First, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t see an answer, please contact us.
How do I share a photograph?
After you’ve done all the hard work of preserving your family’s history, you can move on to the fun part: Sharing it!
Sharing your albums is as easy as clicking the ‘Share’ button and adding an email address.
How do I create and manage my family tree?
The Family Tree feature can help attach names and history to your photographs. Fill in your family tree, make albums about the members of your family tree, and be able to go through your family tree with photographic evidence about people’s existence.
How To Edit your Family Tree
1. Click on the ‘Family Tree’ button, on the left side navigation bar. This will take you to the “Family Tree” section. If you want to enter information, simply click on a box and start filling in what you know.
2. Click on the ‘Album’ button to attach photographs and albums of people to their family tree entries.
3. Choose the pictures you want to attach from your albums. The pictures you select will be displayed on a slide show in the bottom of the family tree entry, as well as on their leaf of the family tree.
How to add notes to a photo
Adding notes to your photos is an excellent way to preserve your family knowledge.
How To Make Written Notes
1. Click on the “Add Notes” button. The ‘Photo Notes’ window will then open. You can then add all known information about the photograph, from approximate date to the people it depicts. When you are done, simply click the X button. All of your information will be saved, until you want to change it next.
How To Make Audio Notes
Voice notes is one of the most exciting features offered by Special2Us. Using this feature, you can record the stories of your friends and family, saving their voices in perpetuity.
1. Make sure you are ready to record.
If you are speaking, go over what you intend to record a few times. While you can stop and start recordings, you cannot edit them after they are made. Therefore, it is best to have some idea of what you want to get across. If you are interviewing someone, consider writing up a brief script or guide. Make sure that the microphone you are using is turned on and plugged in. Remember that when you press ‘RECORD’, all of the noise in the vicinity of your microphone are taken in, so try to record somewhere with minimal ambient noise.
2. Navigate to the photograph you want to annotate. Click on the ‘Add Voice’ button.
3. When you are ready, press ‘RECORD’ and begin talking.
4. When you want to stop recording, press STOP
You can stop and start recordings multiple times, simply by pressing STOP and PLAY.
5. To get rid of a recording, press DELETE This will delete ALL portions of the recording instead of just one.
6. To play back recordings, press PLAY You can continue to record after you press PLAY.
7. When you are done recording, navigate away from the photograph.
When you want to view your notes, simply navigate to the photograph. The notes will be accessible at the top bar.
How to manage your albums
Placing your photos in themed albums is the most efficient way to keep track of them. Here, you will learn how to create and manage your albums.
How to Create A New Album
- Click on the “New Album” button
- Enter the name of your album in the pop-up window. Your album will then appear in the Albums bar to the right.
- How to Rename Your Album: Simply press the “Rename” button, select which album you want to rename, and type the replacement name into the popup window.
- Adding images to albums via upload. Before you upload an image (for tips on how to do this, see the previous section), click on the album you want the image to go in BEFORE you click the “Upload” button.
To put an image into the “Traveling” album, I would click on the album, make sure the album name was displayed at the top of the album bar, and then click “Upload”.
5. Moving and Copying Your Images Between Albums
First, click on the album you want to view. Next, scroll through the photos in the album until the one you want to move is displayed in the central album view. Then, click the “Organise” button.
Next, in the pop up window, choose the album you want to transfer the photo into.
If you choose to ‘Move’ your photo, the image will no longer be in the original album. If you choose to ‘Copy’ your photo, the image will be in both albums.
8) Adding Notes
6. Removing An Image From an Album
After you click the ‘Organise’ button, choose the ‘Remove’ option in the pop up window.
Uploading your photos
Uploading Photographs to Special2.us
Now that you have all of your images stored and arranged, the next step in uploading them onto the Special2Us website, where they can be safely stored and shared. All the work you’ve put in organizing your archive will make the next few steps simple and enjoyable. After you’ve uploaded, features such as the Family Tree, Notes, and Voice Recordings (for instructions on how to use these features, see sections 7 and 8).
