A few years ago I embarked on a project which has been having far more long-term benefits than I initially realised. Scanning as much of my old film (mainly 35mm negatives & slides) as I could find.
The upshot is that there are many things I can now do with ‘all of my photos’ – in the form of sorting, understanding and backing up. It’s an incredibly powerful thing.
Suffice to say, the scanning has paid huge dividends in my own photography (more on that in a minute). Fortunately though, it doesn’t need to be scanning – unless you happen to have been taking photos for a while, and have plenty of film & prints you’d like to see again. The important part is simply gathering all of your photos – in any format – together; getting them all in one place.
This is undoubtedly something which will take a great deal of time and effort, and you may not see the point (many people don’t – initially). So before I explain ‘how’, here are a few of the reasons ‘why’ :
1. Having everything in one place – and digitally – will make it possible (and a whole lot easier for much of it) to back everything up. Securely. Offsite.
Question : What would happen if your current place burnt down – would you lose any photos?
2. Being able to access anything at any time is like reliving your favourite experiences, at any time. Holidays, birthdays, weddings and so on.
3. When you’re getting ready to visit a location you haven’t been to for years, it’s incredibly powerful to see what it was like last time. You’ll start to notice small details in other places you visit; ‘this didn’t use to be here’, ‘the road used to cross over there’ and so on.
There are a number of subtle changes that also come with a project like this, but they’re easier to experience than to explain. The above 3 are certainly the big ones.
Now, how do you get started?
In general, think ‘where are my photos now’, and ‘how do I get them on to my hard drive’. There are a number of ways to do this, depending on where the photos are currently. You make like to consider :
If they’re in any of the film formats, they’ll need to be scanned. You can either do this yourself, use a service like DVD Infinity (there are many others – this is just one I’ve used personally); or a combination of the two. You’ll end up with digital copies of everything.
If they’re already digital, it’s really just a matter of working out how to move them (a copy of the highest quality version available) over to your preferred destination. There’s always a way.
As you can see, this is a potentially massive project which opens up equally massive possibilities. Well worth the effort.