Zoopy is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

How To Digitize Film Photos?

With digital technology being so advanced, there are many ways to store and move your photos. You can take a picture on your camera or have it stored digitally in just minutes. But what about those old photographs you've had sitting around for years? They only exist physically at this point, which means they're not accessible on digital devices.

There are a few different ways to get your old photos digitized. You might have been putting off doing it because of the expense, but now is a good time to make those memories live on through images online. Thanks to all this new technology, there's no need for any more hanging around in packs or albums.

Negatives are images printed on film strips when you shoot using an analog camera. These rolls of film are called negatives because they're the exact inverse of your final picture – the black parts are white, and the white parts are black.

Why Digitize Film Photos?

kodak positive film

Negatives, slides, and other film types are delicate and prone to degradation even with special care, but you can digitize them to preserve them. Digitizing your negatives is a way to ensure that you always have a photo that won't change colors. Of course, you can also duplicate your digital photos and share as much as you want.

The physical world is constantly changing, and it's important to convert paper and film media into digital so you can protect your treasures. Photos will fade, and the film will degrade over time if not stored correctly. Preserving memories is a never-ending process. 

There are several reasons why you might want to convert old photos from film or paper and keep them digitally. For example, if you don't use them as decorations on walls year after year, converting these pictures into digital will allow for more accessible storage with less risk that they'll be lost forever.

Advertisement

Continue reading below

Best Ways to Digitize Your Photos

imemories-before-after

Professional Digitizing Service

Hiring a professional photo scanning service to digitize your photos is easiest for you. Online services are a good solution if you don't have the equipment or are not very technical. But you have to be patient. This kind of service can take several weeks.

Also, if your photos need retouching or even repair, which takes years of skill and practice, in that case, professional service is best for getting the job done properly. 

We recommend going with a professional digitizing service because of the lack of experience and the right equipment. You might ruin your film and lose precious memories. However, if you take a risk and do the job by yourself, keep in mind that you need to invest in proper equipment and lose lots of time, and even then, it's no guarantee that you will have good quality.

What can you get from digitizing services:

  • Professional work
  • Safe process of your media with a high-quality outcome 
  • Media can be converted and transferred to DVD, USB, Portable Hard Drive, or Cloud
  • You are informed throughout the whole digitizing process via status page or email (depends on service)
  • Affordable price

How Do Professional Digitizing Services work?

For most digitizing services, the process is basically the same. First, you need to make an online order. During ordering, you will be offered digital copy options of your media that you will receive back on a DVD, USB, Portable Hard Drive, or Cloud.

Then gather the media you would like to scan, like photos, prints, slides, or negatives. When you complete the order, you need to pack your media and send it to the service. You can also get a crush-proof box for safe shipping with an included prepaid shipping label with some services.

After they get your media, they will check it, and then the digitization process can start. Each service has its own professional team of technicians that works on digitizing with the help of special high-quality equipment. Depending on type and format, they can enhance, repair, and remove unwanted objects from your media.

Everything is monitored throughout the process, and you can track each step on the status page or be notified by email. After the digitizing process is completed, your original media will be sent back to you with an included digital copy that you previously chose.

One Of The Best Digitizing Services - iMemories and ScanMyPhotos

iMemories and ScannMyPhotos
iMemories anb ScanMyPhotos Digitizng Services

iMemories and ScanMyPhotos are among the most popular choices for digitizing photos and videos formats. 

Also, both of these services have years of experience and plenty of positive customer reviews and ratings.  

iMemories offers services for all popular media types like photos, slides, negatives, videotapes, and movie films.

They are known for a straightforward process, affordable prices, and fast turnaround time. Moreover, during the digitizing process, they enhance photos and videos to look even better than the original.

One of the things that customers love about iMemories is they offer plenty of options for digital copies.

ScanMyPhotos is another top photo scanning service with over 30 years of experience, and they do their job fast and professionally. At ScanMyPhotos, your films are delicately digitized by hand, one frame at a time.

For those where the processing speed is important, ScanMyPhotos is the go-to choice. For example, the turnaround time for Pay-Per-Photo Scanning is within 5-10 business days, whereas for Prepaid Photo Digitizing Box, which holds up to 1,800 photos, it is approximately 25 business days. Also, they offer 1-day express scanning with a price starting at $149.95 per box.

For more in-depth information about these digitizing services, read our iMemories and ScanMyPhotos review.

How Much Do These Services Cost?

We will only talk about iMemories and ScanMyPhotos because they have very affordable prices. For a better services comparison, see the table.

iMemories

ScanMyPhotos

iMemories
Legacybox

Website Link

Photo Conversion

Photos, Negatives, Slides

Photos from 3x3” to 8.10”, Slides, 35mm negative, APS negative, 120mm negative

Photo Conversion Price

$0.47 per photo, slide and negative

Photos:

72dpi - $0.10 per scan
150dpi - $0.14 per scan
300dpi - $0.18 per scan
600dpi - $0.23 per scan

Slide
Starting at $0.71 per slide

35MM Negative
Starting at $0.47 per frame

APS

Starting at $7.95 per roll

120MM Negative
Starting at $1.95 per frame

Video Conversion

Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, Hi8, Digital 8, MiniDV, MicroMini, DVDs, MiniDVDs

VHS, VHS-C, MiniDV or Hi8 tapes in NTSC format

Video Conversion Price

$11.99 per tape

$17.50 per tape with included DVD

Film Conversion

8mm, 16mm, Super 8

16mm, 8mm, Super 8

Film Conversion Price

$11.99 per 50ft.

