Guide to Editing Scanned Photos
Why Scan Photos?
The precious memories that our family photos hold are worth much more than the paper they are printed on and can be deteriorating with age and poor storage (in unregulated attics, basements & garages). Creating digital copies of original physical photographs is the BEST WAY to preserve these priceless family treasures today; and pass on to future generations for prosperity tomorrow. This can be easily done with readily available home equipment (scanner/printer/ smartphone) . Once scanned, old photos can be digitally re -stored; re-sized and any number of digital/printed copies can be made and shared. They can be saved and organized with file/folder names; viewed on multiple devices; and uploaded to various internet locations (Social Media sites, cloud storage etc...)
SEE Preserve Old Family Media six part series : 1. Store & Digitize and 2. Photos
How to Scan Photos
Sometimes a Smartphone has to do
The continually improving image resolution , photo-scanning and image-enhancing Apps, make smartphones a quick and easy way to scan physical photos. They are always with you and may be the only option, if a scanner isn't available or for framed photos (e.g. photo collage) that can't be taken out.
Digitize Photos with a Scanner
Still... where possible, a scanner, is the BETTER way to digitize photos — resolution selection, more accurate color, less glare, multiple photo scanning, less cropping .... There are dedicated flat-bed photo scanners and feed photo scanners on the market but all newer (all-in-one) printers are capable of high resolution photo scanning . Using the printer manufacturer's scanning software on a connected computer (wireless/ USB cable) the scanned digital image files can be saved to the computer... with labels of your choosing !!!
Edit Scanned Photos
There is a reason why Photoshop has become a verb. Adobe Photoshop photo-editing software has been around since the mid 1980s and is the market leader for photo-editing and even creating images and graphics. While newer versions have "easier to use" and "guided" features, there is still a learning curve to proficient use.
Most photo scanning projects don't need such a high level of photo-editing power and there are plenty of FREE photo-editors that can do the job that's needed.
The companion Digitize Photos at home with a Scanner article provided illustrated step-by-step guidance to scanning and saving photos in batches, using HP scanning software with an HP Envy 4500 ALL-IN-ONE photo printer connected to a laptop running Windows 10. Four photos were positioned on the scanner bed. Two had a gap between them & two were touching to demonstrate that the software recognized the separate photos but output the touching photos as one scan item. Using the saved results, the next step is to crop, straighten & clean-up the scans using a photo-editor.
The Photo-Editing Process
While there are plenty of free photo editors that you can download, both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac have easy-to-use Photos editing software installed as part of their computer operating systems - both called Photos, which have plenty of features and tools to enhance most photos. This demonstration uses the touch-friendly photo-editing interface which has been integrated into the default Windows photo viewer.
Digitize Photos at home with a Scanner ended with saving scanned photos. The guide below illustrates the photo-editing steps
CLICK on the visual illustrations below to enlarge them.
1. Open the photo in edit mode.
Go to the folder where the scanned photo is saved.
Double-click on an image to open it in the Windows Photo App.
Click on the Crop icon to enter the Crop & rotate photo-editing Interface;
OR click on Edit from the Edit & Create drop-down menu.
The three photo-editing interfaces: Crop & rotate, Filters & Adjustments, are listed at the top of the window. The one in use is highlighted in blue. Click on these buttons to toggle between the interfaces.
To the right of these buttons in the viewfinder pane are curly arrow icons. In Crop & rotate these are labelled Undo & Redo and roll-back/forward incremental changes. In the Filters & Adjustments windows, these are labelled Undo All & Redo All and roll-back to the original (unedited) image or forward to the last change.
2. Crop & rotate
In the Crop & rotate interface, the left viewfinder shows the image framed by 4 white lines/ corner dots Crop Frame. In the right Tools pane there is a slider for Straightening the image, Rotate & Flip buttons and an Aspect ratio drop-down menu with a list of options.
Use computer touch-screen/pad/mouse... to easily crop/rotate/flip/straighten images.
In the Custom Aspect ratio mode, crop scan image to any size/aspect ratio.
OR select a specific Aspect ratio, then use the crop frame to reduce crop size, while maintaining the aspect ratio.
3. Crop Out Individual Photos from a multi-photo scan.
It is a good idea to first crop out and save individual digitized photos from a multi-photo scan (e.g. whole photo album pages).
Open the scan in the crop & rotate interface.
Use Custom or an Aspect Ratio, then manipulate the Crop Frame to select area to be cropped.
Rotate/Flip/Straighten cropped photo, as needed.
Click the Save a copy button to create a new digital file of the cropped area.
Once the save is complete, return to the original scan in Photos with the Back arrow.
Repeat steps 1.- 5. to crop out further photos from the original scan.
4. Apply Filters
The Filters Tool pane has an Enhance Photo tool and 15 Filter effects that you can play with.
Click on the Enhance Photo tool to auto-correct contrast, saturation & white balance.
Use the slider to adjust the strength of the effect.
Click on a filter to apply the effect. There is also a slider to adjust the strength of these.
In this interface the curly arrow icons, labelled Undo All & Redo All, roll-back to the original or forward to the last change.
In the bottom right corner of the Filter Viewfinder pane there is a Zoom adjustment icon.
5. Make Adjustments
The Adjustments Tool pane has sliders to adjust Light, Color, Clarity & Vignette . There are also Red-Eye and Spot Fix buttons. Like the Filters interface viewfinder:
the top right curly arrow icons, labelled Undo All & Redo All, roll-back to the original (unedited) photo or forward to the last adjustment.
the Zoom adjustment icon can be used to Fit to Screen, Zoom Out (-), or Zoom In (+)
In the Red-Eye and a Spot Fix interfaces a separate Undo/Redo & Reset icon appears in the viewfinder (bottom/center). This can be used to incrementally roll-back/forward individual Red-Eye or Spot Fix edits.
Use the Light, Color, Clarity & Vignette sliders to adjust the photo to your liking.
Click the Red-Eye and position the blue circle that appears over an eye and click it to fix.
Click the Spot Fix and position the blue circle that appears over a blemish and click it to erase.
TIP : Zoom in to more accurately fix Red-Eye & remove blemishes with Spot Fix.
6. Save Edited Photo
When satisfied with all edits click Save a Copy to save your changes to a new digital file: [original filename] (0#).jpeg. Saving an image sends you back to the Photo view mode. From here click the forward or back arrows to select another image to edit using the above guidelines.
CAUTION: If you click the down arrow next to the Save a Copy button a Save button appears above it. Using Save over-writes the original file: [original filename].jpeg . I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you ONLY use Save a Copy to guard against making undo-able errors. You can delete the original, outside of the program, later. SEE: Guide to Organizing Photos
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The information presented in this Blog is an accumulation of my own experience and internet searches. I am not affiliated with any of the institutions, services or products that are mentioned.