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filmscanners: Archiving Photos

This applies to photo-archiving only, so others can move on. It's a bit of 
working technique.

I learned another lesson this morning, that I thought I should pass along. 
As I've mentioned more than once, I've been archiving photos for my family 
at 300dpi by X, and JPEGing them. That size because it will make a decent 
printout. I've also mentioned that I got 5000+ pictures onto one CD by using 
JPEG compression. That number was unexpected but appreciated--if you're 
distributing to a lot of people, *One Disc* is a good number to use. :-)

Some of the downsides I'd noticed before: 1> Photos that had to be modified 
to bring up detail occasionally posterized when I JPEGed them. At least, 
that's what they do when they're brought up on an LCD screen. No way did I 
see it when I saved them.  2> A photo at 900ppi that's viewed as a Web 
picture (some basic systems automatically do this) overflows the screen, and 
you have to move the scroll bars to see them. I added IrfanView freeware to 
avoid this, but probably some of my audience/family isn't computer-savvy 
enough to handle it.

Now I've just found an isolated *third* downside problem--"unverified" JPEGs 
are not as good as you'd think they are. And if you need to do image 
enhancement later, a compressed JPEG is *not* what you'll want to work from!

Case-in-point: I'm looking for a Birthday Remembrance for my 2nd cousin 
once-removed (yeah, figure *that* out if you're not a  "familyologist"!), 
who is turning 80-years-young next week. I find a picture in my files, and 
it's almost perfect--an aunt and 2 cousins (including the one who's turning 
80), taken 71 years ago. Problem: the aunt (now deceased) is backed by a 
bright sky, who, given the cheapness of the lens and camera, is very "burned 
out" in this print. Doing the retouching at the time I scanned it would have 
been a smart thing to do, but I had 5000 pictures to do in 10 month's time 
(while attempting to lead a life)--and I simply didn't have time to do it.

Cut to the chase: The photo looks "fine" printed at 4"x5" and even at 
8"x10", but it could look a lot better if my aunt's face weren't so 
overexposed. But "burning in" the details on a JPEG causes big-time 
artifacts. Can it be corrected with retouching? Yes I think so. Should I 
have JPEGed it as low as 40kb? No, that was a mistake.

Can I do this retouching? Yes. Do I think you can? Yes. Do I think you'd 
*need to* if I hadn't passed this info along? Probably.  So the moral of the 
story is, "For best results, save JPEGs in a program that give you a choice 
of compressions, and a preview of what you'll supposedly get when you save 
your JPEG." And always save at a little less compression than you think 
you'd need, if you can. 100% is good--work down from there.

Oh. And if you have any suspicion that you'll need to retouch something at 
some later date, also save the picture in a less-compressed format. :-)

Best regards--LRA

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