Photos To Digital Format

Last May when my Mother passed away suddenly, we wanted to have something different to celebrate the good times we had together. I thought a slide show comprised of old photos of her and other family members on DVD would be a good idea. We checked with the funeral director, they did offer a service but I thought I could do better. They only offered to copy 15 photos along with one song. Who wants to hear the same song over and over all day at the viewing? I didn’t. Besides we wanted to have her favorite songs and gospel groups. A lot of the family members like the same music as Mom. I figured that I might as well make copies of the DVD for anyone who may want one.

How we “copied” our photos:

First we had to find them all. HINT: Start now by organizing all of your photos in groups. Photo boxes are relatively inexpensive at craft stores, or make your own out of old shoe boxes (keep those little white anti damp packs to protect your photos).

What you need:

  • Digital Camera (any that you have will work, does not need to be fancy)
  • Tripod of some sort
  • Some sort of background material (black poster board is best)
  • Good lighting
  • Old photos
  • Photo Editor (Picasa is free from Google)
  • Remote release

Find a place with good lighting and a room to work, a dining table by a window is a good place to start. You can do this anywhere, although window light is best, other light sources can be used just as well. A side lamp with the shade removed, or a clamp light that you can easily move. It’s best to use daylight balanced bulbs, you can find them at just about any hardware store. If buying fluorescent bulbs (greener, and you can use them in the family room afterword), look for something in the 5000K range, that is closest to sunlight. Set up your work area. Take the black poster board, or whatever you are using for the background, and fold it in half like a greeting card. You want it to stand up in the back and lie flat on the table in the front. You will probably want to prop it up with a book or something in the back. Position it or your light source at about a 45 degree angle so the light is coming from the side and a little from above.Place your photos you want to copy to one side of the background. This will help keep them separate from the ones you have taken already.

As you copy the photos, you will set the “copied” ones to the other side. That would be a good time to organize them into groups too. Set up your camera on the tripod. This can be any type of support you may have. A beanbag will work good for this too. Angle the camera so it points to the back of the background just above the crease. place your camera in a position so the camera is pointing directly towards the photo, remember the photo will be at a slight angle as it rests against the background. You will want to set the camera on the Best Quality setting it has. Set the white balance to the type of lighting you are using, either read your manual or set it to Auto.

Place your first photo so it is standing up against the background. Get down to the level of the camera and look for glare on the photo. This is probably the most crucial part for good results. If you can see glare, it will show up on the copy. Adjust any lighting as needed. Zoom in on the photo as desired, remember you can crop in the photo editor. Using the remote release or a steady hand, take a picture of the photo. Review the image to make sure it is good, check for focus, if it is crooked and glare. Set that photo aside and continue through your stack. You can sort them into groups if you want here to help organize them.

After copying them, download them into your computer. Use the photo editor program to adjust, crop and save them. Use a slide show program to create a slide show with music, e-mail them to friends and family. You should also archive them to CD or DVD at this time. Picasa can do all of this, and did I mention it is free?

This method can be used to copy just about anything, cook books, recipes or important documents. I have all my important documents, credit cards, Social Security Card and birth certificates on my computer. I recently copied my mother-in-law’s address book.

I hope you have found this article to be helpful.

Where Do I Find Free Photo Editing Software?

A photo speaks a thousand words and an edited photograph even more. In the earlier days, when people were unhappy with the kind of photo, that came out, that was. There was no way of fixing the damage that was done. This mentality gave rise to the need to be able edit photographs too. That was when the concept of photo editing software hit the markets. Earlier the softwares could either be used for a fee or had to be bought. Now those days are far behind. These days if one is unable to purchase software, one can invest in free photo editing software. These softwares can be used in multiple ways to change a photograph. Most of these softwares are developed by individuals. Some of these softwares are listed as follows:

1) GIMP: It is an open source photo or graphic editing software developed for Linux/Unix. It is often compared to Photoshop and at times, is also known as “free Photoshop”. This is because it has features like the interface, similar to Photoshop but it also has a steep learning curve. It is one of the softwares developed by individuals, there are possibilities of glitches, but most people have used it without complaints

2) Photoscape:There are many features in Photoscope and it is very easy to use. Some of the features which are popular are editor, viewer, batch processor, file renamer, Raw converter, screen capture tool, print layout tool, color picker and more. It is a free photo editing software.

