Many people still have large number of old fashion photo paper prints in their homes. Even if you threw away your old film camera and you are exclusively using digital there is a good chance that you still have many photos that are important to you in paper prints format. It is a good idea to upgrade those prints to the new digital format – here is how,
It is most likely that your photo prints are organized in this way or another in photo albums. The old fashion photo album book had two main purposes. First it was intended to allow for easier organization and browsing of photos as photo albums can be categorized by event, year or any in any other way that make sense to you. The second purpose was to protect the paper prints. Paper ages it fades and turn yellow. Albums are safer provide a safer environment allowing paper prints to last longer.
There are three main types of old fashion prints: paper, slides and negatives. Paper prints are the most common format. The usually come in standard sizes like 4X6 and 5X7. Negatives which are developed film are saved to allow future new prints of your photos. Slides are similar to negatives but they allow projection of the photo on a big screen using a special slide projector.
Upgrading your old photo stack involves some technique of converting paper photos to digital pixel based photos. This process is also known as scanning. While there are many different techniques and equipment for scanning in essence all scanning process are similar. Some device is used to electronically read or view the paper photo and convert it into a series of pixels each with its unique color and intensity. All those pixels put together comprise a digital photo that can be store as a computer file. This computer file, usually in the common JPEG format can then be used as any other digital camera photo file.
Different scanning methods vary in cost and quality. While you can spend a large sum of money to professionally scan your photos for most home users a cheap and simple scanning method will suffice. Photo paper prints can be effectively scanned by a simple scanner device that you can buy for less than $100. This process is time consuming though since you will need to manually feed every photo to the scanner. For a large number of photos you could choose to either by a more sophisticated scanner with an automatic photo feeder or to mail your photo prints to a professional scanning service.
One thing to consider when scanning photo prints is the scanning resolution: The same way that your digital camera has a mega pixels number that determines the number of pixels in a digital photo – scanners have a similar attribute that determines how many mega pixels are going to be in the converted digital photo file. This is also known as the scanner resolution and it is measured by the number of dots per inch that the scanner can produce. Most scanners can scan at 1200 DPI or more. Most scanners can also be set to scan in less of their maximum resolution. The higher the resolution the slower the scan and the bigger the digital photo file size. So what is the right resolution? The rule of thumb is that for most paper prints scanning at 300 to 600 DPI is enough as usually the print quality itself is not higher than that.
After you have converted your paper prints to digital photo files you can do anything that you can do with any other digital camera generated photo files. In addition to simply viewing them on your computer screen, you can share them with family and friends, use photo processing software to enhance them and more. And the most important thing, once converted to digital photo files they will never fade, turn yellow or lose their quality.