Turning photo paper prints into digital files using a scanner
Digital photos are much more flexible than paper prints. Many of us still have albums of old paper photo prints, it would be great if there was an easy way to turn them into digital photos, into digital jpeg files. Here are some options for how to do it.
Converting paper photo prints to digital photos is done by a method of scanning. Scanning paper photos is a process in which an electronic device reads the photo and converts it into a digital pixel based digital photo file. Here are a few important things to know before scanning your paper phto prints and some tips for a successful high quality scanning job.
Simple paper photo prints are the most common photo paper prints that are scanned. The paper print size is usually 4 inches by 6 inches or 5 inches by 7 inches. These photo paper prints are the easiest to scan. You can for example scan them at home if you have a scanner device available. If you do not have a scanner at home you can buy one at many web sites, computer or office supplies store. Home scanners are relatively cheap devices costing less than 100 dollars for a good scanner. Another option is to bring your paper photos to a local store for scanning. Many stores will scan those for you and in return give you a CD or a DVD with the digital photos. Alternatively you could mail the paper photos to a service that will scan them for you and mail you back a CD or a DVD with the digital photos (examples are services such as www.digmypics.com, www.digitalpickle.com, www.britepix.com and many more)
Which one is the right method to use? It depends as there are cons and pros to each. Usually it is safe to say that if you only have a small number of photo paper prints to scan than simply scanning them at home is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to go. However if you have a very large number of photo paper prints home scanning can take too long though at the same time service scanning can be expensive. If you can afford the time do it home if you can afford the cost go to a professional service.
If you decide to scan at home you should pay attention to the scanner resolution. The resolution of a scan is a number depicting the number of dots that the scanner turns every inch of paper into. Home scanners usually produce about 1200 dots per inch. Usually the scanner manual and datasheet quote the maximum number of dots per inch while the scanner can be set to a lower number. Why would you want to use a lower number? For two reasons the higher the number the slower the scan and the higher the number the larger the digital photo file the scanner generates is. As a rule of thumb normal photo paper prints can be scanned at 300 to 600 dots per inch as this is a normal paper print resolution.
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