If you want to scan photos fast, this is the tool you need to find – a batch feed photo scanner – and you may be able to use one for free.
Batch Feed Photo Scanners
These scanners allow you to stack piles of photos on the scanner and the device feeds them through, one by one, and will output them as high resolution scans.
- Scan batches of 25 photos in less than one minute
- Photos sized 8×10 to very small
- Resolutions from 300 to 1200 dpi
- File outputs may include TFF, JPEG, and more
- Options to scan the front and back of each photo
- Options to auto-adjust for red-eye
- Options for auto-cropping
- Options for rotating images
- Options for outlining photos in black/white/or no outline
- Many more settings
Find a Free Scanner
Here are the places to check for free batch photo scanners:
- Your local LDS Family History Center or Affiliate FamilySearch Library – these are located worldwide and many have free scanners, including batch photo scanners (I’ve used one of these scanners at a local Family History Center five minutes from my home.)
- Your local library
- A nearby college or university library (I’ve used these batch feed photo scanners for free at a local university library thirty minutes away.)
- Ask your friends – my neighbor owns one, yours may too
If you can’t find a batch photo scanner you can use for free, consider:
- A local Genealogical Society or Historical Society – they may have these free for members and membership is often as little as $10/year
- Rent a scanner – you might want to split the cost/rental time with a few friends
- Attend a Genealogy or Scrapbooking convention or event where EZ Scan or Kodak or a similar provider will have scanners set up; EZ Scan sets up scanners at RootsTech that are free for event participants to use
How to Scan Photos Fast- the right tool for the job
A batch photo scanner is the right tool for the job. Two popular scanners are the Kodak Picture Saver Scanning System and the Epson Fast Photo Scanner.
I’ve only had free access to a Kodak, so I’ll discuss the Kodak here, but free is free, if it outputs quality photos and scans in batches, that’s the tool for the job.
Warning: batch feeding paper scanners will not give you the same resolution and quality as a batch feeding photo scanner.
How to Use a Batch Feed Photo Scanner
Here’s a video showing how it works.
Here’s a written version of the basic steps for scanning with a batch feed photo scanner.
- Turn on the scanner, the switch is located on the back of the scanner
- Plug an external hard drive or a USB card with adequate storage space into the computer
- Find the Kodak Photo Scanner on the associated computer & open the app
- Type your name/other text into the “Order” box, hit Continue
- Type a name/text into the “File Name” box, this will be the name you want the photos to be filed under
- A screen will appear with many options, select “Settings” and choose from the options below and then select OK:
- Front Side, Back Side, or Two Sided
- Color or Grayscale
- Resolution: 300-1200 dpi
- File Format/Compression: JPEG, TIFF
- Sharpen Images: None, Low, High
- Image Cleaner Tool: On/Off
- Crop Border: Normal or Aggressive
- Fill Border: None, Black, White
- Place your photos in the batch scanner, with the first photo at the back, laying against the machine.
- Select Batch Scan on the computer & when the photos are almost all fed through the machine, add another pile.
- If the machine doesn’t autofeed your next pile of photos, select Batch Scan again to restart the scanning process.
- If you need to edit the photos, you have options to Redo the Batch Scan, Auto Rotate, Fix Red Eye, etc before you finish
- Select “Scanning Completed” when you finish
- You’ll see a window that asks if you want to “Exit this scan session? The order will be saved.” Select Yes
- Open the Temp folder where the program saves your photos & move them to your external memory stick/hard drive/etc
- Open your external memory stick/hard drive/etc and confirm the scanned photos were moved to your device, then go back to the Temp folder and confirm your photos are no longer there. If there’s a duplicate copy still in the Temp folder, select it & select delete to take your personal photos off the public computer.
Here’s a link to some ideas on How to Prep Before You Scan, which, with these batch feed photo scanners, is much more time-consuming than the actual scanning.