Genealogy Do-Over Week 7 part 2 – Digitizing Photos and Documents

This weeks topics are

Digitizing Photos and Documents

Thomas MacEntee stated that when digitzing photos, to set the scanner at 300 or 600 dpi and use the TIFF format, then copy TIFF files to create JPEG or PNG files.

Last year, I purchased an Epson V600 scanner so I could scan photos and negatives. I did some research at that time to determine the best practices for scanning. Now,  I scan all of my pictures at 600 dpi in TIFF format and documents at 300 dpi, just like Thomas recommends, so I feel really good about that. The only down side is that you do have to take the time to convert the file to JPEG or PNG and this requires more disk space.

When I get ready to layout my family history book with lots of photos, I’ll have print quality files to work from.

Why TIFF format?

Many of us have scanned using JPG format for years and have been quite pleased by the results.  JPEG format is the most compatible format and is the standard file format for most consumer quality digital cameras. However JPEG uses lossy compression to reduce file size, so some of the image data is lost when the file is compressed. Although JPEG format provides good quality, it is not the absolute best.

Also, every time you edit a photo and then re-save it you will lose some quality each time.

There is no compression with TIFF format, so the files are much larger, but 100% of the data captured during scanning is retained, providing the best quality.

Since quality is very important for my purposes, I take the time and space to scan using TIFF format. The difference is most evident in darker or discolored photos, that by using Photoshop or a good photo editing program, you can fix with excellent results.

For those JPEG files, it is suggested that you convert them to TIFF format for archival purposes.


The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers.

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