How do I save a fax-paper printout in good condition?

We had our first ultrasound last month for our pregnancy, and were given a single sheet with 3 images on it. The paper that it is printed on is the heat(?) sensitive paper like the fax rolls. I’ve seen fax paper that yellows in very short order and finally breaks down into dust within a couple of years. Since we would like to save these first pictures of our kids, what can I do to try to preserve the paper?

I’ve tried photocopying the scans, but the quality is terrible. I have access to a scanner, but haven’t been able to get to it since we got the scans and I’m hoping they will be a decent quality. Any other suggestions?

Have you tried a color photocopy? Monochrome copy machines only produce black or white, while color copy machines can reproduce shades of gray.

Have not done it personally, but you could try laminating the paper.

A computer scanner is your best bet (put it on a high resolution like 600 or 1200 dpi, and at least 24-bit color). Then you can print them out on photo paper - this worked well for me. We put the originals in a baby book.

Next time, bring a blank VHS video tape with you- they might let you record the entire ultrasound! The first time I went with my wife, we saw an idle VCR hooked up, but no one mentioned it to us. Next time, we brought a tape, and they let us record the ultrasound. Apparently you have to ask- they don’t volunteer the fact that you can do this (at our doctor’s office at least).

I captured the 10 minute video on to a computer to preserve it, and extracted some images from it for printing.


“I’ve tried photocopying the scans”

You forgot to turn on the PHOTO feature of the copy machine. Its usually located under a plastic door. It makes a perfect copy.

but I tried that already. The copies came out better that way, but because of the contrast in the printout, the copier just didn’t pick up the nuances that allow you to see the detail. I fooled around with the contrast on the copier as well and that improved things.

I should clarify…the U/S pictures are very clear compared to images I had seen from a couple of years ago. You know, proud parents showing them and saying “here’s his foot and the face and the top of the head…” when all you see are black and white smudges. That’s the result I’ve gotten from the photocopy. The original is actually very well defined and the facial features are quite apparent (my wife says that one of them is waving).

I can still look at the photocopy and distinguish the black and white smudges, but it’s not something I would show to people and say “here’s his foot and the face and top of the head…”

And if all else fails, you can take a photograph of it. That should capture pretty much any detail the human eyes can. Ideally you should use a camera mounted on a tripod, and the paper illuminated at an angle rather than using the on-camera flash.

If you scan it, also save the file as well as the copy