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How to Convert Photos to Digital Copies

By Christian Roemer

Physical pictures are cool. They’re little, rectangular, touchable, feelable, viewable memories that you can look at practically any time. They don’t require a battery charge, backlights, or internet. They’re firmly rooted in place.

The problem is that they’re so totally un-Instagrammable.

The good news is that passing your pictures from physical purgatory to digital nirvana is easy. Even though no method is particularly difficult, they’re not all the same. Some methods can take days, weeks, or months to digitize your entire photo library, while others are completely hands-off and fast.

If you’re wanting to capitalize on the treasure trove of potential likes that your old 4x6 photos are harboring by digitizing them, here’s a quick guide on the three best ways to convert your pictures to digital.


1. Picture-in-Picture Method 

This method is the simplest, but it’s also the most likely to get you laughed off of Facebook. This method literally consists of taking a picture of your picture. If this is the method you choose, be prepared to combat lighting, bends, imperfections, dust, and your own reflection like an ornery Chihuahua. You’ll need to set your pictures on the flattest surface possible, line up the corners, and hope the lighting is perfect. Turn off your flash, and prepare to spend the next few weeks living in picture Inception.


2. Self-Scan Method 

If the picture-in-picture method is what Bubba would do, the self-scan method is what his technologically savvy sister, Barbara, would do. You’ll just need a scanner, a computer, and plenty of free time. Most scanners can only accommodate a single picture at a time, so it’ll take a while. After you scan your photos, you’ll need to organize them on your computer by renaming and foldering the files. I don’t particularly enjoy developing naming conventions for 20 year old photos, but I’m not going to rub off your shine if that’s your jam. For self-scanning, you can still plan on spending a lot of time with your pictures. 


3. Send them to Southtree ← Smart 

The great thing about America is that there’s almost always someone willing to do your dirty work for you. If you were reading the first two tips about digitizing your photos and thinking to yourself, “Hm, I think I’m actually probably OK,” Southtree is there for you. We specialize in digitization. All you have to do is stuff your pictures into a box, send them to us, and let us deal with the scanning process. Not only will you save time and frustration, our scanners are industrial behemoths, so your final scanned picture will be better quality than if you do it yourself.

When I put it that way, I’m pretty sure I know which method I would choose if I had boxes and boxes of photos sitting in my closet. Those pictures aren’t going to digitize themselves. Also, just think of the likes!
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