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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 slideshow of old photos of her and other family members on DVD would be a good idea. We checked with the funeral director, they offered service, but I thought I could do better. They only offered to copy 15 photos with a song. Who wants to hear the same song over and over all day when watching? I did not do it. Also, we wanted to have his favorite songs and gospel bands. Many family members like the same music as mom. I thought I might as well make copies of the DVD for anyone who wants one.
How we “copied” our photos:
You had to find them all first. TIP: Start now by organizing all your photos into groups. Photo boxes are relatively inexpensive at craft stores, or make your own from old shoeboxes (keep those little white moisture-proof packets to protect your photos).
What do you need:
- Digital camera (anything you have will work, doesn’t have to be fancy)
- Tripod of sorts
- Some sort of background material (a black poster board is best)
- Good lighting
- old photos
- Photo editor (Picasa is free from Google)
- Remote trigger
Find a place with good lighting and a room to work, a dining table near a window is a good place to start. You can do this anywhere, although window light is best, other light sources can also be used. A side lamp with the shade removed or a clamp lamp that you can easily move around. It is best to use daylight balanced bulbs, you can find them at almost any hardware store. If you buy fluorescent bulbs (greener, and you can use them in the family room afterward), look for something in the 5000K range, which is closest to sunlight. Arrange your work area. Take the black bulletin board, or whatever you’re using for the background, and fold it in half like a greeting card. You want it to stand upright in the back and lay flat on the table in the front. You’ll probably want to prop it up with a book or something on the back. Position it or your light source at an angle of about 45 degrees so that the light comes from the side and a little from the top. Place your photos you want to copy to one side of the background. This will help separate them from the ones you’ve already taken.
As you copy the photos, you place the “copied” ones on the other side. This would be a good time to organize them into groups too. Install your camera on the tripod. It can be any kind of support you have. A pouf will work well for this too. Tilt the camera so that it is pointing towards the back of the background just above the crease. position your camera so that it is pointing directly at the photo, remember that the photo will be slightly tilted when it rests against the background. You’ll want to set the camera to the best quality setting it has. Set the white balance to the type of lighting you use, read your manual, or set it to Auto.
Position your first photo so that it is upright against the background. Go down to the camera level and look for the reflections in the photo. This is probably the most crucial part for good results. If you can see any highlights, they will show up on the copy. Adjust any lighting as needed. Zoom the photo as you wish, remember you can crop in the photo editor. Using the remote shutter or a steady hand, take a photo of the photo. Examine the image to make sure it is good, check the focus, if it is distorted and glare. Set this photo aside and continue in your stack. You can sort them into groups if you want here to help organize them.
After copying them, download them to your computer. Use the photo editing program to adjust, crop and save them. Use a slideshow program to create a slideshow with music, email it to friends and family. You should also archive them to CD or DVD at this point. Picasa can do all of this, and did I mention it’s free?
This method can be used to copy just about anything, cookbooks, 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 found this article useful.
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