For over 20 years, thousands of customers have trusted Capture to convert photos to digital. We wanted to use our expertise to give you the best ways to transfer your priceless photographs, slides, and negatives to digital format. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of all the best options including scanners, apps, online services, and more, so you can decide the best option for your photos.
Here’s a summary of the 5 ways to converting photos to digital we review below:
- Photo Scanning Machines: A DIY option that produces good quality outcomes by scanning each photo. A significant amount of time and effort is required because you must scan each image individually.
- Photo Scanning Apps: Uses your phone’s camera to take pictures of each photo, which sacrifices quality but offers some additional features and timesaving uses.
- Local Photo Scanning Services and Retailers: Local shops and retailers sometimes have photo centers that can scan photos for different uses including gifts, digital copies, and more. Quality, price, and other factors depend on the store you choose.
- Online Photo Digitizing Kits: These are boxes that you put your media into before sending to the company for professional digitization. They are convenient, but often expensive.
- Capture Photo Conversion Service: Offers photo, slide, and negative conversion to digital as well as security for your memories. Capture also introduced the first-ever touchless album scanning service, so nobody must remove photos from albums.
- After we review those 5 options in the next section, you can learn more about how photo conversion works, why you might want to do it, best practices for DIY photo scanning, and FAQs about photo conversion.
How to Convert Photos to Digital Format
Whether you want to convert photos to digital at home or use an online or local service, you have plenty of options. While professional conversion services offer distinct benefits like high-quality results and security for your old photos, there are some advantages for DIY options as well.
Photo Scanning Machine
Image Source: https://www.kodak.com/en/consumer/product/printing-scanning/film-scanners/scanza-digital-film-scanner/
You can purchase photo scanning machines at retailers or online on Amazon and start converting photos on your own immediately. Each scan will produce a different JPEG file that you can then edit and enhance using photo editing software. While this option is time-consuming and geared toward tech-savvy users, the result is good quality. The most affordable option is a flatbed photo scanner, but it’s also the most time consuming and won’t produce the best digital images.
Keep in mind, though, that these machines are typically expensive, especially if you want the highest-quality results for your memories. For example, the Epson FastFoto offers good results and fast digitization but costs as much as $499.99 and will only work for print photos. If you have slides and film negatives, then the Kodak Scanza film scanner is a good option to convert negatives to digital photos but will not work for print photos.
- Good quality results, especially with the highest-rated machines
- Creates a JPEG file for each photo, which makes it easy to organize or enhance
- Time-consuming because you have to scan each photo separately
- Options typically don’t work for all photo types (print photos, film negatives, and slides)
- Expensive if you want the best results
Photo Scanning Apps
- Affordable as long as you already have a smartphone
- Easy to learn
- Some apps work for slides, negatives, and print photos
- Time-consuming because you have to take separate images
- Quality depends on the camera, lighting, and user skill
- May show glare, dust, reflections, and other imperfections
Local Photo Scanning Services and Retailers
If you are searching for, “convert photos to digital near me” then there may be a few options. Some local shops offer photo scanning services, but many of these services are only designed to create gifts, posters, and additional copies of your physical photos.
Some retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and CVS offer photo digitizing services, but only Walmart and CVS offer local pick-up and drop-off options with services fulfilled by Capture’s parents’ company YesVideo. This means you get premium service and high-quality results from a specialty company trusted by millions for over 20 years.
- Professional quality results
- Trusted customer service
- Local convenience with some local shops and Walmart and CVS offering in-store options
- Pricing differs between shops and retailers and may be expensive
- Processing times may be long because these locations don’t specialize in photo conversion
- Not every location offers these services and many only offer analog photo scanning services
Online Photo Digitizing Kits
Image Source: https://www.amazon.com/iMemories-SafeShip-Conversion-Reimbursement-Digitally/dp/B07P19TMZP
Kit-based digitizing services will send you a protective box so that you can send them your photographs. These are professional convert photos to digital services so you can expect good results. Plus, they offer convenience because you can receive, pack, and ship your photo collection for conversion from the comfort of your home.
Two of the most popular online photo digitizing kit companies are iMemories and LegacyBox. Both options are reliable and have good reviews but can get very expensive. For example, iMemories starts at 99 cents per photo while LegacyBox costs $299.98 for only 250 photos.
- Professional results
- At-home convenience
- Works for film negatives, slides, and print photos
- Can be very expensive, especially if you have a large photo collection
- May take as long as 10 to 12 weeks to receive your digital copies and original family photos
- Some companies do not offer security and tracking services for your precious memories
Capture Photo Conversion Service
With over 12 million satisfied customers over 20 years, we can convert photos to digital using the highest-quality equipment. Not only that, but we automatically upload your high-quality digital images to your included MemoryCloud account and Google Photos Library.
Plus, you can rest assured knowing your memories are in good hands because we spent millions on a state-of-the-art security system that tracks your photos every step of the way. We even offer the world’s first touchless photo album scanning service, which means we scan your photo albums without anyone ever touching, removing, or potentially damaging the photos themselves.
