About Mitch Goldstone

Mitch Goldstone is president & CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com, the ecommerce photo digitization service, founded in 1990

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How do you remove a photo stuck to glass? Here are some ideas.

 

Have you ever had a photograph in a frame for so long that it has become stuck to the glass and can’t figure out how to get it off?


photostucktoglass1 300x200 - How do you remove a photo stuck to glass? Here are some ideas.I recently ran into this problem after my family had some new family portraits done. My wife decided it was time to update some of the picture frames around the house and found one photo, despite being only in the frame for a year, had become stuck to the glass.


I’ve collected the three most common DIY tips from around the web that I found while I searched for my own solution to this problem. Just like most everything in life, everyone has an opinion and what worked for me, may not work for you and only do what you are comfortable doing with your photos. These may or may not work for you so proceed with caution.


We have loads of other helpful photography tips here


BEFORE YOU START, MAKE A COPY

First and foremost, before you do ANYTHING, make a digital backup of the image. If something goes wrong while you are trying to peel the photo off, the picture could be ruined. You will either need to locate the negative to make a new one or, even worse, if there is no negative, the picture will be lost forever.


There are two methods to create a digital backup. The first is to use a flatbed scanner and scan the image a high resolution (at minimum 600dpi). While this is the easier of the two options, depending on the scanner, it may not scan as sharp since the photo is not directly on the scanner glass, instead, it has a second piece of glass between the scanner and the photo. This results in the photo not being on the exact focal point for the scanner and can lead to a soft image instead of a nice crisp image.



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IMG 8694 300x201 - How do you remove a photo stuck to glass? Here are some ideas.

The second method is to use an SLR camera to take a picture of the image. This is a bit more difficult since it is nearly impossible to take a photo exactly perpendicular to the picture so the slight angle will create a small bit of distortion. If you have Photoshop, this is an easy fix, however. The second challenge is making sure there is nothing reflecting off the glass while maintaining enough light to get a good picture. I did this outside, in the afternoon with the sun to my left. With me looking straight down, the sun reflected at an angle onto the glass with an exit reflection to the side. This is definitely more work to use this method, but if you have thick glass, the camera can focus on the print instead of the glass, unlike the scanner.



 




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Avoid light exposure

Of course, there is a third option. Take the photo to your local scanning company and have them scan the photo for you. We have seen this in the past and had success creating a suitable digital backup of the photo before the customer tries to remove the photo. You may not be local to ScanMyPhotos but we are international and digitize as much as 300,000 photos each day.



waterdamage 300x199 - How do you remove a photo stuck to glass? Here are some ideas.Lastly, before you start trying to remove the photo from the glass, review the digital file and make sure that it is to your liking. Don’t assume that it came out or rely on looking at the thumbnail image. Zoom in 100% and review the entire image to look for flaws or issues such as reflections and clarity of the image.


wikiHow to Remove Glue from Photos


REMOVING THE PRINT FROM THE GLASS

There are a number of suggestions out there but I will first dive into what worked for us.
HEAT – Using the low heat setting, take a hair dryer and blow warm air about 4-5 inches away from the back of the print. This heats up the area between the photo and glass and loosened the hold on the photo. We were able to pull back a small corner and then slowly continue the process until the whole photo was removed unharmed but a little curled (nothing putting it under a heavy book for a while won’t cure).


rain 300x204 - How do you remove a photo stuck to glass? Here are some ideas.These are unconfirmed methods but are the two other main methods I found online for removing that photo stuck to the glass.


WATER – Soak the photo and glass in water, preferably warm water for a color photo. Mike, a Senior Member of the RetouchPro.com forum writes,


“Done a bunch of this!I have found that just plain water is a good place to start with any photograph that says 1930 or newer. Depending on what the customer says and what I see, we usually make a copy of the photo before we start the process, just in case we run into something bad. Soaking in plain water will work pretty well if the print has not been on the glass for a long time. Sometimes we get photos in where they have been on the glass for what appears to be decades or something and those can be a real problem. For those, I add PhotoFlo to the water. Photoflo is a thick liquid you add to the final rinse when developing film. It breaks the waters surface tension on the film and seems to help the water penetrate into the paper emulsion that is stuck to the glass. One would not want to use a hair dryer on one of these. It seems that getting a print wet, then having it stick to the glass and then dry is about the worst thing that can happen. These are much easier to do if the prints are still damp when you get them. Very often I let the print soak for hours and sometimes days. However, you really have to watch them so they just don’t dissolve on you (remember the copy made before you started?)”