3) Serif PhotoPlus: Serif has done a lot in the past to ensure the loyalty of its users. Lately, it has introduced the Serif PhotoPlus which unlike the other versions, is offered for free. Earlier times, one had to purchase the software which wasn’t possible for some of the users. So as a compromise, Serif offers a free but limited edition of the latest version.

4) Paint. NET: This is a software which offers free image and graphics manipulation. It is primarily meant for Windows Operating Systems such as 2000, Vista, XP or Server 2003. The software also has features such as drawing and painting tools, layers, levels adjustment (for colors), special effects and so on.

5) Pixia: It is an English version of a Japanese photo editing software. This software allows painting or adding touches to an already existing image. It includes features such as masking, multiple layers, custom brush tips, color, tone, vector and bitmap based drawing tools, multiple redo/undo and so on.

6) Photos Pos Pro: It is another free photo editor and it has an extremely user-friendly interface. The software has tools such as tools for creating computer graphics, advanced image enhancing, editing tools and functions, special effects, rich text tools, gradients, layes and mask, script tools, batch operations and so on.

The popularity of a free photo editing software are usually based on the number of features it offers and how user friendly it is and at times, whether it is free or if one has to pay for it. These days even phones offer photo editing tools, but the features are mostly restricted to crop and changing the color setting. To turn a simple image into a plethora of colors and images one needs a reasonable photo editing software.

Photo Restoration – Restoring Those Wonderful Memories in Photos

Memories are preserved and kept forever through pictures. People who have long been gone can always be remembered through these photos. Because we put great value on them, we place these photographs in frames and use them as decorations in our homes and offices and even carry them around in our wallets and purses. However, there are circumstances that could change the appearance of these photos like natural disasters and even simple accidents. It is during these times when we would need some photo restoration techniques to bring back the wonderful memories these photos bring.

The Methods and the Tools

The damage or deterioration that could happen to our photos can be alleviated through photo restoration. You would need the help of a skilled photo restorer for this though so that your photos would look the way when they were first taken. Because restoring photos have long been in existence, you could expect that most of them were and are still being done in the dark rooms of photo specialists. The traditional tools used by these specialists include retouching dyes, artist brushes, toners, fixers, film tanks, and other chemicals and equipment. These tools are often used for manual restoration where dyes, brushes, and exposure to filters and prints are done by hand.

Nowadays though, photo restoration can be done digitally with the use of such tools as computers, scanners, monitors with high resolution, and photo editor software as well as papers, inks, and papers for high photo quality. Restoration is done through the use of a computer, and results are often saved as electronic files that could be stored in CDs or printed or emailed.

The Flow of Digital Restoration

There is a flow that is usually followed in digital photo restoration, and these are the following:

  • Placing the damaged film or the deteriorating photo under a scanner
  • Doing the retouching or the restoration of the photo with the use of a photo editor
  • Getting a print of the finished product using top-quality inks, papers and printers
  • Keeping the restored photo on a removable media like a CD or a USB

The Usual Photo Problems

There are many problems that could be encountered when it comes to a photograph that has been damaged or already deteriorating in quality. These include severe fading, cracks, the fading and shifting of the color, the imbalance of the tone and contrast, improper exposure and damage done by environment, water, tape, or age. When these problems happen, there are also different photo restoration capabilities that could be used to make corrections and to bring back the life of old or damaged photos. One of these is colorization, which is basically putting color to a black-and-white photograph. Special effects could also be done so that you will have a better picture than what you originally had.

Although restoring a photo’s original quality has always been the work of specialists, it is now possible to do so yourself. All you need to do is find a good book on the subject that could provide you a tutorial on what to do and the best kind of photo-editing software. However, if you are not confident about this, then getting the right kind of specialist is the best way to have your damaged or old photos restored.