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I am about to scan my photo collection. To save time, I would like to scan multiple photos at once. How can I automate the splitting of photos in a single scan?

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I've tagged this OS X in the presumption you are using a flatbed scanner or similar and a Mac computer to do the scanning - feel free to edit things if my assumptions were faulty. –  bmike May 31 '13 at 17:52

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Photoshop and the cheaper Photoshop Elements both have options that can take one large image and automatically crop out sub-images. In Photoshop, the command you're looking for is File → Automate → Crop and Straighten Photos. In Elements, it's Image → Divide Scanned Photos. For more details, read this and this.

If you don't want to spend the money on Photoshop, you can download ImageMagick, and use this script to perform the separation. However it's worth noting that it's a command-line tool, so some familiarity with the command-line would help, although if you read the instructions on the script page carefully, that should be enough to get started.

Whatever tool you use, when you're scanning your photos, make sure you leave some space between them, and use something that will give a high contrast background, so the software will have a better chance of picking up where one photo begins and another ends.

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