How to upload images from your computer
1. Log in. You can use either your password and username, or your PixelPin log-on.
2. Click on the Upload button. You will then get the option to select a picture from your computer. Click on the desired picture. If you want to select multiple pictures, press the SHIFT key and arrow keys at the same time to select the pictures you want to upload. Your image will be uploaded into the album you have chosen. In this case, the album is Example Images. You can move or copy your photos into another album at any time.
Choose file to upload
How to upload images from Facebook
- Click on the “Import” button.
- Log in to your Facebook account by clicking on the “Log in with Facebook” button and entering your details in the pop-up window.
- Choose the photos you would like to import by selecting them and clicking “create album”.Select the photos you wish to import.
4. Name the album you are importing the images into. Remember that you can re- sort your images from album to album.
How should I organise my digital archive?
Choosing suitable Image Management software
After scanning and collecting your digital files, one of the most important decisions to make is to choose suitable management of your digital archive. One of the benefits of a cloud based storage system such as Special2Us is that it can act as both a resource to manage your images, audio files while also giving users the ability to easily share the archive with loved ones with a simple link, create voice notes, view images 24/7 from anywhere in the world, enhance your old & damaged photos and this type of provider will be adding more and more services for client use and the months progress
If you are going to archive your photographs & document scans on your computer or tablet as well, you may wish to consider some form of “database management” software as well as becoming acquainted with photo retouching software.
Organising Folders and File names
If you were able to begin organising the folders and file names of your digital files during the scanning and importing stages, then congratulations, you can easily skip this step after adding those folders into the image management software of your choice. However, if you have pre-existing folders and image files in varying states of organisation already on your computer, there is a simple way to ease managing your archive in the future: Simply group photos and videos into folders that correspond to the depicted events and label them accordingly, with the event name and date, prior to adding these folders onto your image management software.
Both Special2Us and most image management software allows users to add notes, keywords or tags to individual files and groups of files, which can really help you look through your archive with ease.
Key-wording can seem intimidating and time-consuming at first, however, it is a valuable process that can be done at your own pace that can really make your digital archive come alive.
The first set of keywords that is essential for any archive is to input basic data such as the names of the subjects, the location, and the name and date of the event depicted. To use a previous example, of a group of images belonging to a folder labelled “David’s 21st Birthday Party – December 1971” on Special2Us, the notes or keywords, which can easily be inputted in the notes section to the left of the digital file could read as following: David, Birthday, London, December, 1971, Rose & Crown Pub, Party.
And after this information is inputted, anytime you search for any of those keywords, all of the files with that specific keyword will automatically show up. For instance, after doing basic key-wording for all of the files contained in your archive, a user can easily find all of the birthday photos of a specific person simply by doing a search for that person’s name and the keyword “birthday.”
In addition to Basic Key-wording , covering names, places, dates and events, another way to make the most of your archive to incorporate personalised and creative keywords that reflects the personalities of your family, which can range from types of poses that certain loved ones enjoy doing in photographs, like “pointing” or “peace sign” to emotive keywords such as “laughing” or “crying” which are often quite lovely to add to photographs of babies and children.
The wonderful thing about key-wording is that the notes and tags that are added are entirely up to you, so it’s best to have fun with the process of key-wording , to ensure that both the process of inputting data and navigating the archive will be a complete joy. The main importance is to remain consistent with the keywords used, and to input your notes across all the imagery you have available, which will take time, however patience is truly a virtue when putting your archive together and one that definitely pays off once you’ve created a resource that could essentially exist for numerous future generations of your family.
How do I get my photos from social media?
The objective of collecting your photographs and images back from social media sites is to ensure that your Special2Us service is as comprehensive and complete as possible: by putting all your information in one safe & secure place which is accessible 24/7 is that you (& whoever you wish to share it with) will not have to hunt to find details and your legacy will be complete for generations to come.
It is wise to use the original images which you uploaded to social media or to retrieve copies of the originals in order that you will be using the highest resolution (DPI) pictures possible: the advantage of this is that should you wish to make prints or indeed as screens & projectors improve technologically, the pictures on Special2Us are of the highest quality possible rather than the current default viewing process of 72DPI. The files you use will be bigger and take longer to upload but the viewing and reprinting results will be significantly better both in the short and in the long term.
