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How to convert old photos into digital images

Are you getting worried about losing your precious photographs either because they are fading away, becoming damaged or at risk of fire, water or loss? We have the solution for you and we know how to convert old photos into digital images.

If so, it is time to convert your photos into digital format for easy viewing, preservation and storage.

There are two options on how to scan your photos into digital format:

  • Send your photos away to a photo scanning service
  • Scan your own photos

This article looks at both methods, to see which photo scanning approach is correct for you, so that you can make an informed decision and start the process of securing your images forever.

If you are worried about the cost of digitizing your photos, then you can start with your most treasured photos.  You do not need to scan in your entire collection at once. However, professionally set up online companies specializing in photos scanning will be offering competitive rates – pennies per photo.

Invest in a photo scanning service

If you choose to use a photo digitizing service that specialises in the professional scanning and conversion of photographs, then the cost to outsource will be higher than if you did it yourself but the you would be saving yourself many many hours and ensuring the best scanning quality. Whatever company you choose ensure that their costs are fully inclusive – no hidden costs. Digitize Media guarantees: quality scanning, efficient service, great customer service, competitive rates.

One of the worries people have is the sending away of their precious photographs. Digitize Media is an online company and 98% of orders are sent in. Digitize Media recommends Royal Mail Special Delivery or Parcelforce.  Both are very reliable (not one issue experienced in 4 years), cost effective, easy to use and quick. Alternatively, some customers have used their own couriers or Uber. Customers based in Harrow or Watford will qualify for free collection and drop off by one of the Digitize Media team. Weekend or evening drop off to our family run business is also possible but subject to prior agreement.

Digitize Media also offers a slide scanning service.

If you do not have time to scan, edit, and save or print your own photos, a professional photo scanning service is a wise choice.

Scan your own photos

If you have the time to spend scanning your own photos your financial investment will be low to moderate, but your time investment will be high. Scanning your own photos will give you complete control over how your photos are organized, scanned, and stored but the time will be slow, frustrations and tedium can run high and the scanning resolution will never be as good as a commercial photograph scanning company.

To convert your photos into digital format you will need to use your own photo scanner and editing software. Whilst most home printers offer scanning the quality is low and the process very slow. As such we recommend the purchases of a specialist photograph scanner.

Purchase a Quality Photo Scanner

There are a range of photo scanners on the market that include affordable and deluxe options. We recommend good research is used to ensure the correct buying choice but also advise that price does influence quality. Quite simply you get what you pay for in terms of speed, quality and damage limitation.

Once scanned, image editing software can be used to crop each image and, if you want, do some touching up.

Which photo scanning service to use

Obviously, if you do not have much time available and you want the scanning quality to be high then the sensible choice is to send your photos to a photo scanning service. We advise that you do your research: Call them – is there someone to speak to?, Reviews – read them, trial – ask for a free trial, website – information and pricing clarity.  Digitize Media is a family run business that does nothing else other than specialize in the scanning and conversion of photographs and slides. We have full reviews on Trustpilot and we are always available to chat through a customer’s queries.

Convert Photos To Digital FAQ

One of the main benefits of using a family business such as Digitize Media to convert photos to digital is the personal service and advice.

Every day we receive many questions that we answer in a transparent way, so that you make the correct choice when you convert photos to digital format.

How do I convert old photos to digital?

There are several ways to turn printed photos into digital ones.

  • You can ship them your photos to a professional scanning service such as Digitize Media.
  • You can buy a scanner and manually scan each one by yourself.
  • you can use your phone to take a picture of the printed photo.

Is it better to scan or photograph old photos?

Scanning is simpler, faster and generally better than copying photos with a camera. The only exception is when there is a surface texture (e.g., silk surface) on the photo which requires offset lighting to overcome.

What is the cost if I digitise the photos myself?

If you prefer to digitize photos yourself, you can pick up an inexpensive flatbed scanner or invest in a multifunction printer which is usually an inkjet printer, scanner, photocopier — all in one unit.

However, these multipurpose office and domestic scanners are not photograph scanners, so the process to scan will be lengthy and the quality may not be as sharp.  It however may be a preferable option if just a handful of snaps.

Should I scan photos at 300 or 600 dpi?

If you want to enlarge the photo up to double in size (for printing or on-screen zooming-in and examining), scan it at least 600 dpi. If you want to more than double the size of the original photo, go even higher with the dpi.

Is 600 or 1200 dpi better?

The higher the dpi the better the resolution and the better copy/print quality. For example, 1200 X 1200 dpi will give you better resolution or copy/print quality than 600 X 600 dpi, thus giving you better copy/print quality and better half tones.

Is it better to scan photos as PDF or JPEG?

PDF is not a good format to scan photographs with, as you have no control over how images are compressed and editing them is much more difficult than TIFF or PNG. In general, PDF files will use JPEG compression anyways, without being able to even set the quality.

How much does a professional scanning service cost?

The services range, depending on the resolution and the type of photos or slide you send in.

Do digital photos deteriorate?

Online photos are essentially stored on computers, called servers, and do not degrade unless there is a complete crash of the system and networked computers are all affected. All reliable photo backup service providers have multiple backups and safeguards built into their systems.

What is the best way to organize and store digital photos?

Important ways to organize digital photos.

  • Create transparent folders and file naming systems.
  • Implement metadata management.
  • Utilize auto tagging software.
  • Store in multiple places

What is the safest way to store digital photos?

  • Save to recordable media.
  • Save to external drive.
  • Store photos across multiple libraries
  • Archive photos in the cloud.
  • Use cloud photo services as a backup.
  • Print them out (just in case)

Where can I store my digital photos?

Cloud Photo Storage Options include:

  • Flickr
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Photos
  • Google Photos
  • iCloud Photos.

What is the best file format to scan photos?

Best file types for these general purposes:

  • For Unquestionable Best Image Quality: TIF LZW or PNG (lossless compression, and no JPG artifacts)
  • Smallest File Size: JPG with a higher Quality factor can be both small and decent quality.
  • Maximum Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Unix: TIF or JPG

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