Why You Should Digitize Your Old Print Photos

Old Print Photos
Why You Should Digitize Your Old Print Photos

Living in the era of digital technology we have got used to taking as many pictures as the memory card can accomodate, previewing images right away on the screen of your camera, and sending digital copies to friends and family. However, many people still have some old print photographs, including black-and-white family portraits, taken long before a digital camera was invented. Luckily modern technology enables you to digitize your old photos. If you are curious to know more about it consider reading on.

Why Digitize?

Old Photos on The Table

Most people decide to digitize their old photographs to preserve history. Since old photos can degrade with the time when exposed to light, moisture, and other environmental factors digital copies will let you preserve the original safe, plus digital format is very easy to back up. Safe from loss, fire and flood, digital photographs will stay intact for future generations to enjoy. Read The Top 11 Photo Storage & Sharing Sites.

Digital photos are needed to restore images and fix damage. If you have a digital copy, you can easily fix scratches, tears, discoloration, dust spots, as well as other damage physical prints are often subject to. Using the appropriate software you can eliminate any damage while preserving the historical value of the original.

Digital photographs are easy to share. Of course, you can make a copy of a physical print, but it's much easier to do this if you have a digital file. Then you can send the copies via email, post it in social networks, etc. Read Top 4 Web Based DIY Photo Book Services.

Should You Digitize Photos Yourself?

If you own a stand-alone desk scanner or an all-in-one printer, you can try to do it yourself. It is important that the device you have scan at high resolution. Let's weigh the advantages and disadvantages of doing it yourself.

DIY pros

  • It's free, provided you have the scanner.
  • You can choose the set-up for each photo being scanned, and adjust for layout, size, and so on.
  • You can be sure that your photos don't get lost.
  • You see the result immediately once the scanning is done.
  • You create digital files yourself, so you can name, organize, and store them the way you like.

DIY cons

  • Since home scanners tend to work rather slowly, the process can be time consuming, especially if you have lots of photos to scan.
  • You should be versed in technical aspects of using the scanning device and software as well as know what to do with the digital file you get.
  • You should have some special software to be able to repair or alter your old photos in a significant way. Such software is typically expensive and will take you some time to learn.

Scan it Yourself

If you decided to scan the photos yourself, the tips below will help you achieve the best results.

  • It would be great if you could scan negatives or slides rather than prints. Negatives and slide prints tend to be less discolored or scratched, so you will be able to scan them at a higher resolution.
  • Before you start, examine your photos for dust and debris. Just wipe dirty prints with a dry, soft cloth. Avoid using liquid on photographs not to discolor them.
  • Wipe the scanner bed known as the platen with a clean, soft cloth. You can also apply a small amount of cleaning solution like Windex to the cloth (not the platen) and then wipe. The photographs should be placed on the dry surface of the scanner.
  • You should adjust the resolution of the scans. You need 300 DPI (dots per inch) for a photo of 8 x 10 inches. In most cases you will be able to set this directly. However, some scanners require setting the scanning resolution but not the target size. In this case opt for resolution around 3,000 DPI.
  • Save your images as .jpg or .tif files. Also it is advisable to use the highest quality and the lowest compression settings possible.

Let Someone Else do the Work

Old and Digitized Photos

If you prefer having your photos scanned there are many scanning and digitizing services that can do the work for you. In addition to providing quality scanning services many companies will correct the colors, remove red-eye effect, eliminate dust and scratches, etc. It is also important to find out what services they are providing and how much they cost. Learn whether they will provide retouching, as well as how digital files will be organized and sent back to you. You also need to inquire how you should package your photos when sending, and how you will get them back.

"What I like about photography is that it captures a moment that has gone forever, which cannot be reproduced."

Carl Lagerfeld