Group of old family photos

How to Digitize Old Photos: The Safest & Easiest Way

Digitizing old photos is one of the most important things you can do to preserve priceless family moments. But doing so safely and efficiently is not always a simple process.

There are several ways to convert family photos to digital, each with its own pros and cons. Which method you should use depends on your personal preference, technical know-how, and how much time you’re willing to spend. If you have a large photo collection, a project like that can easily take up multiple weekends of your life you may not be willing to give up! 

Here are 4 different options for converting old family photos into digital images:

Using A Digital Camera

Using a digital camera is a straightforward way to digitize a small collection of photos, though not highly recommended. This method works best for one or two images at a time, as long as they are in good condition.

To digitize your photos with a digital camera, you’ll need: A camera, a computer for storing and editing your images, photo editing software to help you crop and adjust your images after you’ve scanned them - adobe photoshop is a popular choice, a dark room - this will ensure you get a clear scan, and a tripod - this will help keep your camera still.

Once you have collected everything you need, digitizing the images is as simple as taking photos of them. It is best to digitize photos in a dark room with a small light source, but you must be careful to avoid glare.

Once you’ve successfully snapped digital photos of all your physical prints, you can transfer them to your computer and edit them using photo editing software.

Using Smartphone Apps

There are several smartphone apps that can help you digitize your photos. Again, if you have a small collection of photos you wish to digitize, this can be a quick and easy option, though the scans will typically be of low quality. Keep in mind that most of these apps work best with photographs printed from an inkjet or laser printer that are in good-to-great condition.

A smartphone app can be used to digitize your photos, provided you have a similar setup as when scanning with a digital camera: a smartphone, a tripod, a computer, a dark room, and photo editing software if you want to edit your photos beyond what your scanning app allows.

Once you’ve scanned your images using your app of choice, digital copies will conveniently be stored on your phone to easily view and share with friends and family or on social media if you wish. From there, if you want to free up storage space on your device, you can transfer your digital images to a cloud storage service, such as Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive.

Using A Flatbed Scanner

Using a flatbed scanner to digitize photos is the best option for people who have physical photos that may not be in the best condition, such as photos that have come out of photo albums. It is also a good choice for people who want to scan a lot of pictures at once.

 It can be time-consuming to scan each photo separately. Flatbed scanners are fairly simple to use and will usually give you a better quality scan than the other options listed above. 

 The amount of money you spend on your scanner will depend on how long you plan on keeping it and what features it has. The most important thing to remember when shopping for a scanner is that higher resolution does not always mean better quality. Some scanners do not work well with certain types of photos so it's important to read reviews before purchasing one and make sure that it works well with the types of photos you plan on scanning most often.

Professional Photo Scanning Services

The last option is to use a professional photo to digital scanning service. These services have professional scanning equipment to give you high-quality scans, and trained professionals that handle your photos. 

These services may be more expensive than a bare-bones photo scanner or a smartphone app, but they are also more convenient, give you better quality, and can handle large photo collections in varying conditions and sizes. 

These professional services do the hard work for you; they eliminate the need for you to sit at a desk for hours, scanning individual photos yourself. Pricing varies among these services, with some charging a flat fee for scanning services, while others charge a per-photo rate.

So, What’s The Best Way To Digitize Old Photos?

If you have a lot of photos that you need to digitize, choosing a professional photo scanning service like Nostalgic Media is your safest and most stress fee option. Not only will hiring a professional service save you time and money, but the quality improvement over DIY options is significant. As professionals in the industry since 1989, Nostalgic Media has the skills and expertise needed to turn your aging family photos into forever digital keepsakes, safely and affordably.

Regardless of which method you choose, converting your print photos to digital is a great idea.  Even if your pictures have been stored in optimal conditions (pollution-free environments, humidity-balanced environments, and light-controlled environments), they may still suffer from fading, discoloration, and curling. Save your photographs now before it's too late. You'll be able to keep your memories alive for many years to come.