Scanning photographs

What is scanning and why is it useful?

A scanner is like a photocopy machine. It makes copies of photos and documents, but instead of creating another piece of paper, it creates a digital image which is viewed on a computer screen. Copying original photographs into a digital format is important because photos deteriorate over time, particularly the early colour photos from the 1970s that many of us put into sticky photo albums. By scanning photographs, we can capture what they look like now before they deteriorate further. We can even digitally enhance them so that they reveal more detail than the fading original photo does.

This resource will take you through all the steps you need to know to create digital copies of photographs in your collection.


This information sheet was developed by the Conservation Department at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.