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How To Scan Old Photographs | Professional Results At Home

Every family has its share of photo albums, each containing precious memories that span generations of loved ones.

However, even the most well-kept treasure troves can fade with time – and that’s why so many people are trying to find ways to digitize, enlarge & store old photos on their computers. 

Unlike printed photos, digital images are always going to be the same as the day they were scanned, and it’s way less time-consuming than most folks think. Read on to find out about the two best ways to scan photos and keep them intact for all future generations!

But if you already have your entire photo collection digitized, then it may be time to consider restoring and repairing your photo scans.

The Best Way To Scan Your Photos

Digitizing photos may feel like a gargantuan task, but it’s less complicated than people think. That said, a subpar photo scanning job can make your precious childhood memories look muddy and low-quality, and that’s why it’s essential to do things the right way.

Here’s a video describing two simple and effective options when you want to digitize photos:

How To Scan Old Photographs

Whether you have a big idea about restoring your family’s entire image collection or want to digitize a few photos of your mom or son, you’re going to want to do it properly. Here are two methods for achieving high-resolution scanned photos

Method 1 - Smartphone Camera

Whether you have a big idea about restoring your family’s entire image collection or want to digitize a few photos of your mom or son, you’re going to want to do it properly. Here are two methods for achieving high-resolution scanned photos.

Step 1: Prepare Your Physical Photos For Scanning

It doesn’t matter how many photos you plan to digitize, but it’s essential that you fish them out of their shoeboxes and lay them out before getting started. This way, you can check for dust and dirt and wipe down your entire collection with a microfiber cloth!

Step 2: Mind Your Light

Once your print photos are clean and dust-free, you’ll want to create a space that’s perfect for scanning photos. We recommend finding a bright, clean spot in your house that also keeps your photo away from direct sunlight. It’s important to pull all the stops at this stage because your lighting setup will determine how well your memories will be preserved!

Here are a few specific things to look out for: reflections, shadows, and whether the ambient light alters the colors on your images.

Step 3: Make Sure Your Old Photos Are Flat And Even

Photo editing tools can fix a lot of things, but they can’t alter a curled photograph and make it look flat.  If your stubborn image just won’t cooperate, we recommend using a large book or sticky tack to keep it down. This may seem like a lot of work at first, but it ensures that the smiling faces of friends and family will remain intact and unwarped!

Step 4: Take Photos With Your Phone Or Digital Camera

Once you’re happy with the room lightning and overall flatness of your image, you’re ready to start digitizing your old photos! Open up your photo scanning apps or phone camera and position yourself perpendicular to the photo – taking extra care not to block the light – and take a few test shots. 

If you plan to scan multiple photos at home, consider mounting your phone or camera onto a tripod to improve your chances of getting a higher-quality result! You can also ask a family member to help you out.

Step 5: Compare Individual Images With The Original Photos

After you’ve taken all the pictures you need, hold your phone or camera up to the original photo and compare. 

  • Will you need to run it through photo editing software? 
  • Does it require color correction? 
  • Do all your family members look like themselves in the photos? 

Asking yourself a question or two will help you decide if you’re happy with the outcome.

Note: About Photo Scanning On Your Phone

No one can deny that using something like a phone or camera is convenient when you want to preserve your memories at home, but there is one significant drawback to choosing this option: the device itself. You can download the best photo scanner apps and software, but it all comes down to how good the camera is. 

So if you’re using something that has a few years on it, you may get low DPI (dots-per-inch) pictures that won’t look great if you decide to make larger prints. See our post here on our comparison between 300 and 600 DPI scans.

Method 2 - Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed scanners are accessories you can hook up to your computer for capturing glass slides, paper files like news cutouts, film negatives, and old photos. Because of this, they’re an excellent option when you want to digitize photos fast. 

Some scanners even have smart features that allow users to scan directly onto a cloud-based service from third parties like Google Drive, which can be a huge plus when you don’t have an external hard drive to store your files in.

Step 1: Prepare Your Old Photos

Like most other photo scanning options, you’ll have to prep your picture before running it through a document scanner. That can mean organizing each image into folders or cleaning them up – it all depends on your preference!

Step 2: Borrow A Scanner Or Find A Local Scanning Service

Converting your colored and sepia photos to a digital format is extremely simple when you have a scanner, but finding one can be challenging for some people. You could search for a cheap sheet-fed scanner on the secondhand market or borrow a flatbed from a friend, but your best bet is checking with local companies that can do it for you.

Pro tip: You can check social media, your local library, or even a supermarket with an image center near you for cheap rates!

Step 3: Scan Your Photos!

Once you’ve located your photo scanners, free up some disk space on your USB drive and get cracking! Make sure you picked the correct resolution for your intended purposes, and the scanner will do the rest. It’s almost magical how dedicated hardware can deliver a great scan in mere seconds.

So what now?

So you’ve managed to scan your precious photographs and created a comprehensive digital collection, but there’s one problem: a big chunk of them are damaged or faded.

Don’t let your efforts go to waste; get your cherished memories restored at Image Restoration Center to give them a second chance at life. Send us a message to find out more!

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