The following is for guidance only and neither a definitive methodology nor a failsafe process: Special2Us cannot accept responsibility for your gathering of files back from Social Media site – whether using the following information or not. Special2Us cannot over emphasise the need for care and the use of a suitable anti-virus programme whilst undertaking the process of uploading and downloading media via the internet and from shared imagery
There are a number of simple ways to retrieve your photos from Facebook and the method you choose is entirely up to you
Through Facebook itself:
. 1) After logging into your account, go to the Settings section and click on ‘General”
. 2) At the bottom of your account summary, click on the link that reads “Download a copy of your Facebook data” which will generate a link that will be sent to your email address that will enable you to download not only the media that you’ve uploaded (photos and videos) but also copies of your public posts from your account.
Photograbber is free software, available for both PCs and Macs, that enables you to download your Facebook photos on your account after a simply downloading and logging into Facebook through the application.
Pick & Zip: https://www.picknzip.com/
Pick & Zip is free software that allows it’s users to download photos from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, and not only enables users to download photos posted through their own account, but also photos in which users have been tagged in on their friend’s accounts.
Retrieving your photos from Picasa is conveniently built in through Picasa itself, as detailed in the following link: https://support.google.com/picasa/answer/11021?hl=en-GB
Flickr has built in the capability for users with a Pro subscription to easily download their original uploaded photos through the website, however they unfortunately do not enable this feature for its free users.
All of the above methods of downloading your media from social media sites will save your media as a .zip file, which is an effective method of transferring an abundance of files into one simple file. After downloading a .zip file, they must then be ‘extracted’ or ‘unzipped’ for a user to look at the folder’s contents. Many computers have built in the function to ‘unzip’ in their operating system, which are linked below, additionally ‘unzipping’ can also be done easily through the free software also listed below, all of which provide detailed instructions on how to get started:
Opening Photos on a PC
How to open .zip files on Windows: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/compress-uncompress-files-zip-files#1TC=windows-7
Free .zip software Stuffit Expander: http://my.smithmicro.com/stuffit-expander-windows.html 7-Zip: http://download.cnet.com/7-Zip/3000-2250_4-10045185.html iZarc: http://www.izarc.org/
Apple How to open .zip files on Mac:
Opening .zip files on Macs is incredibly simple and can be done by simply double clicking the .zip file, which should automatically create a new folder which includes all the media contained within the .zip file. However if a separate program is more convenient the following free applications are also available for Mac users:
How do it get the best results from scanning?
Once you’ve become acquainted with how to use your scanner and have chosen a DPI, it’s time to start scanning!Where to Start?
One of the most confusing choices to make is what to start scanning, especially if there is an abundance of material to be scanned. The answer to this question is actually quite simple: it doesn’t matter where you start as long as you have a system in place to keep track of what you have done... where to start in the piles of photographs & documents is entirely up to you.
Don’t forget ... it’s not just the photograph/document you are dealing with!
You may well be looking at albums or boxes of photos, files and folders of documents or perhaps scrapbooks of interesting items: but in addition, these may well be accompanied by notes and letters and information handwritten on the backs of photographs: you could laboriously transcribe all of these pieces of information or you could also scan these calligraphic memories as well. By scanning the personal annotations, friends, family and archivists will then be able to see the type of writing a person had as well as what it was they were writing about: a great aunt’s notes and the way she wrote may be as interesting as the photo itself in the future
The Advantages of Cleanliness
It’s important to remember when scanning that your scanner will pick up everything within the scanning bed, including dust! With that in mind, when scanning, it is advisable to first make sure your scanner is clean of dust and that the surface of the imagery being scanned, whether it’s a photograph or a document, is as clean as possible as well, which can be done simply with a wipe of a clean soft cotton cloth prior to scanning.
Special2Us also offers scanning and photo restoration services for an additional cost.
