Scanning Your Collection: 4 Options

A flatbed scanner, tablet scanner, feeder scanner and camera scanning set up on a white background

Scanning Your Collection: 4 Options

Scanning your photo collection is a great way to preserve your images and create a backup.

You can store scans on local hard drives, external hard drives, and the cloud. Digitizing also enhances vintage photos, slides, and negatives. You can color correct, clean, enhance, enlarge, and restore, giving old images a new life.

There are several options for scanning photos, such as camera scanning, feeder scanners, flatbed scanners, and using your phone. Read on for my takes.


Camera Scanning

  • Camera scanning is the process we use. It’s a great option for high-quality scans. Why? Because cameras have higher resolutions than flatbed scanners, allowing for greater detail and sharper images.
  • Camera scanning is also more versatile since it can capture images of different sizes, shapes, and orientations, as well as slides and negatives.
  • The process is much faster than using a flatbed scanner. However, camera scanning requires some technical knowledge and experience with software like Adobe Lightroom to get the best results.


Feeder Scanning

  • Feeder scanners are a great option if you have a large collection of photos. They can scan photos at a much faster rate than flatbeds and are designed for simple operation.
  • They come with built-in image enhancement features. Two examples are automatic color correction and auto-cropping to the photo’s edges. Both can improve the quality of the scanned images.
  • However, feeder scanners don’t handle delicate photos well. Also, there are issues with streaking and roller marks, resulting in a fair amount of maintenance and cleaning.


Flatbed Scanning

  • Flatbed scanners are versatile. They can produce high-quality scans with excellent color accuracy and sharpness. They can handle a variety of photo sizes and formats (slides, negatives, prints).
  • Flatbeds are also relatively affordable and can be a cost-effective option for a smaller photo collection. However, flatbeds are much slower than other scanning methods. They may not be the best option for fragile photos, since the pressure from the scanner lid can damage or bend the prints during scanning.


Phone Scanning

  • Scanning with your phone or tablet is an option, but it’s not recommended since smartphone cameras have a lower resolution compared to higher end DSLRs. They aren’t optimized for scanning, which can lead to distortion in the scanned image. The process can also be time-consuming, especially if you have an extensive photo collection.


For more information, be sure to check out the webinar I did for B+H Photo earlier in May 2023.

And if you need help curating your print photos – whether it’s scanning, archiving or making a photo book, please reach out!