Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Scanning paper prints to digital photos on your hard disk


Sometimes you find yourself in a situation when you have to scan paper prints, negatives or slides and store them as digital photos on your computer. Although the reason for doing that can vary there are some common considerations to scanning paper prints. In this article we will go over some of them and try to make your scanning experience easier.

There are three types of prints that you might be scanning:

  • Paper prints: the most common, usually at sizes like 4X6 and 5X7.
  • Negatives: also known simply as film. This is the processed film usually 35mm from which paper prints are made.
  • Slides: very similar to negatives used for projecting photos on a large screen.
  • Scanning paper photos prints.

    Photo paper prints are easy to scan. You can choose to scan them yourself at home (purchasing a scanner that can do the job is usually cheap and costs less than a $100). You can also choose to mail them (or hand them) to a professional scanning service that will scan them for you and mail you back the originals and a DVD with the digital scans (such services include,, and many more)

    There are pros and cons to both scanning at home and using a professional service. If you have a small number of photos scanning at home is easier. If you have plenty of photos using a service might be easier but you can end up spending more money.
    When scanning at home consider the following:

  • Resolution: the resolution of a scan is measured by the number of dots per inch that the scanner can produce. Most scanners can scan at 1200 DPI or more. Usually the scanner can be set to scan at different resolutions. The higher the resolution the slower the scan and the bigger the photo file size will be. For most paper prints scanning at 300 to 600 DPI is enough but you can experiment scanning at higher resolutions if you feel it provides better results.
  • Speed: If you have a small number of photos speed is not an issue. If you have hundreds or more of photos scanning speed becomes important. To get fast scans you would have to scan at the lowest resolution possible that results in good enough scans – for most paper prints 300 to 600 DPI is enough.. Also if you’re going to buy a scanner check the scanning speed (usually measured in the number of scans per minute make sure that you check the speed at the DPI you’re going to use).
  • Photo feeding: if you only have a small number of photos this is not an issue. If you have many photos make sure that the scanner you buy allows fast and easy loading of photos. Some higher-end scanners will let you load a stack of photos and will automatically feed and scan them for you. These scanners are the right choice if you are planning on scanning hundreds or more photos.
  • Scanning negatives and slides

    Scanning negatives and slides is harder than scanning paper prints. In most cases it is easier and maybe cheaper to use a professional scanning service (such services include,, and many more). If you want to scan at home your standard flat scanner will not be good enough. In most cases you will need to spend money on purchasing a film/slides scanner. Those scanners are more expensive than the flat paper scanners. Negatives and slides are small high resolution sources and thus require scanning at higher DPI than paper prints. In most cases 2400DPI or higher should be used.

    The considerations for scanning negatives and slides are similar to scanning paper prints. If you need to scan just a few negatives or slides speed and ease are not important but if you’re going to scan hundreds or more you should spend more money on scanners that can feed the negatives or slides automatically or can just load a roll of film and scan it.

    Digital Photography Success | Web Article Directory

    Where there is no vision, the people perish.
    Proverbs 29:18

    The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
    Psalm 24:1-2

    He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
    Psalm 104:10-13

    Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
    Matthew 6:26

    How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number living things both large and small.
    Psalm 104:24-25

    Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
    Ansel Adams

    When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!
    Ted Grant

    While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.
    Dorothea Lange

    When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
    Ansel Adams

    Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
    Ansel Adams

    Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
    Matt Hardy

    Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
    Elliott Erwitt

    Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
    Imogen Cunningham

    You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.
    William Albert Allard

    If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.
    Garry Winogrand

    I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.

    Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
    Ansel Adams

    It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.
    Timothy Allen


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