Nearly every household with members belonging to the 90s era has old photos that were developed through film. This is the era when Kodak had conquered the photography industry. However, as the usage of digital technology becomes increasingly reliable, the obsolescence of analog devices like camera films is inevitable.

Along with it is the undeniable truth that the old photos can fade. These photos may not be redeveloped again as the method of capturing doesn’t involve storing them as digital files. In order to preserve their value, it is advantageous to secure digital copies by scanning them. In this article, you will learn how to scan your old photos.

Photo Scanning Service Vs. DIY Scanning

As of 2019, there are around 122 million digital cameras sold worldwide. That number can only increase as time goes by. Consequentially, photo scanning services will reduce as most people seek to undertake a DIY project to scan their photos.

Photo Scanning Service

Today, numerous companies offer photo scanning services. You just need to identify one, email them your images, and they will scan them before sending them back to you. Here are the pros and cons of photo scanning services:


∙ Great results

∙ Convenience

∙ The work is left to professionals


∙ Need organized preparation before mailing

∙ Risk of damage due to mishandling

∙ Additional cost

∙ Time-consuming

DIY Scanning

Nowadays, printer scanners are very common. If your old pictures are not larger than the size of a short bond paper, then you can easily scan them at home. Here are the pros and cons of the DIY method:


∙ Total control of the output

∙ Saves money

∙ No need to mail

∙ Operate at will

∙ Room for reminiscing


∙ Time-consuming in terms of preparation, scanning, and editing

∙ Operating cost

∙ Basic technical know-how is needed

How to Scan Old Photos

With the right equipment and free time, you can do the scanning by yourself. Here are the steps on how to execute it properly.

Prepare the Equipment

Here are the things you will need before you scan your photos:

∙ At least a 2-in-1 printer scanner or a flatbed scanner

∙ A microfiber cloth, either new or clean

∙ Necessary software for the scanner

∙ Computer

Nowadays, smartphone cameras are so powerful that you can use them as a substitute. You can use them to take pictures of your old photos, especially if you have a tight budget. For even greater results, a digital camera is preferable.

Get Ready for the Project

After gathering your equipment, the next step is to define your project. Make sure that you take inventory of the photos that you want to scan. Of course, the more old photos you have, the more time you will need. Sort each photo accordingly, either by date, size, or fragility. Then, divide them based on the time you can allot in scanning them.

Along with the scheduling, you must also install the necessary software beforehand. Also, make sure that your computer is set for when you need to scan the photos.

Clean The Equipment

The dust outside is a non-factor while scanning. However, operating a scanner requires you to open and close the cover frequently. This means that dust on the outside will make its way to the scanning surfaces. Therefore, it is necessary to tidy the scanner bed up.

Additionally, use a dry microfiber cloth to clean the scanning surfaces and leave them spotless. However, it is advisable not to use tissues or paper towels as they may scratch the surface.

Dust The Photos Off

Similarly, clean your photos before beginning the scanning process. If your photos are very dusty, try to clean them using a can of compressed air. If you don’t have that, a dry microfiber cloth may be enough. Do not use wet wipes or rags, and do not iron the photo’s physical creases as this may cause more damage.

Scan The Photos

Now that everything is clean, the next step is to scan the photos. Usually, there will be guidelines provided on the program on how to scan. It is recommended to scan the photos in their original hues and at the maximum resolution possible since they can be editable later on. Also, make separate folders for the photos scanned for easy sorting and organization.

Make Edits if Necessary

If you want to post the photos on social media, you can make the necessary edits. An image editor program can fix issues like red-eye or misalignment due to creases.

Adjust Methods

Since you have made a schedule for each scanning session, try to be more efficient. In your first try, your scanning method may consist primarily of trial-and-error, but you will eventually develop patterns and preferences. If you take down technical notes, the succeeding sessions might become smooth if you are willing to adjust.


Scanning is a good way to give your old photos a brand new appearance. After scanning the images, it is highly advisable to create a backup copy for future reference.