How to Convert Old Pictures to a CD

by Christina Hadley

Arrest the aging process that leaves photographic prints empty and bare. Time’s terrible toll robs them of detail and clarity. Placing these images onto a CD presents many rewards. The effort protects the prints from harm. If the memories are placed onto a CD, you can enjoy, reprint and share them with people miles away. Digitizing old photos involves risk, especially to the fragile ones, but so does failing to capture their glory onto a CD while you still can. The following steps are designed to help you safely get old pictures onto a CD.


Gather the old pictures to be included in your digitized photo collection. If your photos are stored in a particularly cool or warm place, allow time for the old photographs to acclimate before sorting them. Your work area should be dust-free.


Count the number of old pictures that need to be digitized by a professional and document how many there are. Do not use post-it notes on the old photographic prints during this process.


Purchase archival quality items to safely transport old photos. Professional photography supply stores carry archival products. If your old photographs are not yet properly protected, you may need archival sleeves with acid free backs (good for actively deteriorating prints), an archival album, a light safe box or other items to properly transport and store old photographic prints.


Prepare the old pictures for transport in a dust-free area. Gently load the old prints into the photo album or the archival sleeves and box. Cover the outside of the album or box with protective material to prevent unexpected damage.


Consider insuring your photo collection before taking them to a professional for digitization. Remember, old and unique images tend to be valuable. Reports of stolen photo prints are not unheard of. Protect your old photographs from theft or unexpected damage during this process.


Find an experienced digital imaging or photography professional. Your provider must be qualified to digitize old pictures.


Carefully deliver the old photographs to the digital imaging facility or photographer's studio. Get a receipt. Pick up your completed job swiftly.


  • check Digitized old pictures often appear more vibrant than the original prints.
  • check Store the CD in a fireproof safe.
  • check Keep back-up copies of the CD in more than one location.
  • check High quality equipment can record your photographic prints onto CD accurately and safely.
  • check Your archived photographic prints must be recorded onto premium quality CDs.
  • check Photographic conservators are experts in handling, digitizing and caring for old photographs.
  • check The use of overhead scanners protect your photographs by reducing an old photograph's exposure to dangerous contact with scanning surfaces.
  • check Ask digital imaging specialists or photographic conservators for references (or a client list).
  • check Only entrust your valuable photographic prints to reliable, responsible specialists.


  • close Old photographic prints inside of a fragile or decomposing photo album require digital camera conversion. The use of imaging technology other than a digital camera or overhead scanner may yield poor results and place your old prints in danger.

Items you will need

About the Author

Christina Hadley holds a Bachelor of Arts in design. She writes copy for an assortment of industries. Her work also appears in the "Houston Chronicle" small business section. Hadley is a UCLA-certified computer professional. The British Museum recently featured one of her digital images in an exhibit.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images