri, 2007-01-12 20:28

Hi Everyone,

I am setting up a website for a friend who has a large collection of photographs. This has been a real learning curve for me.

I am using Gallery 2.2 and Digibug. I have had a lot of help with setting up the web site from webmasters on this forum, so I thought that I would let everyone know what I have found out about copying photographs and getting them ready for Digibug.

This will be just for scanner copying, not using a copy stand and camera.

First the scanner - you need to find out a couple of things about your scanner. What is the maximum dpi that the scanner will copy at using optical scan without having to do sampling of the image. My scanner is a 600 x 2400 dpi and by reading the literature I find I can scan up to 600 dpi in optical. Other scanners can scan 1200 dpi or 2400 dpi in optical. The higher the dpi does not mean the clear the picture, it just means the larger the picture you can produce.

Second the software - I am using Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7. I know Adobe Photoshop will do the same process, but I am not sure about other programs.

Third the scanning process - I scan a preview of the photograph and mark the area to be copied. I do not include any white borders, I only include the picture. I am copying 8 x 10 black and white photographs, but this will work with any size that fits on the scanner.

In an email from Ernst Oddsund of Digibug, he said "More resolution is better, so try a high resolution setting on the
scanner. However, that might be very high, so you can start high and then go down if you feel the files are getting too large. To get absolute maximum quality for prints you would like to print them with 300 dpi (dot per inch.)"

On the preview screen is listed the size of the area to be copied and the size of the target. This is where you have to play around a little. With my 8 x 10 photographs I have an source size of 7.54 x 9.58 lets make the target 16 x 20. If we make the output width 16 then the height is 20.32, so lets put in the height first of 20 and this makes the width 15.76. It is better to have the width a little smaller than to loose part of the picture on the height.

Now we look at the scale and see that the output is 209 percent of the source or 2.09 times larger than the source. Our goal is to have a print image of 300 dpi, so we multiply 300 x 2.09 or 627 dpi. Our scanner can only scan up to 600 dpi without sampling so 16 x 20 output is too large.

We will use the next size lower which is 12 x 18. Going through the above process we find that in we use a width of 12 that the height will only be 15.24 inches. If we use the height of 18 the width will be 14.17 inches. We have to make a decision, and I can see on the picture that I have a lot of excess on each side of the subject, so I will use the height of 18. The output is 188 percent or 1.88 times as large as the source. We do the math 1.88 x 300 or 564 dpi.

Put 564 dpi in the resolution that you will be copying the photograph at. We now go back to the scale where the 188 dpi is and reset it to 100%. This will change the target size to the same as the source size. We now scan the picture.

We will now check the image in Paint Shop Image > Resize or in Photoshop Image > Image size. We now have an image 7.541 x 9.587 at 564 dpi. Now change the 564 dpi to 300 dpi which is what we want our final work to be. The image is now 14.177 wide by 18.023 high.

The image will now have to be cropped to 12 x 18. Use the cropping tool to do this. We want to end up with 3600 x 5400 which is 12 x 300 equals 3600 and 18 x 300 equals 5400.

Now save the image as a TIFF file.

Ernst Oddsund of Digibug in his email to me also wrote "For file format I would definitely save it as a TIFF format. TIFF being a lossless format while the JPG is not. Every time you save a JPG format you loose some quality in the file. That is not the case for TIFF. That also mean that the file will be much larger, but it is worth it. You could end up with TIFF files in the 30-50 MB range while a JPG file could be just a few MB's. The TIFF file is then your negative. You want to do any changes to the file working with the TIFF format. When you want to upload and print a photo you need to convert the TIFF files to JPG. Photo services use JPG files for printing. I would go for the smallest compression to ensure the highest quality."

I learned this process by reading an article on the Cryosphere website. and other sources.

I hope this helps