Top 5 ways to convert old photos and slides for computer viewing

Photo Restoration

After converting photos for viewing on a computer - enhance them with color and exposure adjustments. Photo restoration can repair cracked, torn, stained and faded photos. Call 440-748-6300 to schedule your FREE photo repair estimate.

By guest blogger Kathleen Hubert

If you’ve ever dug up an old photo of a forgotten time and marveled at the simplicity and beauty of the good old days, you’ve probably wished you could keep those memories inside of you forever without worrying about damage or decay. The good news is that now, with digital preservation technology, you can! Converting old print photos into digital format is now easier than ever. Not only will it preserve your memories safely, but it will also help you to cut down on all the clutter in your attic. And your photos will be available for your viewing pleasure any time you like without a huge attic exploration process. Here are a few ways to get this done.

Flatbed Scanner
The best way to turn your old photos into digital gems is with a flatbed scanner. This technology requires very little technical skill and almost always produces top quality results. A flatbed scanner features a lid covering a glass top, underneath which a scanning head photographs an image and converts it into digital format. Most flatbed scanners come with an automatic mode that allows you to simply place the photo in the scanner and press scan. Everything from then on is automatic, and your old photo will appear on your computer screen as if by magic.

Wand Scanner
A great option for scanning on the move, a wand scanner is a little bit more difficult to master. If there is an old photo you want to scan over at your mother’s house but you can’t possibly bring your entire scanner and computer setup, this may be the option for you. A wand scanner is a handheld device that is operated much like a vacuum cleaner. Place the photo on a flat surface and slowly ‘vacuum’ down its entire length. Wand scanners often produce inferior image quality but are great for capturing images on the go.

Film Scanner
A film scanner is used to create digital copies of film slides or negatives. It is a tiny scanning device that is specifically designed to accommodate only the small sizes of negatives and slides. Film scanners usually produce images of extremely high quality, which is possible because of the incredible resolution of film negatives. Although you might find it hard to fit any actual photo prints into the tiny deck of a film scanner, this machine may be perfect for you if you are one of those treasure hoarders who likes to keep all their old slides and negatives.

Panoramic Stitching
Some old photo prints are too large to even fit inside the bed of a traditional flatbed scanner. When you need to scan an exceptionally large photo but can’t seem to find a scanner large enough to fit it, try panoramic stitching. Panoramic stitching is a software trick that allows you to capture breathtaking views of large landscapes by taking repeated photos with your digital camera. The software then stitches these together automatically to create one big portrait. You can use this same software to stitch together various scans of different parts of one large photo and produce one beautiful, flawless result.

Place the photo on your scanning bed and scan one section. Next, move it a bit and scan a different section, making sure that part of the previously scanned section is overlapping. Repeat this process until all sections of your photo have been scanned, and then load all sections into a photo-editing program with panoramic stitching capability.

Once your old photo prints have been converted into flawless digital copies, you may want to touch them up with photo-editing software. You can easily correct brightness and contrast issues with the simplest photo-editing software as well as remove speckles, lens flares, red eye, and other flaws. Before making any major changes to a photo, be sure to save a backup copy in another directory on your computer just in case you make a mistake.

What do you do with your photos when you convert them for use on your computer? Do you make a digital scrapbook? A slideshow copied to DVD to watch on your TV? Do you post them on your family's personal web page? Please leave your comments on this post.

Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of topics. You can read some of her other work on her Facebook page.

Secrets to saving flood damaged photos

water damaged photo

This photo was severely damaged in a flood and then later recovered with digital photo restoration

With the recent flooding in Northeast Ohio and possibly more high water on the way, I decided to put together several tips to save water-damaged, heirloom photos.

When floods and fires hit, most people don't grieve losing a stove or couch. It’s the loss of valued family photos, scrapbooks and memorabilia that makes them cry. Living in North Ridgeville and seeing how hard the residents were hit was a real “eye-opener.” It motivated me to do some research and put together a guide to help flood victims save their photos.

When facing piles of soggy, mud-spattered photos and other valuables – saving them may be possible by using some of following tips.

  1. Carefully lift the photos from the mud or dirty water. Remove photos from soaked albums and separate any that are stuck together. Be careful not to rub or touch the wet photo surface.
  2. Gently rinse both sides of the photo in a sink filled with clear, cold water. Again, don't wipe the photos and be sure to change the water often.
  3. If you have time and space, immediately lay each wet photo – picture side up – on clean blotting paper like a paper towel. Don't use newspapers or printed paper towels because the ink may transfer to your wet photos. Change the blotting paper every hour or two until the photos dry. It is best to dry the photos indoors if possible because wind and sun will cause photos to curl more quickly.

For more tips on saving flood-damaged photos, download our free guide found at:

Do you have a personal experience with photos damaged by flood water? Please click “comment” and share it here.

14 brave souls venture out in near-blizzard-like conditions to see presentation

Mark Madere of SpectraLight Photography shows a before-and-after example of how two separate pictures of a man and a woman can be digitally combined to create a new photograph depicting them as a couple.

On February 21st – amid blustery weather conditions, 14 people made their way to the North Ridgeville Library to see my special presentation: “Photo Restoration – The Art and Science of Resurrecting Damaged and Faded Photographs.”

The presentation was sponsored by the North Ridgeville Arts Council and was open to the community. I covered the causes of damage and fading to photographs and how to avoid it. There were several before-and-after photos showing how pictures that were once unsalvageable using old restoration techniques can now be restored to their original glory with “digital magic.”

See other examples of photos that were in near-unsalvageable condition that were restored to their original condition:

A special thank you to Alan Willoughby who e-mailed the following comment: “Janet and I enjoyed your photo restoration presentation at the Arts Council meeting on Monday evening. It was time well spent despite the snow.”

I am available to speak to other groups or clubs on this topic. Just comment on this post or send an e-mail.

Mark to speak about the miracles of photo restoration at North Ridgeville Arts Council

Before-and-after photos show how badly damaged pictures can be restored to their original glory.

The North Ridgeville Arts Council invites the community to a special presentation: “Photo Restoration – The Art and Science of Resurrecting Damaged and Faded Photographs.” It will be presented by Mark Madere – a professional photographer based in North Ridgeville. He has owned SpectraLight Photography & Design since 1986.

The presentation will cover what causes damage and fading to photographs and how to avoid it. There are several before-and-after photos showing how pictures that were once unsalvageable using old restoration techniques can now be restored to their original glory with “digital magic.”

The meeting is on Monday, Feb. 21st at 7 p.m. at North Ridgeville Library, 35700 Bainbridge Rd, North Ridgeville. For additional information, contact Betty Lou Palmer at or call 440-327-9751

Cracked & faded photos get new lease on life

Do you have old photos that are in horrible condition? Don't give up on them just yet – they may be recoverable! Today's photo restoration specialists combine today's digital technology with old-fashioned artistry to repair worn, stained, spotted, torn, cracked, bleached and faded photographs to their original luster. Digital restoration costs have been reduced to at least half of what they used to be and the quality has improved substantially!

See samples of badly faded or damaged photos and how they look after restoration. You will be amazed at the results: