10 or 15 years ago, my Granny’s basement flooded in the spring. There was a lot of water that destroyed a lot of things – including box upon box of old family photos. She was devastated, heart broken, and so am I. Today, it would have been so easy to make sure those photos were digitized but that wasn’t something she thought about then. We lost most of those photos, forever. Do you have albums of old photos laying around? If so, it’s time to bring them to the digital age and use them in your layouts! Don’t let what happened to my family photos happen to yours.

I am not an expert in dealing with old photos, but I did some research and found a few tips for turning your old photos digital: 

Scan them

For large or fragile photos, the best option is a flatbed scanner. For others, an auto-feed scanner can save you lots of time if you have a lot of pictures! I recommend scanning at at least 300ppi (this is the size we typically create our layouts), up to 600ppi if you want to do any enlargements or touching up. 

Take a picture

While the quality won’t be as high as a scanned image, sometimes it’s not possible to get a photo to a scanner. Perhaps it’s on the wall at a family members house or just too large or fragile to move. Avoid a glare from an overhead light or the sun, get your camera or phone as close to the photo as possible, keep it still and shoot. It give you a digital copy without having to move the original. 

Get Help

For this there are a couple of options. First, in the US many of the “one hour photo” labs have kiosks with scanners built right in. Most of these machines have the ability to save the scanned files to take home with you. I would verify this is true before you start! You will have to pay for these services, but it’s a great way to get them digitized.

The other option is to send them out. Because I have never used any of the services I found, I don’t want to recommend them. But, it seems like there are a lot of companies where you can mail in your photos, and they will scan them for you. 

Use them

Look at some of these amazing layouts using digitized old photos. All of these layouts use products from our Heritage and Genealogy section, which is on sale this week.

Layout using Coming to America by ADB Designs
Layout created using Somewhere in Time by Aimee Harrison
Layout created using Reminisce by Antebellum Press
Layout created using Sweet Memories by Heartstrings Scrap Art
Layout created using Faded Glory by Manu Scraps