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Share and Preserve Your Photos

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In this chapter you'll learn how to use a personal computer, the Internet, and a scanner to digitize, protect, and preserve your family photo heritage.
This chapter is from the book

Ever talk to an insurance claims adjuster? I did as part of my research for a TV segment on the topic of how to use a PC and scanner to digitize and preserve family print photos. I wanted to know what people grab on the way out the door when disaster strikes. He told me that after ensuring their loved ones and pets were safe, his clients, with very few exceptions, rushed back inside to retrieve family photo albums and home video tapes as their top priority. Not jewelry, not computers, and not even clothing took top billing.

In this chapter I'll show you how to use a personal computer, the Internet, and a scanner to digitize, protect, and preserve your family photo heritage. After you get a grip on the basics of photo restoration, I'll show you how to store family photo albums online for safekeeping. And finally we'll use several creative album-making programs to produce lasting digital heirlooms.

You'll learn how to

  • Store family digital photos online using a free photo processing service

  • Digitally spruce up old, faded, or damaged photos

  • Use multimedia software programs to make animated and music-enhanced digital photo albums

  • Explore a variety of digital album output options, including CDs you can play back on a PC or a DVD player connected to a TV

  • Use an online service to make professional quality, annotated paperback or hardcover albums based on your digital snaps

As with the previous chapter, the projects use free trial software downloaded from the Internet.

If you have a ton of family video tapes at home, stand by. In Chapter 4, "Lights, Camera, Action!," we'll look at how your home PC can help digitize and preserve them.

Skills and Gear Check

Before you jump into the projects, take a quick look below at the list of assumptions I’m making about your skills and gear.

Key assumptions:

  • You have a high-speed DSL or cable link to the Internet. You will be uploading numerous photos using the Internet and downloading large program files, as you did in Chapter 2, "Get Creative with Digital Pictures." A dial-up connection will be too frustrating and unreliable.

  • You own a digital scanner and you know how to scan a print photo (if not, see Chapter 2).

  • Your PC uses Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. All onscreen operating system illustrations, dialog boxes, and pop-up menu samples are based on Windows XP.

  • You have a CD or DVD disc recorder (also known as a writer or burner) built into your PC, and you know how to make a data or music CD.

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