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How to Scan Negatives

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Bringing your negatives into the digital age can reap lots of benefits and there are a few ways you can do it. Let's take a look.

Remember the days when you used to send your film off to be developed and it would return in that envelope with a little pouch of negatives in. Before the digital era, negatives were the only way to get reprints or replacements of your images. Nowadays, they are sometimes the only remnants of history we have left. For this reason they need to be preserved for future generations to see. In their hard copy, negatives are susceptible to loss, theft and damage so more and more people are turning to digitisation to open up a whole new world for their negatives.

While this new solution gathers speed, let's take a look at three different ways you can go digital with negatives...

Photographing themphotographing negatives

If you just have one (two or three at a push) negatives you would like to convert to digital, photographing them is your cheapest option. It's not the easiest way but if you budget is tight, you're better off giving it a go. Take a look at this in-depth video we found showing one of the ways you can photograph your negatives using a decent digital camera, a flash, a cardboard box and a piece of paper (Yes, we couldn't believe it either!). This process would work solely for the digitisation of a very small number of negatives as it would take a long amount of time to have the digital images just as you want them.

Quick Summary-

Advantages- It's cheap and you have complete control over how your images come out.

Disadvantages- The process is slow and cannot realistically be applied to a larger scale project.

Using a Scanner

A quicker way to have negatives scanned and digitised on a larger scale would be to purchase a negative scanner. The price of these scanners can range anywhere from £40 right up to £200 with the higher price providing the better quality scans and they can usually be purchased online. If you decide to put a fair investment in the scanner, you can get pretty high quality images and their are a range of brands that produce specialist negative scanning. Here is one particular example providing a step by step guide to digitising your negatives with a scanner.

Quick Summary-

Advantages- You will get better quality scans than photographing and the process is quicker.

Disadvantages- Negative scanners can be expensive if you want high quality scans.

Negatives Scanning Servicesnegative scanning services

For the most effective solution to scanning negatives in bulk, you should consider outsourcing to negative scanning services. These services use state of the art equipment to scan your negatives in the best quality possible. They can even usually retouch colours and brightness to give you better images than the original prints would have been. With this method, you can leave your negatives with professionals and relieve the pressure of doing the job yourself.

Quick Summary-

Advantages- You can get high quality scans from professionals, usually with a quick turnaround.

Disadvantages- You will have to trust the company to produce the scans you want.

How Can Pearl Scan Help

Here at Pearl Scan we offer a fast and affordable negative scanning service for clients wishing to future-proof and safeguard their images. We have dealt with a range of projects including historical archives of negatives to negatives of old family photos. We believe you shouldn't have to compromise on speed and cost of digitisation so we offer the best of both worlds. For more information on the negative scanning services we offer take a look at the information on our website and blogs or get in touch today for a free, no obligation quote for your scanning project.

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