Scanning Photos for
Digital Frame Content

Does the task of scanning photos give you pause? When we talk about digital frame content, we are usually talking about digital photos. But what about those photos that have already been printed out and are either in a box or in an album somewhere?

Scanning printed photos into a computer, editing them and then transferring them to a frame by means of a memory card or through a USB drive are excellent ways to preserve those old photos while adding to your digital frame content.

This is, after all, the 'digital age'. It is still fun to pore over those old pictures, but how many other generations will be able to share them? Are they already starting to fade? Have they become brittle or smelly?

Scanning your treasured old photos into a computer program or onto a CD, DVD, flash drive or memory card, ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy our photo history. And how wonderful to see those old memories come alive again when displayed on a digital frame!

For those who may not be too familiar with the process of scanning photos for digital frame content, I have listed some information about scanning photos below...

What Procedure Works Best?

There are many ways to proceed, once you have decided to preserve your photos by scanning. Time is an important point to consider as well as the resolution of the scanner.

Types of Scanners that are Available for Scanning Photos for Digital Frame Content

Flatbed Scanner

A flatbed scanner attached to your computer is one way to accomplish the job of scanning photos for digital frame content. I have found this to be a very time-consuming task, but a very worthwhile effort to make. The resolution is important and most of the flatbed scanners do a good job.

Hand-Held Scanners

The biggest benefit of hand-held scanners is their portability. Unfortunately, the quality of the resolution of these scanners doesn't always match that of the flatbed scanner. There are ones available specifically for scanning photos and others for scanning just about any size paper.

The ones for photos generally do not scan larger than the popular 4"x6" size photo. One of the reasons for this is that a higher resolution will not make a real improvement in picture quality. (300 pixels per inch is usually a high enough resolution for any photo that is 5"x7" or smaller.)

Slide or Negative Scanners

When we speak of scanning photos, we cannot forget those strips or slides of negatives. There are scanners made specifically for the purpose of scanning this particular type of media.

Special slots for scanning negatives can even be found bundled with some "all-in-one" printers, scanners and copiers.

Negatives used to be the only way we had to get copies of our original photos. We were always careful to store them out of the light and safely tucked away somewhere. Only the photo store knew what to do with them.

No longer do they have to take up physical space! We can now digitally preserve, edit and share the pictures from these negatives, allowing us to produce even better quality images than the originals themselves.

Professional Photo Scanning for Digital Frame Content

There is much to consider when deciding to send your precious photos to a professional photo scanning company.

1. Stay Local if Possible

A photo shop in your home town may offer this service. That would be ideal because shipping does involve some risks. I would not recommend shipping your photos overseas.

2. Shipping Risks

To lower your risk of loss during shipping, it is always advisable to ship photos in separate batches so that if one box is lost or damaged, you will not have lost everything. And always use a postal service that can be tracked, such as USPS Express Mail, UPS or FedEx.

3. Prepare for Shipping Carefully

Carefully seal the photos in plastic bags and put them in corrugated cardboard boxes.

4. Archival Disks Important

Please make sure that the CDs or DVDs used to save your digital files are archival disks or ones meant for long-term storage.

5. Backing Up Your Computerized Photos

Keep in mind that any time a computer is used to store photos, whether for short or long periods, back them up or they could one day become victims of a computer virus or a hard disk failure.

You can, of course, back them up to CDs and DVDs or you could look for online services such as:

This Internet service runs Clickfree Easy Backup Photo DVDs.

The way this service works is that you buy the disk and simply attach it to your computer by means of a USB port. Each disk itself contains all it needs to backup important files from your computer. They can hold about 2,000 images. There is a nominal charge for the disks.

It would be wise to store these disks at another location such as in a safe-deposit box.

ScanCafe: Recommended On-Line Photo Scanning Company

I have found an on-line photo scanning company called ScanCafe that I would highly recommend. Their website is phenomenal. Everything is explained in thorough detail.

ScanCafe is the #1 rated service for scanning slides, negatives, and photos. They have scanned over 22 million images by hand!

Founded in 2006, this company can scan old photos, slides, and negatives, and turn them into archival-quality digital files that customers can share and keep forever.

The most important point is that they hand-scan each image—that is, they scan and manually adjust each image to correct damage that will have happened in the years since the picture was taken.

I would definitely suggest checking out this company if you are looking for any of the services they offer... ScanCafe, the scanning service used by pro photographers and Pulitzer Prize winners. It’s available to you at a nominal fee per image.

In the next page of this section on digital frame content management, we will look at the management of that content with ideas for additional resources.

Pleases also check out the section on Using Digital Frames.

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