4 Ways to Convert Photos to Digital

Photos hold lots of important information within their single frames. On this journey of life, our diverse photographic history helps to chronicle the cherished experiences and events. You might be amazed that those paper photos locked away in your closet are starting to slowly fade away.

Even if you use the best storage methods, the only way of safeguarding those important memories is to convert the photos to digital

Before even starting on the process of converting your photos to digital, you must face the reality that it is a slow and time-intensive task. Nearly anything that is supposed to speed it up, apart from purchasing a faster and high quality scanner, reduces image quality.

Therefore, choose the quality level you desire, and then accept that it requires lots of work and time to complete.

Use a Scanner

Scanners are one of the easiest and most effective solutions as they provide a great balance between ease of use and image quality. The image quality produced by most scanners should be adequate for reprinting at similar sizes or viewing onscreen.

For extra convenience, consider using sheet fed scanners as they usually assign optimal scan settings so that you only need to feed the pictures through the slot.  Furthermore, for best quality pictures, remember to scan the negatives rather than the printed photos if they are available.

When using a scanner to convert your old photos into digital files, you should understand that some scanners are mainly designed to scan documents. You can identify the exceptions by some features within their scan utilities which are clearly designed for photos, such as color restoration.

Either way, scanners are an inexpensive method that most people can use readily at home.

Even if you have never used a scanner before, you will find that scanning is very straightforward. Most of the scan utilities usually include a user-friendly automatic mode.

If you are in a hurry or not comfortable with scanning, the automatic mode will provide practically decent quality and might be all that you really need.

For advanced users or those looking for the best level of quality from the scanner, consider exploring the advanced settings within your scan program. An easy method of gaining an understanding of the various options is to scan one image using different scan settings and then compare the results.

Thanks to the preview feature, you can apply different settings and then see how the effects look on the scanner’s preview image.

Use your Smart Phone

Nowadays, smart phones have increasingly higher quality cameras, especially the top feature phones from leading manufacturers like the iPhone 7, Galaxy S8+ and the Google Pixel among others. In addition to better cameras that can handle the task of converting photos to digital, both iOS and Android have dedicated scanning apps that make the process simple.

Some apps can provide extra computing benefits to eliminate glare from lighting while others offer a wide range of imaging editing options.

Here is the process of how to scan photos right into your phone:

  • Wipe your photos and remove any dust using a clean microfiber cloth
  • Look for an area with plenty of natural light with very few shadows
  • Wipe your smartphone’s camera
  • Open your preferred phone scanning application
  • Place the phone over the photo and once it is in focus, press the capture button

At this point, you can crop the picture by dragging along the preset crop lines. You can then add on some extra information about the photo using a short description.

This will help you in organizing your collection and you can finally save it to your phone or upload it online.

Repeat this process for all the photos you have and you will soon be able to post them to your social media accounts or simply store them in your desired storage site like Dropbox or Flickr. While this will not replicate the same quality of scanning using a traditional scanner, it is still quite practical if you do not own a flatbed scanner or you want to quickly scan photos.

Use a DSLR

Modern DSLRs are more than sufficient for digitizing any black and white or color photo while preserving the accuracy of the colors. This easy DIY process involves fitting your DSLR camera with a suitable macro lens.

Next, place the camera on a tripod to make handling easier and begin capturing the photos. It is best to take more than one photo in and then select the best version when editing.

A huge advantage of using DSLR for scanning is that you can stitch and combine several photos to create high resolution digital images. This gives your images a remarkable fine detail and offers an unreal level of clarity.

To stich images together, you need more than five images with limited overlap in between the frames while ensuring that you are using a high resolution DSLR camera.

The only drawback to this process is that most people do not really have quick access to a setup like the one mentioned here, but this method is still good to note. The main reason being that there is great innovation being seen in the smartphone lenses sector.

You can now get high quality macro lens attachment for your Android and iOS phones, which ought to have satisfactory power to replicate this process.

Use a Scanning Service Provider

If these various ways to digitize your photos seems like a huge headache due to the amount of time and work needed, consider letting a professional do the job. Numerous professional scanning service providers will scan, crop, edit and archive all your photos at an agreed fee.

The cost can range from flat rate prices charged on a box of photos, or per photo. Simply choose a company with a good reputation as you will be entrusting your precious photos to their care.


The ability to convert photos to digital provides a way of preserving those important memories without any risk of fading, discoloration or getting torn. You can even edit and enhance the photos as well as share them with your family members through photo sharing services.

Finally, you will never have to dig through your closet to find photos again since an important advantage of photo digitization is better organization.

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