“Digitize” simply means making a digital version of an object or image. Photographs can be digitized using a variety of different kinds of scanners. Many people have home printers capable of scanning images, making it possible for folks to digitize all their print images. However, it’s time consuming, and your home printer may or may not scan at a high enough resolution to do justice to your photos.
Future posts will delve into those issues, but for now let’s look at some of the reasons why you might consider taking on this project in the first place:
- Scanning allows you to get ALL your photos together in one place. Prints, slides, and even negatives can be scanned, and those images can then be combined with the photos you’ve taken with digital cameras and phones so that you can see and organize your entire collection in one format.
- Digitizing is a good way to back up your images. Slides and prints can deteriorate over time, especially if they’re not stored in archival quality materials.
- Storage devices for scanned images take up little space. Depending on the size of your collection, you might store them on a thumb drive, a set of DVDs, or an external hard drive. They can even be stored off-site, making use of cloud-based services. It’s recommended that you back them up in multiple ways, but even so, a digital collection of thousands of images will take up far less space than boxes of prints or trays of slides.
- Digital images are easy to share. You can email photos to a friend, post them on social media sites, share an entire collection, or create a slideshow to share on a cloud-based site.
- Digital images can also be featured in printed books, and you can have multiple copies made for family members and friends. These books can be printed versions of photo albums or scrapbooks, or they can include stories explaining the context of the photos.
Whether you choose to scan your items yourself or have that job done professionally, digitizing your photo collection will give you many more options for using and enjoying your pictures.