How to Convert Film Photos to Digital

by Jamie Lisse

If you have some photo boxes full of old film photo prints taking up space, you may be worried about the film photos deteriorating with age. You can preserve your film photo prints and clear up some space in your home by converting those film photo prints into digital photos on your computer. Converting your old film photo prints to digital photos is something that you can do on your own with your home computer and a photo scanner.

Choose a flatbed photo scanner with 300 dpi for converting color film photos. If you also have some black and white photos, then purchase a photo scanner with 400 to 600 dpi. Dpi (dots per inch) refers to the scanning resolution. Usually the higher the dpi, the sharper your photo, but according to the Scan Tips website, you do not need anything higher than 300 dpi for color prints.

Place one film photo face down on the scanner once you have hooked the scanner up to your computer and installed the scanner software. Pressing the scan button on the scanner typically brings up your scan options on your computer screen. Select that you are scanning a photo and that you want it in color and continue the scan.

Review the scan when it appears on your screen. If it doesn't look the way you want it to, just open up your scanner options by opening the scanner software window. Tweak any quality settings, such as higher resolution, dust removal and color restoration. Then scan again until you get a scan on your screen with which you are happy.

Save the scan to your computer with a file name of your choice. Some scanners allow you to choose the image file type when you save the scan. If so, the HP website recommends using the TIFF file format for high quality digital photo archiving.

Tip

  • check Most retail photo developing locations can also convert your film photos to digital for a fee.

Warning

  • close Back up your digital photos to another computer or external hard drive, so you don't lose them if your computer crashes.

About the Author

Jamie Lisse has been writing professionally since 1997. She has published works with a number of online and print publishers. Her areas of expertise include finance and accounting, travel, entertainment, digital media and technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera piles de photos 1 image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com