a close up of vintage black and white photos

Fun Family Reunion Activity - 3 Ways to Digitize Your Photo Archive

Sep 05,2022read

Organize your relatives’ vintage photos into a damage-proof digital archive

Although physical photos have a special charm, they often get damaged over time - scratched, burnt, faded, and torn. If your family is especially keen on photography and keeps thick albums of old photos from years ago, it might also be challenging to navigate and store them. Also, some priceless pictures might get lost while refurbishing or moving out. To save the trouble, many people started digitizing their old images and keeping their new ones organized on their hard drives.

a close up of vintage black and white photos

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photo-of-old-pictures-3617568/

Let’s explore the advantages of turning your old pictures digital:

Reasons People Digitize Their Old Photos 

  • Easier to store and access. As we have mentioned, photo albums can take up much space and be inconvenient in terms of navigation - unlike digital storage. When you turn your aged pictures digital, you can sort them into many folders by any parameter you want: year, person, location, etc. That will help you find the needed picture a lot easier in the future. Besides, with cloud storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and others, you can get access to your image from any device connected to the Internet. 

  • Digital storage lacks the risks of further damage.  Once you digitize your vintage images, their aging process will stop. Your pictures will remain untouched by weather‌, interaction consequences, and other things that can put their quality at risk. That means you can keep your vintage photos for longer and pass the priceless memories of your ancestors to the next generations as long as you have access to your cloud storage account or physical device. 

  • Allows fixing damages painlessly. If your pictures have already experienced some damage - spots, burns, and creases - you won’t have to put too much effort into fixing that. There are many famous professional and lesser-known automatic image restoration programs to help you mask all the defects like they never were there. Besides, you won’t have to experience too much stress reckoning the only copy of the picture. You can always reverse the changes or duplicate your original photo.  

  • Grants the chance to use pictures in projects. Recently, it has become quite popular to use vintage images for digital scrapbooking, collaging, and making creative surprises for elder relatives. No longer do you have to cut, glue, and decorate the actual photo. You can use its digital version in as many projects as you want and go wild editing it without fearing to make a mistake. 

old photos and an old camera laid out

Photo Credit:  https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-shot-of-vintage-photos-9066554/

All the reasons are pretty self-explanatory. You probably got the idea to digitize your pictures with one of them on your mind yourself. Well, now, let’s find the optimal way for you to complete the task depending on your budget, preferences, and deadlines.

Use Your Smartphone Camera

This is the simplest and most budget-friendly solution to the problem. If you have a smartphone with a decent camera, use it to snap your aged photo. Then, with the built-in photo editing suite, crop the background out of the frame and adjust the geometry of your picture. You can also tweak the sharpness, contrast, and color balance to enhance the picture if it’s a bit faded. The digital versions of your vintage images won’t be of the best quality, and you might spend a lot of time working on them. Still, this way is free and reliable. It will work perfectly if the original picture doesn’t have significant damage, and you want to use it to make a surprise or post it online. 

Use a Specialized Program or App

You will find dozens of desktop software and mobile applications for processing old photos and turning them into digital ones. The difference is that the app will automatically recognize your picture and digitize it in the best quality possible. You won’t have to do any cropping or serious editing yourself. With computer programs, you will need to import your photographed pictures - you can use your smartphone or camera to snap them - and the software will instantly process them to look presentable. Some programs specializing in processing aged photos also allow editing a batch of pictures at once. That will save you hours on post-production. Besides, they let you restore damages and even recreate original colors in your black and white photos. 

film negatives on a light box

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-film-strip-with-images-8113887/

Turn to a Photo Service 

If you have a busy schedule or simply don’t want to put any extra challenges on your shoulders, we recommend you turn to a photo service for digitizing your photos. There are many organizations focused on old pictures. For instance, ScanMyPhotos. You can order their services on the official website. Their work costs a solid sum of money. However, the results you get are worth paying for since you get high-resolution pictures you can use for any of your projects. If money isn’t an issue, this is the best solution. 

In case you are on a low budget, we recommend ordering the cheaper Walgreens or Walmart photo services. Don’t expect any magic if you choose this solution. Your pictures won’t be of the best quality, and you will probably need to edit them later. But if you are not planning to use your processed photos for anything extravagant, this is your way to choose. 

Hopefully, this article got you thinking and narrowed your options to the couple you prefer most. Check out a detailed guide on how to digitize old photos if you want to learn more ways to tackle the task and dive deeper into the topic. Whatever solution you choose, we wish you luck in preserving the memories and remarkable moments of your loved ones.

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