Summer Slide Scanning

Summer Slide Scanning

Just like plumbers always have leaking taps… photo organisers always have their own collections of photos that need scanning/organising!

Before Christmas my grandmother moved from her home of nearly 60 years into a retirement home. I knew she had a lot of 35mm slides stored away in a hall cupboard that I planned to take and convert to digital ONE DAY, but when we cleaned out her house, this is what I found…

Inside each of these boxes were anywhere from 100 – 300 slides. There were over 4000 slides in total! So I planned to set aside some time over the Christmas/Summer break to get stuck into scanning them.

Slide scanning is a slow process – each slide can take up to 2 minutes each, depending on the resolution you are scanning at, and the features you apply to each scan such as dust/scratch removal, colour adjustments, etc.

As there were quite a lot of scenic shots from my grandparents travels, I decided to just scan the slides with people in them, images of homes they had lived in, as well as 2 or 3 good scenic shots from each holiday. So I was scanning anywhere from 20-70 slides per box.

I am very fortunate my grandparents were very particular about labelling and recording data about each slide (that’s where I get my organisational skills from!). Each individual slide has been labelled with box number and slide number and a logbook has written details of dates/locations/people for each individual slide! No investigative work required here and it made my job of recording this information in the metadata of the digital files very easy.

Yesterday I saved the digital files of the scanned slides to a USB and took them to show my grandmother on my tablet. She spent nearly an hour scrolling through images of her, her family, friends, her travels and homes from over 50 years ago. Many of these images she hadn’t seen since the old slide projector was last set up over 30 years ago. She was amazed. And it was great for her memory to be able to recall people and places that these images were taken. It made my hours and hours of scanning over my summer break and late at night all worth it!

Once they are all finished, I plan to get her a digital photo frame, so that she can view the digital images anytime she wishes in her own room. I will also save the digital files to USB flash drives and post them to my extended family. So rather than these precious images collecting dust in a hall cupboard, they are now able to be shared, viewed and enjoyed by many for years to come.

Now that they are (nearly) all scanned, I am looking for ways to dispose or repurpose these 35mm slides. I will keep some of the good ones, but all these boxes do take up a lot of space. But how to dispose of them with the environment in mind and not just dump them in the bin? If you have any suggestions, please let me know!


  • Fiona Brooker
    Posted at 12:38h, 20 January

    What a fantastic job done.

    Have you thought about contacting your local library or museum to see if they would like the slide collection? Our local library has a photo hunt collection every year to get photos of the more ordinary days rather than the special days or events. Alternatively if the holidays were taken in specific towns, their libraries might be interested in the ones they feature in.

    And if all else fails, there’s some cool ideas on Pinterest – start with Photo Slide Craft.

    • admin
      Posted at 21:31h, 21 January

      Thanks Fiona! Great suggestions. I will have to do some research and see if my local library are interested. My grandparents were fortunate enough to travel quite a lot, so I fear if I decided to send them to each specific town, it would be quite time consuming! But still a good suggestion for the larger quantities of scenic shots.

  • Nadine
    Posted at 21:18h, 21 January

    Hi I’m interested to know what scanning machine did you use please? Was it specific to the slides?

    • admin
      Posted at 21:27h, 21 January

      Hi Nadine, we use an Epson Professional flatbed scanner with 35mm slide holders. Most of the Epson Perfection flatbed scanners come with 35mm slide holders and you can then use the scanner for photographs and documents as well!

  • Jaymee
    Posted at 10:08h, 26 January

    Hi what a Fab job !!!
    I am just finishing up photobook number 8 (800 pages in total) of the 6 months we lived in Europe (Portugal) but also travelled to other countries in 2017
    Waiting for last book to arrive so glad it’s done took me 2 yrs ….

    • admin
      Posted at 21:49h, 31 January

      Great work!