We all have old family photos scattered around, collecting dust and fading away. Maybe they’re tucked away in your closet, in an old shoebox, or a disintegrating photo album.
Even if you don’t look at these memories every day, they’re still special to you and deserve to last a lifetime. Digitizing photographs from old family photo albums can breathe new life into your prints, preserving them for years to come. Let’s break down the photo scanning process with helpful tips so you can make something worth passing down for generations to come.
Step #1: Hunt Down Your Photos
Before you start scanning your photos, you need to hunt them all down. Get in touch with your friends and family and ask them to share their favorite snapshots with you. Give them some time to collect their images but set a deadline to help motivate everyone into action.
Step #2: Organize Your Images
Once your photos are in hand, you need to organize them. Recruit an older family member to help you confirm the dates of pictures and give you stories behind them. Sorting by date and being familiar with all your photos can help you tell a story with your album. You might learn something new about your family too!
Step #3: Scan Old Photos to Digital Files
Now that your images are organized and sorted correctly, you’re ready to get to the bulk of your work – scanning. Did you know the average American adult accumulates over 3,000 photographs? It takes about seven minutes and 30 seconds to scan each image. 3,000 photos at seven and half minutes per image equate to 22,500 minutes or 375 hours of scanning time. If you’ve taken on the task of scanning photos for the whole family, you might be here a while.
But first, you’ll need the right technology to keep the quality of old photos. Here are some options that you may consider using:
You can use your smartphone to scan photos; however, your smartphone may not capture the image at the resolution that provides the best quality image. Be sure to avoid direct sunlight to prevent glares on your pictures that change your photographs’ look and color. There are also a few photo scanning apps you can download for free, but as we mentioned before, the resolution you’re looking for might not be there.
A flatbed scanner can convert your photos into digital files while capturing images at a high resolution. Most flatbed scanners capture photos at up to 1200 DPI (dots per inch). They can increase the resolution of print-quality images up to 4 times their original size. A higher resolution is beneficial if you are looking to enlarge photos while keeping the quality of your scanned images high.
Unfortunately, buying a flatbed scanner can be a hefty investment depending on the type of scanner you purchase. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a photo scanner, ask yourself how often you will use it after your photo album project is complete.
Work with a Professional Imaging Company
Remember how we said it takes 22,500 minutes or 375 hours to scan 3,000 photos? Who has time for that? Say you spend a 40 hour week scanning your photos. You would have to spend over 9 weeks to finish your project. Even if you have a high-quality photo scanner, you’ll still have to learn how to use it. You’ll also need to buy professional photo editing software if you want to make adjustments to the image.
It’s a monotonous job. Do you really want to spend hours on end looking at your computer screen after you’ve poured your money into a photo scanner you’ll probably only use once?
Scanning photos requires knowledge and skill. Outsourcing your photo scanning project can yield you better quality results from trained technicians who can make true to life image adjustments for you. Photo imaging companies are experts on using flatbed scanners. You would spend thousands of dollars on a photo scanner while their technology is better equipped to manage your project.
Step #4: Save to the Cloud & Share
After all your photos are scanned, you will have digital copies of all your prints. You can share them with everyone, download them to Facebook, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Many photo imaging companies provide you with a safe and secure cloud storage platform to access your photos. Now you can look at pictures from your phone, laptop, or tablet from anywhere.
Step #5: Make New Photo Albums
After your photos are all uploaded, you can bring in your creative side. Take the photos you curated and organized in Step #2 and give them a second life. Photo books and custom calendars are great gift ideas that help tell your family story. Since all your images are stored online in digital format, the process of designing your own is easier than ever.