Organising your files
A simple way to initially organise your scanning process is to create a series of general folders and then, having placed your scanned pictures and documents into these, to sub divide them down into more and more detail: for example, start with a General Folder, then within this, a Family Folder, within this Mother/Father/Sister/Brother Folder etc. Either using a text document such as Microsoft Word or your system’s NotePad, create a bank of information about the content of each folder.... Once you start of make notes on each individual image, you can combine the general information with more detailed text such as the information which you, your friends and relatives may have written on the back of the photographs or in the original photo albums (see above).
One of the best and helpful ways to organise your files by saving your files in folders that correspond to the set of imagery you’re scanning and labelling the files accordingly, ideally, numbered in the ordered that are scanned. All scanning software enables you to choose where the eventual file will be located on your computer, in addition to what you’d like the image’s filename to be. For example, if you’re scanning photos from a loved one’s birthday party, you can save all these images in a folder with the name and event and it’s date, with every image’s filename noting this.
Example: Folder Name: David 21st Birthday Party (December 1971)
If you will be passing the digital photo legacy on to friends & relatives, the information which you know and appears “obvious” may not be so to generations to come, it is important to ensure folders and photographs are identifiable... and indeed searchable by containing sufficient information: for example
“David 21st Birthday Party (December 1971)” in future times by grandchildren or whoever may create the question “David WHO?” Context within files names is as important as precise content
if you are keeping your files on your computer until your task is complete & before finally uploading to your safe private storage, don’t forget to back them up regularly and keep a copy in a safe place.
By uploading the photographs and documents to Special2Us, everything will have its own unique identifying number/category created and can be placed in Albums, the names of which you can choose. Each image will be given a Notes page into which you can insert information: dates, names, locations, people etc. If you wish you can also recount the information verbally so you will have an aural record of each photo. All files... visual & aural will be safely duplicated with a backup automatically created – in this way you can be assured all your information is safe and because its saved on the Cloud, you can access your treasured images & reminiscences from any computer/tablet, smartphone – anywhere in the world – at any time, through a highly secure, password protected and encrypted system.
How and what to scan
Though digitizing your images can feel daunting, it does not have to be. At the most basic level, it is just making images of another image using digital technology. The most simple way to do this is to use a digital camera or smartphone, which, when used correctly, can produce remarkably good results.
Scanners produce highly sophisticated reproductions, and are now almost ubiquitous. The majority of multifunction printers have an inbuilt scanning function which can be used: though this tends not to be of the highest quality nor can undertake negative or transparency scanning, it is likely to be suitable for “n-prints” which make up the majority of pictures in most people’s photo albums
As with everything electronic, scanners are getting better and better and cheaper & cheaper, you do not need the most expensive or sophisticated, the important aspects of your pictures are that they are safe and secure digitally and that all your memories and information are stored in conjunction with the images.
Pictures can be enhanced, improved or “repaired” at a later stage, by specialist software or quickly & efficiently by your storage provider so the critical aspect is to scan a sample number of photographs, upload them, see if you are happy with the results then either increase the resolution (see below: DPI) of the next batch of scans or continue to scan at your scanner’s default setting which are probably optimised for a combination of speed & storage space.
Types of scanners available
- Flatbed Scanners: Flatbed Scanners are the most common type of scanner available and are great for scanning printed matter, which can include everything from photographs to miscellaneous ephemera, such as programmes and ticket stubs from notable events to letters from loved ones and important documents such as Birth Certificates and Passports.
- Negative Scanners: There are now also a number of scanners that will additionally allow you to scan photographic negatives, which can be incredibly helpful if you own negatives that have yet to be printed. If you already own a flatbed scanner that doesn’t have the ability to scan negatives, there are also affordable scanners that are designed to specifically scan negatives and slide.
- Flatbed scanners that also have the ability to scan negatives will include useful inserts to place on to your scanner bed to hold your negatives or slides in place. While scanners that are specifically created to scan negatives will be designed to have slots that will specifically fit the types of negative that you would like to scan.
Types of Negatives
35mm – The most common type of photographic negative from the heyday of analogue (film) photography, these negatives are generally half the size of a matchbox, and as their size suggests, their dimensions measure 35mm x 24mm.
35mm Slides – Also known as ‘Reversal Film’, these are the visual opposites of 35mm negatives, in that they are actually positives of the captured image and often in full-colour and situated a handy cardboard frame that allows them to be inserted into a Slide Projector.
