Preserving Priceless Photos

Dear Computer Lady,

I am grateful to be able to ask a question that is making me crazy.

I have hundreds and hundreds of old photos that are priceless that I need to scan to make them available to all family. In the best world, I would love to give them each a disc with all the photos.

My question is – is there a particular program that would make this as simple and easy as possible. I think I probably have to scan each one but I’m looking for a program that I can put the picture, organizing them and then be able to have a space to explain the picture and name the people. And for it to look nice – a little bit polished? Am I dreaming? Or is there a program out there?

I know that you can hire a service to do all the scanning which would be so awesome, however, it’s not an affordable option for me.

Thanks for any direction!! Sincerely, Lora

Dear Lora,

You are right that you will need to scan each photo with a scanner. The software that comes with the scanner should make that part easy for you. I like the Epsom Perfection series of scanners, they are high quality (You will get better scans than you will from an inexpensive printer/scanner/copier machine) last a long time (I am on my second one in 20 years) and the software that comes with it has a lot of options.

I would scan each photo in .jpg format since that is pretty universal, and the file format will be used for many years to come.

You can organize the pictures with a combination of file names (1985summer001.jpg for example) and folders. I usually have one folder for each year, with quarterly folders inside. If there is a big event that year like a wedding, it would get its own folder as well.

If you organize them in a program like powerpoint, or publisher, your photos are only as good as the program you use. If the person you send it to doesn’t have that program, or the company making the program stops developing or supporting it, people would not be able to view the photos.

You can add information to the photos in a couple of ways. After you have scanned the image, you can open it in a photo program like Picasa (which is free from Google) and add tags. A tag can be a person’s name, or an event. Once you have tagged your photos in Picasa, the information is part of the picture and can be accessed by right-clicking and clicking on “Properties” then look at the “Details” tab.

Another idea would be to write or type a small description on paper, and scan it with the photo. That way, your description would be part of the image.

Once you have your photos scanned and organized into folders, you can burn those folders to a CD or DVD using any burning program. I would just burn it as a data disk, then anyone can use the pictures on their computer.

I hope this helps you with your photos.


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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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    • DiggerP
    • May 8, 2016

    Hi Lora,

    Since Elizabeth gave such an excellent reply to you questions, I’m only going to address
    or offer a few solutions to the last part of your questions regarding adding descriptions
    to your Photos.

    The caption is preferably at the bottom of the picture, but can also be on top or at the sides.

    One freeware program that can do top or bottom is Photo Caption Creator
    It’s easy to use and it’s the only thing it does – Create captions
    Download from

    Some tips – play with the line spacing to get the correct space between the lines
    Also ALWAYS add a suffix to the name when saving – By default it saves to the source folder
    and if not renamed will overwrite the original.
    Do a trial run with a demo picture and play with the settings..

    Another one and also simple to use is an older version (V5.3) of FastStone Capture, (Last Freeware)
    which can also do several other editing jobs as wel as screen capture.
    Uses very little resources and basically runs on “spit” lol
    Download from
    Tutorial for a later version is from the author’s website

    The object with this program is to open the picture in the editor and expand the canvas.
    which can be done the moment the picture shows in the editor ,by grabbing the “handle” at the bottom. it can also be done through Edit or Draw then use the text Tool.

    Another one would be PicPick from – also freeware
    or IrfanView

    But for your purpose the first 2 would be sufficient,
    because the others are way more than you need.

    Hope this will be of help.
    Good luck with your project.


    • DiggerP
    • May 8, 2016

    Hi Lora,

    Re above message about FastStone capture, I forgot to insert the line
    that you can also use the Add Caption button on the Toolbar which is even faster…


    Sorry -couldn’t edit the previous post.

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