Posted by: stackedfivehigh | January 15, 2010

Today, grasshopper, we scan

Today I worked on the photo side at the museum, scanning photos.  And who doesn’t know how to scan photos, right?  But today I learned how to do it with cotton gloves on, AND the purpose of that little histogram graph thing, which I was pretty convinced was there to trick people.

Archival scanning is definitely different from what I do when I’m scanning physical pictures that I have laying around the house.  You really try to document exactly what the original looks like, so you have to convince the helpful software to not automate any corrections.  Then it’s saved as a .tiff, because you don’t want it compressed.  I can’t imagine how much storage they have. I used Photoshop Essentials, which was pretty straightforward.  I have Photoshop 5.5 at home, not sure how different the software is between the two.  I really only used the import function today.

It was sort of a combination of interesting and tedious, because you’re really doing exactly the same thing over and over again.  Definitely not something for people who can’t relax into repetition.  And definitely a good day to remember the mp3 player.

So, how was your day?



  1. So, what WAS the purpose of the histogram?

    • Well, we didn’t go into how to use it to make things better, but essentially the histogram shows the tonal distribution in the picture, and even if you tell the software to not do any automatic adjustments, it will still try to correct the tonal distribution to keep it from being too light or too dark. So I had to open the histogram control for each scan and change the settings so that it would capture the full range of tones that were there. It pretty much just caused all the pictures to be darker, but was a more accurate representation of what the physical photo showed.

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