How to Make a Facial Reference Catalog - Step 2

Now we’re going to start scanning some photos. Photos that you know are OK to use, by the way.

If you're scanning faces, you'll want them to be at least one and a half inches high to be useful for your book (think: passport photo size). If you're scanning photos of hats, jewelry, or other objects, use your own best judgment about how much detail you're going to need. You can start with somewhat smaller photos and scan them at a higher resolution, but this is an added step of processing that you want to avoid if possible. They probably aren’t going to look as good either. When you have hundreds of pictures to scan, it's easiest if they are all around the same size so you can get in a production-type workflow. Also, avoid pictures from magazines. Two reasons: they are copyrighted (a big no-no), and you will get an obnoxious moire pattern when you scan it.

Put the photos on the scanner, but leave a little space between don't want them to touch (you'll see why in a minute). We’re going to scan these at 300 ppi (pixels per inch).  Here I’ve put 4 photos on the scanner, and hit preview. Then I drew a marquee around the whole batch, and got this scan.


Some scanners allow you to draw a marquee around each image individually, and scan them all at once creating four separate files. If your scanner has that (nice) just go ahead and do it that way. But if it doesn’t, that’s no problem at all.

Just go to File>>Automate>>Crop and Straighten Photos.


Then sit back and be amazed as what was once one file with four images that you thought you had to separate, are now four distinct files all on their own!



Pretty cool, huh? Create a separate folder, call it "Scans", or something else appropriate, and save them in there. Don’t try to sort them into the category folders yet, and don’t bother with giving them other special names either. “Scan copy 1.jpg,” “Scan copy 2.jpg” etc are fine. Just be careful, you don’t want to over-write any scans when you do your next batch.

Now would be the time to put some good music on your iPod and scan away. Once you get going, it goes really fast.  Just be careful, again, that you don’t accidentally over-write any of your previously scanned files when you save each new batch. If you have plenty of photos, you’ll be shocked to discover that you can scan upwards of 200 in an hour...that's how many I was able to do!

Of course, if you are scanning 8x10 photos it’s going to take you forever, so I recommend sticking with smaller images. As long as it’s a crisp photo, where the person’s face is about 1.5 inches high, and you scan it at 300 ppi, you’re good to go. You don’t need huge images for this.

That’s it for now; the next post will tackle getting additional photos when you've run out of ones to scan. That's Step Three.