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  • Writer's pictureSusannah

Film Scanning Pro Tips:

What do you do when you come across old negatives? Here are a few tips for preserving and digitalizing them.

Picture this. You’re rummaging through your basement or garage and you come across a box of old negatives. There are a few options for you to properly restore and preserve your memories.


PSA: Before moving on...please don't store your photographs or negatives in the basement, an attic or the garage. In the average home, the safest storage spot is on a high shelf in the main part of the house.


First option: If you have an overwhelming collection of negatives and don’t know where to start, your best bet would be to contact a professional photo organizer.

If you’re in the Washington, DC area, contact us at DC Photo Solutions! Or if you’re not in the DC area The Photo Managers (formerly APPO) has a directory of national and international photo organizers for you to choose from. https://thephotomanagers.com/

A professional photo organizer can help create a guideline and plan for getting your film properly organized and digitized.


Second option: For the DIY crowd it’s possible to get started yourself.

You would need the following materials:

  • Computer

  • Flatbed scanner w/ film capability

  • Nitrile gloves (for handling negatives)

  • Anti-static cloth

  • Dust-off canned air

  • Archival negative sleeves

  • Negative binder or archival negative envelops

  • Sharpie marker (to label the negative sleeves, Sharpie markers are not archival so do not use them on photographs or negatives)

  • Labels (for the outside of the binder or box)

Once you're gathered these materials and you have the scanner and computer hooked up you're ready to get started. Scanning resolution often depends on your output and purpose for the final image. For printing we recommend scanning negatives at 3000 to 4000 dpi. For web use scan at 1000 dpi.



Third Option: Contact your local camera shop for custom quotes.

There are great camera shops out there, but do your research!

Surprisingly some camera shops can cost more than a photo organizer and may not offer personal guidance with your project.



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