Whether you fancy yourself a professional photographer or just someone that likes to take a picture here and there, it’s important that you preserve those memories.  Digitizing your negatives is a wonderful way of not only preserving those captured moments, but keep them in a safe and convenient way. But, how exactly should one begin when they make the decision to digitize their photo negatives?  Below, we’ve broken into down into a few simple steps.

Step 1: Procure a Flatbed Scanner

A flatbed scanner that can digitize your negatives may be the most crucial item needed to accomplish what you’re setting out to do.  With a flatbed scanner with the ability to digitize your slides and negatives, you can take those fragile brown strips and turn them into something far more resilient: a digital image.  However, flatbed scanners aren’t the cheapest of items.

Step 2: Clean the Scanner

Even if the scanner is brand new, it’s vital to the clarity of your images that you make sure the surface is as clean as possible.  Be sure that you clean the scanner glass thoroughly, and even use a can of compressed air to remove any dust particles. Even the smallest speck of dust can ruin an image, so it’s important to be thorough.

Step 3: Wash Your Hands

Clean hands can make all the difference between a solid negative, and a damaged one.  The oil on your fingers can do immense damage to negatives, and any dirt or grime on your hands can make those perfect captured moments into smeared, destroyed images.

Step 4: Check the Emulsion

Once you’ve gotten your scanner and your hands clean, it’s important to double check the film holder to see if the emulsion needs to be placed up or down.  It may seem like a simple thing, but getting it wrong can be catastrophic to the digitizing of your negatives.

Step 5: High Quality

By ensuring that your driver is set to its highest quality mode setting possible, you’re all set to not only digitize your negatives, but do so in a way that is crisp and professional.  Other things to keep in mind when it comes to the quality is whether or not you’re scanning in color or black and white, if you set the correct bit depth for the color images, and if you selected the right size.  You may even want to check the memory available on your computer to make sure that you have the room to process and/or store your digital files.

If all of this sounds like more than you want to take on for yourself, have no fear!  We at Keepsake Solutions are happy to handle any of your photo digitization needs. We understand that this lengthy and tedious process can be difficult, and we pride ourselves on offering high quality work and guaranteed satisfaction.


Keepsake Solutions is a Columbus, Ohio based memory preservation service with over 15 years of experience.  We use cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art techniques to ensure that your memories are preserved, and that no precious moments are left in the past.  If you’d like to contact us with questions or comments, please feel free to do so at (614)392-1909 or email us below.