How Can I Digitize an Old Picture?

digital camera age image by Steve Brase from

Pictures capture important life events, and until the past decade or so, the most widely available option for cameras was film. Film prints can be digitized by scanning the picture or taking a picture of the picture with a digital camera.


Secure a scanner with the highest resolution you can find. Generally, this would be at least 1200 dpi with a 36-bit color depth.

Open your scanning software. Position your photo on the scanner the way you want it scanned into your computer.

Scan your photo.

Photographing a Picture

Set up your digital camera. Be aware of the type of lens you are using. Use a standard or optical zoom, but do not use a digital zoom. The digital zoom could produce substandard quality. Also, be aware of the wide-angle zoom, as it could create an undesired fish-eye effect.

Keep yourself and the photo level. Take your photo from a point exactly perpendicular to where it is situated.

Prepare to take the picture. Do not use a flash. Flashes will alter the lighting on the original picture, so make sure you take this picture using natural lighting.

Take the picture.


  • Once you have the picture on your digital camera, upload it to your computer to be sure it looks how you expected it to. You may have to do this a few times before you get the hang of it.