We can digitize your print photos as well as film negatives including 35 mm, APS film, 110 film, 110/220 film, 126 Instamatic film, and large negatives. We also digitize 35 mm, Super 35 mm, 110/220, 126, 127, and 127 Superslide slides.
- Professional results with glare removal, cropping, and color correction
- State-of-the-art security, barcode tracking, and 24-hour monitoring to protect your memories every step of the way
- Fast with conversion in less than 30 days including shipping
- Patented touchless photo album conversion that ensures your photos are never damaged because nobody will touch or remove them from albums or scrapbooks
- Affordable with conversion starting at only $28.99 for the first 50 print photos, slides, or negatives
- The smallest photos we can accept are 2” x 2” and the largest are 8” x 12” (we can accept photo albums up to 14” x 14”)
What is Photo Conversion?
Photo conversion, also called photo transfer or digital scanning, will create digital images out of your photographs. You will still have your original photos to cherish, but you will also have digital copies that you can share, view, enjoy, and preserve.
How it works depends on the photo conversion option you choose, but in general, it works by scanning the photograph to create the highest quality digital image possible. From there, the image can be cropped, color corrected, and enhanced as needed.
Depending on the option you choose to convert photos to digital, you can digitize print photos, photo albums, negatives, and slides. However, not all these types of photo memories are possible with all photo conversion options. Before deciding, make sure you consider the types of family photos that you have.
Why is it Important to Convert Photos to Digital?
Physical photos are wonderful because they capture your precious memories and can be cherished as family heirlooms, but there are plenty of reasons to transfer them and create high-quality digital images.
Preserve Photo Memories
Old photos can fade and deteriorate over time and are prone to damage caused by fires, floods, and other disasters. By creating digital files out of your photo memories, you can preserve them and protect them forever.
With digital images, you can instantly share all your favorite memories using social media and email. This ensures that all your family members and future generations will have access to your family photos and will be able to view and enjoy them easily on any digital device.
Family photo albums, slide carousels, and shoeboxes full of photographs take up a lot of space. After converting them to digital photos, you can store your memories on a hard drive, on a computer, or in the cloud with your Google Drive, iCloud, or DropBox account.
Enhance Printed Photos
When you create digital copies of your old photos, then you can use photo editing software for color correction, cropping, and enhancing images for clearer DPI resolution. With digital functionality, you can even combine family photos to include members of different generations and create new, lasting memories.
Best Practices for DIY Photo Conversion
To ensure the highest quality results for photo conversion, you should take some of these factors into consideration if you are planning on converting photos yourself.
Hold Photos from the Edges
The more you touch your photos, the more likely you are to damage them or add fingerprints to the digital images. While this is not much of a concern with a professional service that offers glare removal and color correction, it’s something to keep in mind for DIY options.
One Photo at Time
While it is possible to scan an entire page of a photo album at once to create a single digital image, it’s better to digitize one image at a time for high-quality results. This also makes it easier to enhance later and will help you create smaller pixels for higher resolution. It is very time-consuming, but future generations will thank you.
If you are using photo scanning apps or machines, make sure you read the reviews. Many of these options are targeted toward tech-savvy users and may even require adapters. Some may only work on Windows computers, not Macs. Plus, you want to make sure you are getting the best option for your budget.
Common Questions About Photo Conversion
How can I digitize my photos for free?
While you can simply take pictures with your smartphone camera or use a flatbed scanner, we don’t recommend this method because it will create poor quality results in addition to being time-consuming. Your photos are important, so it’s better to spend a little money to preserve them forever.
Is it possible to create a digital video slideshow from my photos?
There are software options that can create a slideshow out of your photos, slides, and negatives. Capture also offers slideshows and other options with our DVD format option for an additional fee.
How can I create physical copies of digital images?
With digital images, you can print them, but this usually requires a photo printing service or equipment if you want high-quality results on photo paper. Another option is to add a USB drive or DVD to your Capture order and receive your entire photo collection in physical copies.
How long does it take to digitize 1000 photos?
While it depends on the method you use, it takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to convert photos to digital. Therefore, for a photo collection of 1000 photos, it would take 80 to 160 hours. With a service, it can take as long as 10 to 12 weeks, but Capture offers the fastest conversion in the industry at less than 30 days including shipping.
What is the Best Way to Convert Photos to Digital?
If you don’t want to spend hours of time learning and using photo scanning equipment and apps or simply want the highest quality results and security for your memories, Capture is the best option. Plus, we not only convert your photos, photo albums, slides, and negatives, but can also digitize your VHS videotapes, film reel home movies, and much more!
Regardless, we understand your photo collection is important to you, which is why we always suggest doing your own research into the best options to convert photos to digital. That way you can find the best for your memories. Capture is here to help you make the best decision for your photos, so check us out today!