While physical photographs have a unique charm, digitizing them is your best shot at preserving them forever. No matter how well you preserve your photographs, they are always at risk of damage. If you keep them stashed away in a box there’s always a risk of moulding. If you regularly take them out to share with your friends or family, they may be at risk of fading or accidental tears. Digitizing your old photographs not only preserves them forever, but also helps you correct faulty images digitally, and makes it easier for you to share them with friends and family. Today, we bring you 3 simple ways you can scan and digitize old photos.
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Scan photos at home
If you’ve accumulated a lot of photos over the years and plan on continuing to do so, you might want to invest in a small photo scanner. Digitizing photos using a scanner at home may take time, but it’s the best way to go about a task that is personal to you.
There is a wide range of scanners available specifically for use at home. It is advisable to pick one depending on the frequency of your usage. Not to mention, you can use a scanner not just for digitizing pictures but also for scanning other documents like your driver’s license, ID card, etc.
Before you begin scanning at home, there are a few helpful tips that you need to keep in mind before you scan and digitize old photos.
- Organisation is key: While at first scanning pictures may seem a straightforward task, it can become pretty daunting if you go into it without a strategy. If you are an avid photographer and have collected physical copies of images over the years, it is probable that you’ve amassed several boxes of old photographs by now. If you randomly start digitizing them, you will soon lose track of your task. It is advised to have a sorting criterion before you begin scanning.
- Curate your collection: You do not need to scan every photograph you have. Go through the photographs you’ve set aside to digitize and select the ones that are worth preserving. Weed out any duplicates, irrelevant, or faulty photographs.
- Be thorough: Your digital photograph will stay with you forever. Make sure you can render the best possible digital scan. The two things you need to keep in mind are the quality of the physical photograph and the quality of the scanner. The quality of your digital photo depends on both of those factors. So, before you begin to scan a photograph, wipe the dust off its surface and check it for any blemishes. Make sure it’s in the best condition possible. Similarly, make sure the scanning surface is dust-free as well.
- Know your device: Before you begin digitizing your photographs it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the scanner you’re using. Carry out a few test scans and explore the different modes that the device offers. See what works best for your pictures and then embark on the task in front of you.
- Manage your time: If you’ve got a big collection of photographs, it is unlikely you’ll be able to scan them in one sitting. Do not bite more than you can chew. Take out time in advance and select the number of photographs accordingly. It is better to go about your task in small well planned sessions.
Use an app for your phone
Sometimes you just need to take a quick scan instead of digitizing an entire volume of photographs. Maybe you do not have access to a scanner or do not wish to invest in one. Luckily, there is still a way to preserve your photographs. There are a bunch of apps available for your smartphone which will help you scan your old photos in quick, easy steps.
While the quality of the scan may not be on par with that of an actual scanning device, the difference may not be that apparent to the untrained eye. A scanning app may also come in handy when you want to share a single photograph with someone and do not want to part ways with the physical copy.
You can use your camera for this task as well, but the difference in quality between an app designed to scan images and your phone camera is enormous. While scanning, make sure that your photograph is placed against a monotone background and is surrounded by ample lighting. Minimize the glare and light reflection by adjusting your camera angle before scanning. Crop the image you’ve taken to edit the background.
There is a diverse range of scanning apps available online. PhotoScan by Google is one of the best ones available. Not only does it capture high-quality scans, but it also comes integrated with Google photo tools. You can also use Microsoft Office Lens and Photo Scan App by Photomyne.
If you do not have the time or will to scan and digitize old photos yourself, you can always make use of a digitization service to do it for you. Facilities like Scan Corner and Scan Junction help you cut out the labour of scanning your images and do it for you at a reasonable price. All you need to do is package your photographs and ship them to their location. Not only do they digitize your photo collection, but they also offer the option of restoring old damaged photos at a particular price.
If you do not wish to ship your photographs, you can also seek the services of a photo studio local to you. Most photo studios these days provide digitization services. The only drawback of this option is that a third party gets access to your photographs, and while most services operate in a professional manner, it still might deter people who value their privacy over anything else.
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Once you’ve digitized your pictures there are a lot of things you can do with them. Firstly, it is important to note that you will still have to sort your digital copies and keep them organized, especially when you’re dealing with a large number of photographs. Chronologically sorting them in different folders on your computer is a nice starting point. You can also add captions to your images and edit them to your liking. Having digital copies also makes it easy to share them with friends and family.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there is always a risk of losing your photos even after you’ve digitized them. You may lose all data on your device once it becomes dysfunctional. Therefore, it is advised to create a backup for your digital images. You can use services like Dropbox or iCloud to back them up online, or simply create an offline backup on an external hard drive or a USB drive.
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