Scanning with my Digital Camera

[This is my post in response to the Weekly Genealogy Blog Prompt #14, “Technology I Use in My Genealogy Research”]

I have an aversion to my scanner. I am fully qualified to use it. I’ve got no problem with the software. It’s just that it’s such a slow process. Scan, check, crop, adjust…it’s enough to drive me nuts. Also, short of building a tunnel, it’s almost impossible to get to my scanner.

A few years ago, my Uncle showed me how to use a 35mm camera to take photographs of photographs. The thought occurred to me about a year ago that I might be able to do the same thing with my digital camera.

I found it works quite well on most things. I can take photographs of documents very easily. Photographs are a little more difficult. Small photographs still have to be scanned, but regular sized and larger photographs are a piece of cake!

A couple of tips:
1. Pull documents out of glossy sleeves. They will cause a big glare spot to appear in the middle.
2. Use your regular lens on photographs. Zooming sometimes distorts the facial feature. Try it different ways then choose the best.
3. If you are getting glare spots, position the item being photographed to the side of the viewer. I set them up on my desk, the focus on a spot directly to the right. I make sure I’ve got the photograph and then some extra space to the side. If you do it correctly, the glare spot will be just to right of your photograph.
4. Play around with angles and distances. In that way, you can learn what works best.

Once you’ve taken your shots, upload them to your computer. From there you can crop them as necessary.

To me it’s a lot easier than scanner. It takes less time. You can take multiple photographs of the item, then delete the ones that didn’t turn out. This is how I use technology to aid my research.

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