The advantages to having your photos, slide transparencies and even home movies digitised and stored a click away on your computer are manifold. Digitising your photos is perfectly possible as a DIY job, but sometimes you might be better off having the work professionally done. Before getting stuck in ask yourself these questions to find the best route for you.
Why are you digitising your photos?
The idea of digitising your photos and having them all handy is seductive. Out goes the clutter of old albums and you can easily send images to friends and family. That may be so, but achieving it is a bit more complicated. To choose the best option for you, you need to consider the bigger picture. Of course your own digital photo archive would be ideal, but ask yourself why specifically it should be done. Is it easy access? Is it for use on websites or for easy distribution? Is it because you have fragile old photographs and need to preserve and/or digitally restore them?
How much time do you have?
Digitising large collections of photos take a longtime. Though there are batch scanning options available, allowing multiple photos or slides to be processed in one go, these will then all be scanned to the same specifications. If you have diverse images that require different treatments, these are better scanned individually — it’s important to get them ‘right’ in the initial scan than have to tweak them afterwards.
How technically minded are you?
Basic scanning-black and white printed documents for example — is simple. Good quality scanning of images is a whole new ball game. To give one example: beginners often assume that the higher resolution the scan the better. This is not strictly true. In fact the main reason for high res scans is if you want to make large prints from them. Many a novice has scanned at high res and then struggled to handle the massive files that result.