Digitizing Old Photos Using A Digital Camera
Some people have scanners that they use to digitize their old photos. I do not have a scanner, but instead I use a digital camera to transfer old photos into digital format. This is a picture of Melissa when she was playing basketball at Thomas Walker High School in Ewing Virginia that I digitized today. It is really quite easy to do this and here are my steps:
1. Take the photo you want to digitize and put it on a flat surface with good lighting. I typically put my photos on a table near a window during the day to get natural light. I do not put the photo in direct sunlight, but instead where there is reflected and diffused light. The key is to make sure that the photo is flat and there isn’t any glare on the photo from your light source. If the photo isn’t flat (most old photos tend to curl a bit), then the curvature will show up in the digitized image and look distorted. Scotch tape the back of the photo to the table works nicely if you have a curled edge photo. If you can see glare, so can the camera, so inspect the photo for glares carefully.
2. I have performed this with many different types of digital camera and they all work very well. The main thing is that you must turn off the flash so the picture is taken without flash. Flash will produce a very harsh glare on the photo. If you can’t turn the flash off on your camera, try covering the flash with a piece of paper.
3. In addition to keeping the flash off — try to make sure that the picture is square in the camera viewfinder. If you are off by even a little bit, it seems to magnify it when you look at the digitized image. This is easily correctable afterwards using a rotation and crop tool in your photo editing software at the cost of losing some of the image at the edges.
That is all there is too it. Practice makes perfect and once you get the hang of it, you can capture pictures pretty quickly.