AARP Eye Center
Chances are good that you've thought about bringing your old paper photos into the digital age.
Great idea. You likely have a lifetime — or at least more than half your lifetime — of precious memories trapped in photo albums, shoeboxes or dusty frames. While professional photojournalists started using digital cameras widely in the 1990s, the rest of the world wasn’t buying them wholeheartedly until 2003, the first year more digital than film cameras were sold.
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Your old photographs, once digitized, will no longer fade over time. They can be automatically repaired with smart software, restoring color, removing redeye and stitching rips.
Photos can be organized and easily searched via keyword or tag on a computer, online cloud site, smartphone or tablet. And you can share them with friends and family over email and social media or create fun projects such as fridge magnets and slideshows.
You can scan old photos, negatives or slides in several ways. But you really have two main options:
1. Do it yourself.
2. Use a professional service.
First, organize the prints you have
No matter which direction you go, you can’t escape organizing your paper photos. Do that first before you convert them.
Otherwise, you risk a digital mess on top of your disorganized stacks of photos, says Mollie Bartelt, co-founder of Pixologie. Her company, based in Racine, Wisconsin, helps people sort, save and restore their family photos and video.
“You can organize your paper photos by major categories like decades or people and then suborganize them into sections, like family events,” she says. Bartelt recommends putting photos into piles or small boxes, divided by index cards and labeled with sticky notes.
Think about creating your own ‘cloud’
One product, which can save you monthly subscription fees for a cloud storage service, keeps all your digital photos and videos in one place, instead of scattered across various family laptops, smartphones or tablets. It’s called a personal cloud storage device.