Starting at $0.19 per foot

Audio Conversion

N/A

N/A

Audio Conversion Price

N/A

N/A

Photo Restoration

N/A

Photo colorization
Change color or B&W photo
Pro Eye Retouching
Background Retouching
Background Enhancement

Image Croping
Removal up to 3 small objects
Removal up to 3 large elements
Teeh Whitening
Blemish Removal

Photo Restoration Price

N/A

Starting at $45.50 per photo

How Long Does It Take to Digitize

2 to 3 weeks (depending on quantity)

Photo scanning is 10-51 business days (depending on quantity)

VHS transfer 4-6 weeks (depending on quantity)

iMemories price for conversion of photos goes for $0.59 per photo, slide, or negative. They currently have a limited-time offer where you can save 25% on digital conversion pricing. Click here to find out if the sale is still going on.

iMemories photo box

On the other hand, SanMyPhotos offers lower prices for photo scanning and photo scanning boxes for larger orders. For example, a pay-Per-Photo scan goes from $0.10 per standard 72dpi scan ($25 minimum order).

Besides standard scan, they also offer three other resolutions scan options:

  • Social Media 150dpi - $0.14 per scan
  • Archival 300dpi - $0.18 per scan
  • Professional 600dpi - $0.23 per scan

Photo Scanning Box can hold up to 1,800 photos, with a starting price of $0.10 per scan, and the price per prepaid box is $174 with included free delivery. With a prepaid scanning box, you can also choose scanning resolution:

  • Standard 72dpi - $0.10 per scan
  • Social Media 150dpi - $0.14 per scan
  • Archival 300dpi - $0.18 per scan
  • Professional 600dpi - $0.23 per scan
ScanMyPhotos scanning service review

ScanMyPhotos offers medium and high-resolution scans of your film negatives. So for 35mm and APS film, you can pick from 2,000dpi medium or 4,000dpi high JPG scans. For 120mm film, you can choose from 1,000dpi or 2,000dpi JPG scans. For all orders, there is a $20 minimum order.

35mm negative scanning goes for:

  • $0.47 per frame 2,000dpi 6MP
  • $0.89 per frame 4,000dpi 16MP

APS negative scanning goes for:

  • $7.95 per roll 2,000dpi 6MP
  • $12.95 per roll 4,000dpi 16MP

120mm negative scanning goes for $1.95 per frame.

2,000 dpi is best for printing slides as photos; you can print up to 8x10'' photos and 11x14 in some exceptions. However, for the right archival digital image or if you want your posters printed from these pictures, choose 4,000dpi resolution.

Converting Negatives To Digital Using a Film Scanner

Digitizing your negatives and slides is a great way to save them for future generations. There are many different scanners available to get film digitized. They are pretty easy to use, and all you have to do is place the film, and the scanner will do the rest.

The resolution of scanners is very high, which can make high-quality scans up to 4,000 dpi. This makes it great for anyone looking to have high-quality scans without any hassle.

In just 3 seconds per scan time, you can get your images perfect every single time. In addition, they can automatically correct images in the form of color and contrast. They also usually come with software to make even more adjustments on your own. Finally, they often come with compatible software so that you can make even more adjustments.

Different brands and models may require different instructions, but the process should be very similar for any brand or type. But make sure to get one that has a good light source so that your images come out crystal clear.

Digitizing Film Photos On Scanner

The most versatile type of film scanner is a flatbed, but it won't work with the film if you don't have a light source inside. So be sure to look for one that specifically says "for films" on its specifications before purchasing.

Scanners For Positive Film Photos

Photos with this type of film appear just as they would in real life. So, for example, you can view your film and see that the images have all the natural colors.

The flatbed scanner is one of the most common types you'll find. You can purchase it individually, or sometimes they're included in a printer/scanner set up for dual-purpose printing and scanning.

They are simple and easy-to-use devices. When you open the scanner's lid, a flat piece of glass lays horizontally.

Kodak scanza film scanner
Kodak Scanza Digital Film Scanner

Next, you place your prints face down on the surface. After that, close the lid and start scanning. The scanner will transfer images to the computer during the process, and you will have a digital file.

When scanning your photos, it's important to keep the glass clean and dust-free. Any marks will show up in digital form.

Advertisement

Continue reading below

Negative Scanners

Negatives are film strips that look as if the colors are reversed. For example, bright areas on the image are darker, and darker areas appear brighter.

For scanning negatives, you will need professional equipment. There are also special scanners for this film that can scan your negatives with professional standards.

The best thing about negative scanners is processing and seeing the image's colors. They have special software that turns your negative images into positive ones so you can see color in them.

Kodak Slide N Scan Film Scanner
Kodak Slide N Scan Digital Film Scanner

Note: You must use gloves so you don't leave fingerprints or marks on the negative film. Also, don't fold negatives or cut them into single frames.

Conclusion

If you have any old film photos lying around, we highly recommend digitizing them. This will protect their quality and ensure they won't degrade over time, but it also gives you the ability to share them with anyone, anywhere in the world, without worrying about damage or loss. And if you want the best results, leave the job to the professionals.

We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of digitizing your film photos and old media in general. By doing so, you're ensuring their longevity and protecting them from any damage that could occur if they were kept in physical form.

Hello

Abdo
Written by
Abdo

Abdo is a Zoopy writer who loves spending his free time outdoors, camping, and enjoying the peace that nature brings. He also enjoys fixing things - he's particularly good with electronics. His favorite movie is I Am Legend, and he's fascinated by survival gear and safety.

Leave a Reply