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So you’ve taken your first photographs and you’re ready to begin putting them through the first steps of the digital imaging cycle – getting them on a computer to view and edit.

If you are using a digital camera that you have purchased yourself, there will usually be USB port/plug and cable that runs from your camera to your computer. Using your editing software, the computer will read the data stored on your camera and upload your images to your desktop, or any other folder you wish to keep your digital pictures. When camera-to-computer downloading can’t be achieved, photographers usually carry a “card reader” - a portable hardware device that you plug into your computer’s USB port. After the card reader is attached, the camera disk can be inserted for the computer to upload the images.

Film is overwhelming the most popular source of images for manipulation among photographers, and it is likely to remain so for some time. This is not only for reasons of quality – although it is a major consideration – but also because all the negatives and prints we have must need a device that can transfer them onto a computer. The device I’m speaking of is called a scanner.

Scanners convert prints, negatives and slides into digital data. Some scanners are more expensive than others (speed and resolution are the main factors in pricing). Your computer, using the software included, controls the functions of the scanner. Typically this allows you to preview the image being scanned, cropped and set the size and resolution. There are tow kinds of scanners: flatbed scanners (for tangible photographs) and film scanners (for slides and negatives).