COLD – Freeze the photo and glass. Take photo and glass out of the frame and wrap in some newspaper to protect it from damage. Place it in Freezer for an hour, wearing rubber gloves to protect hands in event glass breaks, remove photo and glass from the freezer, and open the paper, gently pull up on the corner of the photo, it should come away from the glass. If it still doesn’t, use a credit card and insert card between glass and photo and pry, gently, very gently, to separate the two. Moisture got between glass and photo that’s why they are stuck together so freezing it makes is no longer sticky.


One thing to note is that every situation is different and what works for one person on one photo may not work for another. Personally, I would be comfortable using the hair dryer or the freezer method for amateurs and leave the wet process for the professionals that have experience in a dark room.


PREVENT FUTURE OCCURRENCES


One last tip to prevent future occurrences, make sure valued photographs are placed in frames with an archival quality photo-safe mat. This adds necessary space between the glass and the object, and a buffer for humidity, which caused it to stick to the glass in the first place. This article from the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works is a great reference on how frame documents and other works of art.


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How One Road Trip Led to a Quest to Build a Family Archive

Ever dream of traveling the country to experience each region’s unique lifestyle and cuisine, take in the grandeur of the national parks, and soak up everything our major cities have to offer?


Well, one of our customers, Seth Johnson, did just that with his wife – and that trip was the reason they got their photos scanned. While most people might get their photos scanned after a major trip, they had their photos scanned beforehand. When he explained why, it made perfect sense:


“My wife and I got married in our mid-30s, and we both had a large number of photos. Two years after we got married, we decided to move out of our house and into an airstream trailer and travel around the country. We didn’t have room to take much with us, but we knew if we had our photos scanned we could take them. So we did! They were sitting on a hard drive, and we’d plug the hard drive into Apple TV and watch our photos.”


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Photo Scanning and the 300 vs 600 DPI Myth

In Most Cases, Why 150 DPI Image Resolution Is All You Need


Before delving into the 300 vs 600 DPI photo resolution myth, from the 600 million pictures digitized at ScanMyPhotos. We have an important insight. Most people scanning pictures are primarily just uploading to social media photo-sharing apps, where 150 DPI is ideal. That is what we launched ONE CENT PHOTO SCANNING.



Consumer Alert: ScanMyPhotos.com Reveals Why May Be Wasting Money Scanning Pictures at Higher Resolutions



When discussing the resolution of digital images, far too often people get hung up focusing on DPI (or PPI) as a way to measure the size and quality of a digital image. This may sound completely wrong to you, but the DPI of an image has nothing to do with digital image quality. The reason? A digital image’s resolution is expressed as it’s pixel dimensions, either as pixels by pixels or the often heard keyword, megapixels. So why do people get hung up on DPI? The simple reason is that when it comes to printing, DPI actually IS the measure of quality. Confusing, right?


Click on each image below. Can you tell the difference?


1,000 DPI image

1,000 DPI

10 DPI image

10 DPI image


You should be saying to yourself, “They look exactly the same.” Both are 600 x 900 pixels, both saved at the exact same 20% compression rate but they have vastly different DPI values. So why isn’t there a visual difference? As noted above, digital image quality is measured by the number of pixels in an image, either by the pixel dimensions or the megapixel value. In this case, they are both 0.5-megapixel images since they have the exact same pixels dimensions (600 x 900 pixels).





For standard uploading to social media photo-sharing sites, standard 150 DPI is ideal.


