Digitize Old Family Photos in Easy Steps

old photos

Photos are an essential part of our lives, and with the advancement of technology, it has become easier to capture and store photos. However, old photos, which were printed on paper, can be difficult to store. They may get damaged or get torn, and as a result, you may lose the chance to relive the memories you once lived with your loved ones. A great way to prevent this from happening is to digitize old family photos.

There are several benefits of digitizing the photos. With digitization, you can make them last forever and access them anytime anywhere and cherish the beautiful memories. Another great benefit of digitizing old photos is that they add significant value to your family tree and make it look brighter and better. However, digitization has its own issues. The quality of photos may get compromised during the process and as a result, the end-product may have blurred faces.

To help you avoid these problems and enjoy the benefits, we are listing two tried and tested photo digitization methods to quickly help you to digitize old family photos. Use them to digitize your old family photos and make them a part of your digital family tree.

How to Digitize Old Family Photos

1.     Scan Your Photos

One of the commonly-used methods of digitizing old photos is to scan them. The quality of digitized photos largely depends on the type of scanner used and the skills of the scanning person. During the scanning process, you place your photos upside down on the glass plate of the scanner, which then scans the photo and stores them on your computer in a digital format.

To enhance the quality of digitizing a photo, you should first clean any dirt or dust from the photos and then begin the scanning process.

Digitize Old Family Photos

Digitize Old Family Photos

There are two types of scanners that you can use to get best-quality photos.

a)     Flatbed Scanners

Flatbed scanners are good if you don’t want to scan a whole photo album. With flatbed scanners, you place the photo on the glass plate of the scanner, and it scans your photo and sends it to your computer in a digital format.

b)     Film Scanners

Film scanners offer a number of benefits over flatbed scanners. They are great for scanning a large number of photos. In addition to this, they offer several other features, such as they allow you to remove film grains and scratches, they improve the color reproduction from films, and provide you control over cropping and aspect ratio.


Other Ways to Scan Photos

If you’re working on a short-term genealogy project and don’t want to invest in a scanner, you should consider using the following cost-effective ways of digitizing photos.


2.     Copy Photos with a Digital Camera

Another way to digitize photos is to capture them in a digital format with a digital camera. All you need to do this is to have a DSLR camera and a tripod. You may also consider investing in lighting equipment if you want high-quality photographs or if you’re working on a long-term project.

When copying old family photos with a digital camera, it is important that you keep the following things in mind.

  • Try to minimize camera shake. This can be achieved by using a tripod stand. You may also the ‘self-timer’ option to capture a ‘hands off’ picture.
  • Take care of the angle. When capturing photos, try to keep camera lens exactly parallel to the photograph you want to capture.
  • Set quality setting to ‘superfine’. To get high-quality photos, use advanced quality camera settings.


3.     Use Photo-Scanning Apps

There are a number of apps which one can use on an Android or iOS device to scan photos. We are listing three of them here. These are all available free from Google Play and Apple App Store.

Digitize Old Family Photos

Digitize Old Family Photos

OneFams mobile application provides users with an easy way to use their mobile app to simply photo the document and upload to their online account. Easily tag family members and events when uploading. The app is available for Android, iPhone and Ipad. The app can be found on google play or Itunes and is an excellent way to digitize old family photos.


Ancestry.com has developed this app to help users scan old photos and other records for their family tree project. The app offers several exciting features, such as automatic face detection and tagging, mapping capabilities, and auto-flatten and photo cropping. The app can be found here.


Pic Scanner
The next app on our list is Pic Scanner. The app allows you to three photos simultaneously, which improves the efficiency of the scanning process, but may result in compromised resolution. Using Pic Scanner, you can add photo descriptions, names, dates, and create photo albums and share them. It’s available for iPhone and iPad only. A download link can be found here.


Just like Pic Scanner, Heirloom is an app that you can use to scan photos using your smartphone. It offers you unlimited free scans and automatically corrects edges. In addition to this, you can use filters to enhance your pictures and share them with your friends on social media. It’s available for both Android and Apple devices. Heirloom has just closed its doors on Aug 1, 2017, to be replaced by mylestone which will launch soon. http://www.mylestone.com/


Using these simple tips, you can digitize your old family photos. And when you’re done, don’t forget to create a cloud backup to secure the memories for your generations or try our OneFam, we promise your images will be safe and secure.

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