Turn Old Photos Digital


Dear Geek Girlfriend,

I have a question that I assume others have as well. I’m older than the “fully digital era” of kid photos and am jealous of my young friends whose kid photos are all digital. They are able to make lovely photo books from their photos. They don’t have huge plastic tubs full of prints cluttering up the house. All my photos are prints. Do I have to scan each one and submit upload the scan to one of those these online photo storage places? Tell me there is an easier way?


Dear Jealous,

Of course there is an easier way! In fact, I’m in the same boat you are in. When my kids were all adorable and pink, I used a film camera. So I have boxes of prints and an embarrassing quantity of undeveloped film. Even my home movies are on old formats I can no longer play.

Oddly enough, there is an easy solution for the undeveloped film. Sites that invite you to upload digital photos, will often also develop film for you, store digital photos on their site, and send the negatives back to you. (This is also great if you buy one of those disposable cameras on vacation.) I used these services back when digital cameras were a luxury when my kids were young. But Shutterfly.com, for one, still does this.

Prints are a bit more trouble because someone will have to scan those. Some scanners are better than others, though. Big professional scanners can do a pile of photos at once. Some will scan negatives. Those are both easier options than doing each print by hand. But I’m assuming you don’t have one of those scanners. There may be a photo service in your area that will do this for you but who wants to leave the house? (Okay, that might be just me.)

Check out Scan Digital. This place is exactly what you have in mind. From the Web site, generate a shipping label and slap it on a box. Then drop your photos in that box and ship it off. When your photos (or videos) arrive at Scan Digital they will be professionally spiffed up (yes, that’s the technical term), scanned, and uploaded to the Web. Then your prints will come back to you with a digital copy—you decide if you want them on DVD or hard drive. The service is not cheap. But I guess memories aren’t cheap either — especially when they are memories of kids. It will cost you $.48 minimum per print. Bulk packages start at $89.95. (Use this coupon code — 2029196172 – so they know I sent you.)

Since most of us probably have some photos lying around that we would like to bring into the digital age, I contacted Scan Digital to arrange a giveaway. And they were happy to do it! So I have $50 of Scan Digital service to give away! Thanks Pamela!

Post in the comments to enter. Maybe you can digitize you photos and keep your money, too?


This contest closed on January 31, 2009. Congratulations Maureen!


14 thoughts on “Turn Old Photos Digital

  1. very timely tip! my mother just called and asked if i would help her scan tons of old photo albums. sounds like it’s much easier just to ship them off in a box!

  2. I tried a service called scanapix. They were a quarter a scan and I was very happy with the work they did. If you are giving away a $50 gift card, i would be happy to try scandigital out.

  3. I’m going to convert all my old slides of art work into digital format… I did a few to check it out, and it was fantastic. Not only is it the necessary format for submitting work to exhibitions, but you can tweak your photos to get better lighting and exposure.
    Digital photos rock.

  4. This would be so very appreciated. Pick me!

  5. I’m in. I’ve just spent the past week scanning pictures in from high school and college. I need a break!

  6. I have been wanting to save old pictures digitally for quite some time. Thank you for the professional service recommendations. That would be a wonderful prize to win. Please consider me for the giveaway!!

  7. Whoops, I meant great aunt – not great niece! Need coffee…

  8. Ohhh, I’d love to win this giveaway! My mom has some old photos from my 101 year old great niece’s stash that she would like to have scanned to share with family! Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway! :o)
    P.S. For the past two years we have sent her in to Willard Scott’s Today Show Smuckers Birthday segment but, alas, she has not been featured… So we hope we can win this for her! :o)

  9. I’m DEFINITELY game. Having all my physical images scanned is a goal for 2009. Thank you for the giveaway!

  10. Thanks Ms. Geek Girlfriend. I will take your advice and I do agree with Dr. Davis… not pricey when you consider how much it would cost to do it yourself and then there’s the confusion, cussing and chaos that ensues when you can’t remember which ones you did and if you like the quality and on and on…….

  11. Compared to the expense of doing it yourself, I am not sure that Scan Digital is pricey. I’ve got boxes of photos I’d like to upload, but I don’t have the time. And my scanner would make crappy copies.

    My uncle just spent nine months scanning and uploading photos from his lifetime. And it took him ten hours a day.

    I think I’ll go with Scan Digital.

  12. What a neat service! Pricey, but such a great idea, you can archive all those old family photos…and then get reprints as needed…genius!

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