How To Scan and Convert Film Negatives to Digital for FREE!

Tip A Day #8

Many of us have film negatives lying around so here’s a quick and easy way to convert those to a usable digital format!

Convert Film to Digital


  • PC or Mac
  • Image Editing Software
  • Scanner
  • Thin, non-fibrous paper
  • Phone or Tablet

Step 1
Place film on scanner, shiny side down (aka emulsion side up.)

Step 2
Place thin paper on top of film.

Step 3
Place tablet/phone on brightest setting face down on paper over the film.
NOTE: For best results, use a blank website/app with a bright screen.

Step 4
Use favorite image editing software to scan.
This option is usually found within the File > Import option.

Scan as hi-res as possible for best results!
(Suggested: 1200 DPI)

Step 5
Don’t forget to invert the colors!

Enjoy your new high-res digital copy of your photos!
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  1. says

    Thanks Mark for this piece. I come from a large family that has always had one photographer. We have tons of black and white negs from 4X5 to 35 mm. This wonderful short tutorial will have a lasting ripple effect for a long long time. Thank you sooooooo much

  2. says

    Nice creative solution. I wonder if this solution would work for slides. I have many of them and wish to have them converted to a digital image. I’ve tried to look at purchasing a flat bed scanner that supports slides but unfortunately I’ve had great difficulty locating a flat bed scanner that states this feature. It was mentioned in the past but since the all-in-one printers, quality and features have decreased.

    • Profile photo of Mark Zamora says

      From what I’ve gathered, it should work just fine on slides! As long as you’re careful this in no way harms your stuff so it’s worth a shot! :-)