Now that you've got your photo scanned in, it's time to save it to your harddrive, choose an archival method, and select a good photo-editing program.
Storage Tips for Digital Photos
1) Choose your file type. The best file type for scanning and saving archival photos is TIF (Tagged Image Format), the undisputed leader when best quality is required. The popular JPG (JPEG) file format is nice because its compression algorithm creates smaller file sizes - making it the most popular photo format for Web pages and file sharing - but the compression which creates the small files also causes some quality loss. This loss of image quality is small, but becomes important when dealing with digital images that you plan to modify and resave (something that you are likely to do when restoring damaged or faded photographs) because the loss of image quality compounds itself at each saving of the file. Bottom line - unless space on your computer's harddrive is at a real premium, stick with TIF when scanning and saving digital photos.
2) Save an archive copy of the original photo in TIF format and place it in a special folder on your harddrive or copy to CD or other digital medium. Resist the urge to edit this original photo, no matter how bad it looks. The purpose of this copy is to preserve, as closely as possible, the original photograph in a digital format - a format that, hopefully, will outlast the original print photo.
3) Make a copy of your scanned photo to work on, rather than manipulating your original scan. Save it with a different filename (I often use the original file name, plus tack -edited on the end) to help prevent you from accidentally overwriting the original as you work on editing the photo.
Choosing a Graphics Software Program
The key to good digital photos is selecting a good graphics software program. If you don't have photo editing software yet, there are a lot of good options available - ranging from free photo editors, to beginner photo editors, to advanced photo editing software. For photo restoration, a mid-range graphics software program offers the best balance of function and price.
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