How to convert negatives to a photo cd

Written by gwen wark
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Converting your photo negatives to digital format and saving them to a CD has plenty of advantages. Digital format means that you can crop, correct, and print photos using digital software such as Photoshop. Images on a CD are also easier to store and CDs are more durable than flimsy negatives, which may deteriorate, fade or warp over time. Converting negatives to a photo CD can be done at home or by sending your negatives to a professional scanning company to do the job for you.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Negative scanner
  • Computer

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  1. 1

    Install and open your negative scanner software. The process for this will vary from brand to brand. Negative scanners can be a part of a normal, flatbed scanner or they may be a stand-alone piece of hardware. The software included will convert your negatives into a colour positive image.

  2. 2

    Open the negative carrier. This is a small plastic case which holds your negatives as they slide through the scanner. You may have to cut your negatives to fit, as the size varies. Align the sprockets in the film with the pegs in the carrier, making sure your film lies flat without any wrinkles or creases.

  3. 3

    Adjust the scanner's resolution, if necessary. Low-resolution files use less CD space and are more suited to being viewed on a computer. A high-resolution file of 300 dpi or more will be able to be printed, but requires more storage space.

  4. 4

    Insert the negative carrier into the scanner and begin scanning. Many scanners have an external button to start scanning. In other cases, you will need to use the software to initiate scanning. Once scanning is complete, you will have a colour image, which may then be saved to your computer.

  5. 5

    Once each negative has been scanned and saved to your computer, they are ready to be burnt to a CD. Insert a blank CD into your disc drive. This will open a dialogue box asking what you would like to do with the CD. You may then highlight the scanned negative files saved to your computer, drag them to the CD window and select the burn option to create your photo CD. This process will vary depending on your operating system and whether you have dedicated CD software installed. Most operating systems include a basic CD burning utility, so no extra software is necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Check your flatbed scanner to see if there is a negative scanner included. Many models have this feature, which is easy to overlook if you are not aware of it. If your scanner includes a negative carrier and has a place to scan negatives, you can complete this entire conversion process at home.
  • A negative scanner may also be able to scan slides and include different-sized negative carriers for scanning various film formats.

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