Photo Digitization: What Is it and Why Is it so Important?

Photo Digitization
Photo Digitization

Last Updated on January 31, 2022 by azamqasim

From the moment that the first camera clicked, photographs have memorialized people and places long after they have gone beyond reach. Losing a photograph is like losing a precious memory, and unfortunately, analog media can be lost all too easily. Thankfully, as technology has advanced, protecting your photographs for years to come has never been easier.

Why Digitize Analog Media?

Analog media, in this case meaning the original photographs or negatives, can unfortunately be lost or destroyed in numerous ways. Analog photographs can be damaged by a fire or flood, stick to each other in storage and peel off, or simply just misplaced and never seen again.

Either way, when the original film has damaged the photograph and the stories it told can be lost forever. Converting your negatives to digital protects those memories and sorts them into files so they are easily found. Digitally stored photographs are also much easier to share with important people such as family, friends, or clients.

Lastly, the quality of digital photographs is exceedingly better than their analog counterparts. Negative scanning offers you the option to choose your preferred DPI or Dots Per Inch. DPI refers to how the resolution of a photograph is measured; a higher DPI means a better-quality image.

For family and casual photo viewing a DPI of 1200 probably won’t be noticeable, but if you work with photographs professionally it expands the possibilities for editing and display exponentially.

What Photos Can Be Scanned?

When it comes to converting your photo negatives to digital, the only limit is your imagination. No matter how your photographs are stored, whether it be loose in a bag or permanently installed in an album, they can be digitized with the correct equipment.

For a photo album or scrapbook that contains photos that cannot be removed and scanned individually a large flatbed or overhead planetary scanner would be used. Photos of all shapes and sizes can be digitized in either 300, 600, or 1200 DPI depending on your needs.

300 DPI is fine for casual use such as family photographs and can be printed for sharing at their original size with no loss of picture quality. However, if you plan on blowing up or enhancing your images with editing software you may want to consider a higher DPI.

600 DPI images can be doubled in size without any loss of quality and 1200 DPI photos can be blown up as much as six times the original size. These higher resolution options are perfect for those who do photography professionally or as a hobby by making editing easier and broadening your display options.

Negatives Versus Photographs, What’s the Difference?

Like a seed in a garden, negatives are the source from which all photographs sprout. Negative scanning often produces a better-quality digital image than scanning the photograph itself. Film types that can be digitized include:

  • 35mm Negatives
  • 110 Negatives
  • 126 Format Negatives
  • Medium to Large Format Negatives

Special equipment is often required to digitize negatives correctly and without damage. In addition to inherently producing a more enhanced image than scanning a photograph, digital negatives are scanned at a higher DPI.

Negatives can be scanned at 2000, 3000, or 4000 DPI which allows for the printing of five by seven, 11 by 14, or 16 by 20-inch photographs, respectively.

What’s the Process?

After shipping or dropping off your order at a professional negative scanning service you should trust that your valued memories will be treated with the utmost care. Upon receiving an order all projects are labeled and logged into the system to ensure no photographs are lost.

After logging in all of the items an expert scanning technician will carefully clean and sort photographs to determine what equipment needs to be used and then load them into the top-of-the-line scanners. Most high-end negative scanners are equipped with Digital Image Correction and Enhancement, or Digital ICE technology.

Digital ICE is used to locate and mend any imperfections found on the negatives such as scratches or dust. Digital ICE will also do a preliminary retouch of your negatives by adjusting the color, contrast, and exposure of the film to produce a crystal-clear image. It should be noted that while negatives that are in very poor condition or heavily scratched will be vastly improved by scanning with Digital ICE, there will likely still be some imperfections.

The next step is post-processing the digital images which include cropping, rotating, adjusting skew, color correction, and photo enhancement all done by a premier technician so your photographs are returned at the highest possible quality. . Once your order is complete it is returned to you via data disk, flash drive, or an online download according to your preferred storage method along with the original analog images.

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but the memories they hold, stories they tell, and their special place in your heart are priceless. Digitizing your photos helps you keep telling those stories and sharing the memories of the people you love most for generations to come.

Author Name: Brandon Harris

Author BIO: Brandon Harris is the owner of Smooth Photo Scanning Services, a photo digitization service, video transfer service in New Jersey. Prior to that, Brandon owned and operated a small bakery. Other than working to grow and improve his business, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and family.