Do you wish to digitize your photos? With a variety of methods, you can easily back up and preserve old photos by converting them to digital copies.
What is the most effective method for digitizing photos? It depends on the number of photos you have, your budget, what you plan to do with them, and how much free time you have.
Why Should You Digitize Your Photographs?
It’s not as simple as leaving your photos in a photo album or box to convert them to digital copies. Even if you prefer to shoot with film and hold physical memories in your hands, there are several reasons why you should consider digitizing old photos.
Physical photos are easily damaged
Water damage, discoloration, and accidental tears are all valid concerns that could permanently damage your photo collection. You can make as many backups as you need by making digital copies. You’ll never have to be concerned about losing your entire family history due to a flood or fire again.
In your home, photo albums, frames, and storage boxes can take up a lot of room
On the other hand, a single external hard drive the size of a deck of cards can store hundreds of thousands of digital copies.
Photos of your family are meant to be shared
By digitizing photos, no one in the family will have to miss out on their favorite childhood memories. The entire photo collection is accessible to all members of the family.
You can correct blemishes, adjust white balance or lighting, and crop out ex-boyfriends or girlfriends as needed with digital photos
On physical photos, these adjustments simply cannot be made to the same extent. You want each shot to be the best it can be.
Everyone should consider scanning old photos, regardless of their circumstances. Although it may take some time and money, the advantages of preserving old photographs outweigh the costs.
At-Home Scanning of Old Photographs
Financial Investment: Low-to-Moderate | Time Commitment: High
Converting old photos to digital copies is a great way to while away a couple of afternoons. While scanning old photos on a scanner at home takes time, it gives you complete control over how your photos are organized, digitized, and stored. Plus, reliving old memories is a lot of fun.
The Best Photo Scanner for Digitizing Photographs
There are many different brands of picture scanners available, each with a different price range and set of features.
A flatbed scanner is the best way to scan photos at home if you want to convert them to digital copies. They have a much lower chance of damaging your photos.
They’re also small and can usually be operated with a standard laptop or computer.
A budget-friendly option like the Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 can scan photos up to 8×10 without breaking the bank. If you have old negatives to deal with, you might be wondering whether it’s better to scan or photograph them.
If you can afford it, scanning negatives directly is unquestionably the way to go. For old photos, the Epson Perfection V600 is the best scanner. It can digitize both film negatives and printed photos. If you also need a film scanner, the Kodak Scanza is a great portable option.
Some scanners are designed to scan stacks of 4×6 photos quickly and at a very high quality if you’re willing to pay top dollar and have limited time to scan photos.
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is billed as the world’s fastest picture scanner. It scans 36 prints in a batch at a rate of one per second. It’s also wireless, so you can save to cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox directly.
Methods for Scanning Photos to a Computer
It’s simple to learn how to digitize old photos if you keep the following guidelines in mind:
Are you going to scan the photos in order? What is the order of importance? Is it better to save them on your computer or on an external hard drive? Consider devising a system for naming and sorting files so that you can quickly locate the images you require. You should also think about how to keep track of the subject in each shot.
Consider how many photos you take on your phone and then delete right away. You are not required to save all of your previous photographs (to do so would probably be a nightmare). Scrutinize only the ones that matter to you.
If you’re going to the trouble of scanning photo prints, you might as well do it correctly. Using a non-abrasive cloth, wipe the dust off your old photos and your scanner. This ensures that your image is crystal clear and free of distracting dust specks. Check in on your photo scans every hour or so if you’re digitizing photos with a scanner that doesn’t show you a preview to make sure they’re scanning and saving correctly.
Check your settings
Scanners aren’t all created equal. Use a minimum quality setting of 300 dpi for scanning photos from prints (but consider going as high as 600 dpi if you plan on enlarging any of them). Even if you’re scanning black-and-white or sepia photos, scanning in color will give you the ability to make edits and modifications to your digital images.
You’ll probably spend more than a few hours looking at these photos. It’s a good idea to have a TV show on in the background, listen to your favorite music on Spotify, or have a photo-scanning party with friends and family. Is there a better way to share memories while you’re digging through your treasure chest?
Photo Digitization with an App
Financial Investment: Low | Time Commitment: Moderate
You may not need a picture scanner if all you need is a way to quickly scan old photos to digital. Alternatively, you could be visiting a family member and only have access to your phone.
Sure, you could always use the camera app on your phone to take a picture. However, you risk causing shadows, distortion, and glare. These apps assist in the removal of these features as well as guiding you through the scanning procedure.
It’s no surprise that Google’s PhotoScan app is one of the best ways to convert old photographs to digital.
To improve quality, remove glare, and correct any distortion, the free app takes multiple photographs of each print. Even better, the app can be fully integrated with all of the great Google Photos tools you’re already familiar with.
You’re not sure if you want to use Google? Consider the following options:
Download: Photo Scanner Plus by Photomyne for iOS ($3.99)
Download: Photo Scan App by Photomyne for Android (Subscription required)
Download: Memories by IdeaSolutions for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Download: Pic Scanner by AppInitio Ltd. for iOS ($3.99)
Services for Photo Digitization
Financial Investment: High | Time Commitment: Low
Of course, the most convenient way to scan old photographs is to use a photo-digitizing service. This might be a good option for you if you don’t want to spend the time scanning old photos. However, there are a few drawbacks to digitizing old photos in this manner.
One thing to think about is the security of the photos you send away. You’ll have to send your family photos to a stranger, entrusting some of your most precious memories to the mail system. Because every photo you send to this stranger will be seen by them, you may want to pick and choose what you want to scan.
What to Do With Your Photographs After They’ve Been Digitized
Whatever method you use to digitize photos, the end result will always be more space in your home, safe memories, and a sense of gratitude that only a long trip down memory lane can provide. Your options are endless now that you’ve successfully converted all of your physical photos to digital.
You can email copies of your photos to family and friends, make a slideshow for your next family gathering, or share any embarrassing moments on social media for immediate likes, comments, and gratification.