What does this format look like?
Magnetic albums can look a lot like sleeved albums but have a few very distinctive characteristics. The pages themselves are very different. As compared to the translucence of the sleeved album pages, magnetic album pages are a thicker cardboard. The pages have two components; there is the backing and the clear cellophane cover. The backing is a striped yellowish brown and photos are placed between the backing and the cover, which secures them into place.
What makes these albums special?
Magnetic albums are also referred to as sticky albums are the most common photo album format that we convert to digital and they are also a difficult format to work with. The concept of these albums is to create a customizable page without the preset layout you find in albums with sleeves. The great thing about these albums is just that: the customization. You can collage many different photos onto a single page; you can include handwritten captions and sticky them in the album as well; you can neatly organize the albums to maximize space; you can even put a single photo right in the middle of the page. This freedom is what has made the albums so popular, but also makes them much harder to convert into a good-looking digital version.
How do we scan these albums?
Because of the many different possible layout combinations, scanning this type of album is tricky and can happen a couple different ways. The most straightforward is scanning the albums page by page. This keeps the layout of the photos intact and is generally good if they are placed in more of a collage format or there is a lot of writing. The drawback on this approach is that the rust-colored stripes are a prominent (and not very seemly) feature in the scanned image. The most common approach to these albums is to scan each photo individually. The simplest way is to remove each photo, scan it and replace it where it was in the album. This isn’t always possible because of the nature of the pages. Oftentimes, the cellophane covering won’t easily come up and we risk damaging the photos if we force it. The same thing can happen with photos that have become stuck over time. This happens regularly so we approach each album with extreme caution. When we can’t digitize the photos by removing them from the album, we simply scan the whole page (exactly the same as the full-page scan) and crop down to each photo. We can even preserve captions in this way by cropping to include them.
Regardless of your desired outcome, our technicians are all highly trained on the different approaches to this type of album. Each sticky-page album is considered carefully before we digitize it. Because of the variety we see in these albums, we have designed our approach to work with every shape, size and condition of album. If you have some of these albums and are thinking about getting them converted into digital, feel free to give us a call!