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What is the Best Way to Digitize Old Photos?

By Katy Sommerfield

If you’re looking at this article, chances are that you have loads of pictures, photo albums, and scrapbooks at home filled with sweet memories from the past that have special meaning to you, your friends, and your family. You might even have shoeboxes filled with these snapshots of the past, sitting in a closet or attic or someplace tucked away.

If you want to find out how to best preserve these photos and store them, then look no further.

The absolute best way to make sure your photos are protected and kept safe throughout the years is to get them digitized. Digitization ensures that your photos are backed up onto a computer or another device so that if something happens to their print versions, you’ll always have digital qualities that are stored on your computer. 


Now, you might be considering a few options for photo-to-digital transfer. The three most common methods of print photo digitization are scanning photos on a smartphone, scanning photos on a scanner, or sending photos to get digitized by a digitization service. Let’s dive into each of these methods so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your photo collection!

Smartphone Scan

One of the simplest ways to transfer your photos to digital is to scan them with your iPhone. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways: first, you can take pictures of each print photo using your smartphone’s camera. This method is very easy to do, but the outcome of your “digitized” photos will typically be very low quality. Simply taking pictures of print photographs will inevitably capture unsightly backgrounds, glares, or scratches and imperfections on the photos themselves. Another option is to download a specialized photo-to-digital scanning app. There are many different apps you can use that will edit the scans and minimize the imperfections that a simple snap of a smartphone camera can’t erase. These apps, while making higher quality digital copies of your photos than if you just took pictures of your print photographs, cannot produce digital images near to the quality that other photo-to-digital methods can. 

Scanners and Printers

Another method of photo-to-digital transfer is to use a scanner. Scanners are typically incorporated in most modern printer models, although you can purchase stand-alone scanners if you choose. You can purchase specialty photo scanners which will scan your print images to a higher quality than a regular document scanner can if you prefer. This method of digitization is better than the smartphone method, but specialty scanners can be very expensive. If you aren’t willing to make the investment in a good quality photo scanner, this option may not be for you. 

Digitization Services

The last photo-to-digital transfer option is to hire a digitization service. Digitization services have state-of-the-art equipment for photo scanning as well as trained professionals who will handle your prints each step of the digitization process. Digitization services like Kodak are easy to use, as they pay for shipping and handling and complete the entire digitization process for you so that you don’t have to waste hours taking photos on your smartphone or sitting at your scanner. Many digitization services offer competitive pricing and step-by-step tracking, among other services.

Our Recommendation

Out of these three digitization methods, we recommend hiring a digitization service for your photo-to-digital needs. The quality that digitization services can provide supersedes that of any at-home digitization option, and the price of hiring a service compared to buying a high-quality scanner is significantly less. If you’re looking to transfer your print photos to digital, go with a digitization service like Kodak. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be guaranteed high-quality service and results. 

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