I seem to ask a lot of questions about photos lately
February 11, 2013 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend some scanning software for me? I need to scan a whole bunch of older photos, and I'd like to do it relatively quickly.

I have an HP8500A Scanner/Printer combo, which is attached to a Windows Vista desktop.

My main requirement is that I be able to scan multiple photos at a time and have the software automatically break them up into individual images. My mother's came-with-her-printer scanner software did this, but mine doesn't seem to, or at least I haven't been able to figure out how. I've also tried to do it in Irfaan View and GIMP, and neither of those did it, either, that I could find.

Although my mother's did not do this, I've also determined that some software will deskew those images, as well, straightening up the alignment. That would also be nice.

If there's anything else I *should* be looking for in scanning software, feel free to tell me.

Normally I'd just go to download.com and pick whatever the highest rated thing is, but I'm getting a lot of stuff that's not image scanning software at all, and I don't know what the right keyword is to search to get just what I'm looking for. I don't mind paying a smallish amount for this software if I have to.

The end goal is to use the photos to make a photobook for my family, so this doesn't need to be a super high end solution, but I have about 150 photos to scan now, and I'd estimate this is only about 10% of the full set of photos to be dealt with.
posted by jacquilynne to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think you can do this with VueScan, which is probably the best or second-best scanning software in existence (the only thing that comes close is SilverFast and that's stupidly expensive). It's cheap and you should definitely look into it.

However, I think you should reconsider your workflow. Rather than trying to scan multiple photos on the flatbed at once, I think you'll do just as well to work out the settings to scan one photo per pass, in the exact same position, with the same settings, each time. (You can scan to raw so there's no postprocessing time with VueScan, as well.) If you are using reasonable settings like 150 or 200 DPI color on a USB 2.0 scanner, and you put the photos right up at the top of the scanner, this is quite quick. Scan, change, scan, change, etc., without previewing. You can probably just leave the scanner lid up and hold them gently in place, if they are printed on sufficiently thick photo paper.

I tried doing the multiple-photos-per-pass thing and honestly it took longer to get them on and off the scanner bed without getting fingerprints everywhere than it did to just quickly scan a single one per pass.

Make sure that the photos are always oriented with the long edge going across (transverse to the way the scanning head moves) the scanner, since that will cut scanning time significantly.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:15 PM on February 11, 2013

you might need to download the scanner/printer driver from the manufacturer's website if it isn't on one of your discs. your scanner should come with the appropriate scanning software or tell you to download it from their site.
posted by wildflower at 5:02 PM on February 11, 2013

Response by poster: My scanner has an on-board scanning interface, but it doesn't offer the feature I've mentioned here -- letting me scan multiple photos in one shot and then dividing them up for me. There isn't separate installed software for scanning available for it.

I am trying out VueScan, but while it offers that feature, it's not divvying things up very well. But I'll try reading the manual and see if I'm doing something wrong when I adjust the margins.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:32 AM on February 12, 2013

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