We are living in a digital age and preserving for the future means several things - converting negatives to digital format is just one of them. Whether you have negatives from your childhood, your parent’s collection, or a recent acquisition from the famous Beatle’s auction (shouldn’t we all be so lucky), you can convert your negatives easily at home or for larger collections, enlist the help of a negative scanning service. Bob Dylan says it well, “The times they are a changin” - you don’t want to be left behind with your memories on a medium that is no longer accessible.
Negatives, pictures, and slides all hold our memories. Converting your negatives to digital format allows you the option to enjoy moments you may have not seen in many years. There is something to be said about having a tangible memory to hold on to - that original negative never has to be completely lost. Making a digital copy is only meant to be enhancing what is already a precious piece of frozen time.
Whether you are planning on converting your negatives as a DIY project or with the help of a negative scanning service, we’d like to share a few important steps we recommend you not skip during this process.
1. Organize Your Collection
Before beginning any other steps, we recommend you organize your collection. Like with photos or slides, negatives can be found around your home by the hundreds - if not thousands - depending on how much you or your family enjoyed photography. It will be wonderful to enjoy digital copies of your negatives but you’ll be able to share them much more easily if they are grouped by theme or time period. This will allow you to be able to showcase sections of your family history instead of having to muddle through all one thousand digital files every time you are looking to share your memories with friends and family.
2. Determine Your Preferred File Type
Whether using an at home scanner or utilizing a negative scanning service to convert your negatives to digital format, there are a few different file types your newly digitized negatives can be found in.
The most popular would be JPEG files which are supported by almost every digital photo frame, photo kiosk, mobile phone, online photo hosting sites, photo sharing sites, and many other digital photo sharing options. Some services, like FotoBridge, also provide “web ready” JPEG files that are good for use when emailing pictures (your Aunt Mary will be much more receptive to opening the emails with 20 photos of your children). TIFF, RAW, PNG, GIF and BMP files are usually used for commercial applications but are available if that better suits your needs. Be sure to choose a service that supports your choice!
3. Establish Your Preferred Digital Medium
As with everything else, the delivery of the digital copies of your negatives can come in several different ways.
- Home computer storage
- Photo Hosting Site
When converting negatives to digital format at home, you will have complete control as to where they are being saved. Like with photos, we always say it is better to be safe than sorry - save them on your computer, an external device and on a CD or DVD. Negative scanning services will give you different options for delivery of the final products. Most still will send your original negatives back along with a DVD. Some negative scanning services now offer the option for your digital copies to be uploaded to a photo sharing website or to cloud storage. Whichever is your preferred method, make sure to do the appropriate research and find the option which best matches what you are looking for.
Negatives, slides and photos - all share a common theme. They hold the memories of events in our past that we are looking to hold on to for generations to come. Converting negatives to digital will allow you and the rest of your family and friends to make this a reality.
For more information on selecting the right service for you - check out our free ebook below!
Photo Credit: http://flic.kr/p/ct9gdE