110 – 110 Film, which was popular in the 1970’s (from “Instamatic Cameras) and are much smaller than 35mm film, measuring 13 x 17mm, which is comparable to the length of the tip of a sharpened pencil to the beginning of it’s base.
Medium Format – These negatives are much larger than the common 35mm negative, measuring most commonly at 6x6cm (2 1⁄4 x 2 1⁄4 inch), and are most commonly associated with wedding photographers, professional and older vintage cameras that users looked down into, rather than straight through as most cameras are used today.
Large Format – As the name suggests, these negatives are quite large, measuring at 4 x 5 inches, and are commonly associated with the early days of photography, although the format continues to be used to this day by specialist photographers.
DPI: A brief explanation
DPI, which is an acronym for “Dots Per Inch,” is what’s most commonly referred to as the resolution of an image. When you start scanning t is wise to choose a DPI to be used across the board for everything you will be scanning.
Special2Us FAQ Version 2.0 March 2016 (www.Special2.us)
Choosing a DPI
The most common belief when choosing a DPI is to scan at the highest resolution your scanner allows, however it’s best to allow the selected DPI to be informed by the scanned imagery’s eventual use and how much data space is available on your computer.
For imagery that will only be viewed on computers and the web, a minimum of 72 DPI is recommended. However, if you’d like to eventually reproduce your scans as a print, 300 DPI an optimal compromise on technology speed, storage space and ease of viewability.
Scanning at a resolution such as 1200 or 2400 DPI is necessary when you are scanning negatives or slides (transparencies).
Some scanners will offer the option to scan at much higher resolutions as their “default” setting (600/1200/2400/4800/6000 DPI) and these levels have their advantages but if used will be slow and cumbersome for processing on most computers and therefore are generally reserved for professional use
Variations on DPI are suggested by various photo-manipulation programmes: Percentage / Pixels per Cms / Inches / Points / Picas
An introduction to digital archiving
Introduction to Digital Archiving
Have you ever imagined how wonderful it would be to be able to access a specific picture or video from the past, almost immediately, rather than having to go through photo album after photo album or box after box?
One of the biggest misconceptions of creating a digital archive of your family’s photos is that it’s meant to replace one’s physical archive, which can include everything from carefully crafted albums and scrapbooks to disorganized boxes of random photos and documents.
However, a digital archive can exist alongside one’s physical archive. It can also serve as a convenient database, accessible only by the people who have explicit permission. With an organized, comprehensive digital archive, navigating your past can be as simple as going online.
Your physical archive is subject to all manners of adverse conditions such as fire, damp, or mold. Digital archives exist in perpetuity, in essence creating backups for your most precious objects.
Special2Us is uniquely suited to creating an exciting and comprehensive digital archive. This guide contains advice on the best practice on how to start scanning and organising your digital collection, in addition to how to collect digital photos sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and Picasa.
Special2Us will also provide a guide on how to organise your Digital Archive to really make it come alive, with the ability to create digital albums and slideshows, as well as how to improve the quality of the imagery that’s been collected and scanned. Special2Us not only provides a way to manage imagery, video and audio, but also provides scanning, photo improvement and video digitising services.
Not all of your family & friends will be as organized as you... they may have the pictures and documents you want in all sorts of places and in a variety of forms: it may well be that they have images on their mobile phones, still on their camera memory cards and if they are from a generation which is “IT savvy”, they may well have stored their digital photographs on more than one storage site (Picasa, iPhoto, Flickr etc) or uploaded to multiple social media “platforms” (Facebook, Instagram, Google+ etc).
It may be beneficial to remind everybody who is going to contribute to your Digital Archive that they may have forgotten about but treasured pictures stored both recently and long ago in any number of physical & digital locations: as well as on shelves & in the loft!
What you are going to achieve in this process is all the images in one place (in an organized manner) so those that are important to you can access your family legacy as well as building on its detail and contents.
How to make audio recordings on Special2Us
Our audio recording feature lets you record information, stories, and oral histories for yourself and your family.
click here to open YouTube video