Now, if you want to discuss the DPI of a digital image, YOU MUST ALSO assign a physical size to it. You can’t simply say, “This image is 200 dpi.” You have to say something like “This image is 200 dpi at 4 inches by 6 inches.” It is important to remember that a digital image has no absolute size or resolution. Think about this, when do you typically discuss DPI? The answer you should be thinking about is “When I want to print the image.” This is where DPI comes into play because a printer may output at 150 dpi, 200 dpi or 300 dpi and each would require a different file size to print the optimum print. You may also be thinking that you discuss DPI when you scan a photo, but we will get to that later. For uploading to social media, 150 dpi is adequate.


The issue that causes all this confusion is that many users interpret a photo editing program’s reference to DPI as a measure of “resolution” but this is actually the displaying the OUTPUT or printing resolution, not the resolution of the digital image. Has this happened to you: You had your photos scanned by ScanMyPhotos but when you open the file in Photoshop, it says that it is 72 dpi and you clearly paid for 600 dpi? Before you start writing a strongly worded letter to ScanMyPhotos, look at the width and height? Does it show that the photo is 50″ by 33″? We all know you did not send a 3 foot by 4-foot photo for scanning so what happened? Nearly all monitors can only display 72 dpi so most programs default to showing 72 dpi.




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So, when working in Photoshop, for example, the first thing you want to do when looking at File->Image Size is to TURN RESAMPLE IMAGE OFF. If you then turn your attention to the rest of the dialog box, you can see it connects Resolution, Height, and Width together while Pixel Dimensions is separate and uneditable from the Document Size. As long as you have Resample Image turned off if you change any one of the values for Width, Height or Resolution you simultaneously change the other two, but the Pixel Dimensions will always remain the same. As the resolution goes up, the width and height go down, and vice versa, because a digital image has no absolute size or resolution. All it has is a certain number of pixels in each dimension that will be displayed on a monitor or screen. Click on the image below for a detailed look at the relationship between size and DPI and how it doesn’t affect the actual pixels in the image.

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10 Tips for Making Your #ThrowbackThursday A Viral Hit

Throwback Thursday example

My mom with me, when I was about the same age as my son, is now.

 

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Mitch Goldstone as a boy in 1967 at Disneyland with his father, who died two years later. “Imagine if someone had tossed this?” he asks. Instead, a photo restoration made the old photo look new again. (Courtesy of www.scanmyphotos.com)

Recently, here at ScanMyPhotos.com, we polled a population of our customers to find out what their key motivators were for digitizing their analog snapshots. We expected to hear that people were looking to preserve family history, or salvage crumbling photo albums from Father Time.

We figured social media would play into their plans, but boy was we surprised when we found out that 45 percent of our new customers traced their motivation back to the viral hit #ThrowbackThursday!

 

If you are a social media fan, especially if you love Instagram where the #ThrowbackThursday (#tbt) phenomenon started back in 2011, then you are already familiar with the raucous laughter that this trend brings to the end of a work week.

After spending way too much office time surfing #tbt pictures, we realized that folks might like a little creative suggestion to help them make the most of their Thursday photo fun. So, here we have our top 10 considerations for getting the most out of your #ThrowbackThursday.

 

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How to Take Remarkable Holiday Photos

Santa Gets a Bear HugBetween the excitement, non-stop activity, and inevitable exhaustion, it can be incredibly hard to snap holiday photos that truly capture the happiness, surprise, and delight of the season.


Here are some tips on how to snap not one, but many, remarkable holiday photos:


Take “tight” shots


Move in close to your subject, whether it’s the entire family, or just the kids, so they fill up the entire frame. If you’re taking candid shots, zoom in so as not to distract the subject. Tight shots produce photos that are much more impressive and impactful than ones filled with distractions.



Snap an excessive amount of photos


This is especially true when you are trying to take a group shot because capturing everyone looking perfect at once is a monumental task. Adjust the settings on your camera to burst or continuous mode so it will take photos in rapid succession – and snap away. Take more photos than you think you will need. You can always delete the awful ones later!


Turn off the flash when indoors


If you are taking photos indoors, turn off the flash to prevent the artificial light it emits from making a photo appear “flat.” During the day, position your subjects near a window (but not in front of it!) to take advantage of the natural light. At night, turn on every light in the room and light up the space like a stadium.


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