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Turning Photos Into PDFs? Here Are Some Tips!

Cartoonish illustration of someone using a smartphone to take a photograph of a woman wearing a business suit.

In this guide, we cover how to convert a pic to PDF, so you can create digital photo albums, documents, brochures, e-books and other portable document format (PDF) files to be shared online. Small businesses can use them to create print or digital marketing collateral, and families can use them to create photo albums, scrapbooks and to document precious memories.  

The PDF is one of the most versatile and reliable digital file types. PDFs are designed to preserve the format of the text and graphics on a document, so anyone who opens it will see what you want them to. 

In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know when turning photos into PDFs. 

Why Turn Photos Into PDFs?

Whether you’re sending out Christmas cards or pictures from your latest vacation, there are many reasons why people want to know how to convert photos into PDFs. But here’s the real benefit: PDFs last forever. They don’t yellow and fade like printed photos do. If you store PDFS in the cloud (such as on Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive), you don’t have to worry about your precious photos being damaged by nature’s elements, yellowed as they age, or simply lost after one too many moves. 

Sending a photo album digitally is an easy option, but oftentimes the photo file size is too large to email. Converting photos or photo collages to a PDF allows you to very easily share your treasured moments digitally with whomever you want. You can email the PDF directly rather than sending them a download or cloud link to where you’ve saved the photos. You also won’t have to worry about the types of devices your friends and family have, as they can open PDFs on any device. 

What Image File Types Will Convert Into a PDF?

Most files that you create with a digital camera, scanner, smartphone or tablet can be converted to PDFs. These include files with the following extensions: JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PNG, and GIF. There are other lesser-known image file types, but those are the more common. 

PDFs will preserve any formatting that you’ve built in these programs. This is useful if you’ve created a digital scrapbook, for example, which allow you to put pictures alongside the text. If you don’t want the text or headings to resize and ruin the page layout, a PDF will preserve all this, so anyone can use it.  

If you want to convert pictures directly into PDFs, you’ll need to have it in the correct format to convert. Many digital cameras will store pictures on the SD card they have as a .jpg.

PDF.Live offers a simple, fast and easy-to-use .jpg to PDF converter

How to Convert Photos Into PDFs

If you want to convert a photo into PDF, so you can create digital scrapbooks, brochures, memorials, marketing materials or memory books, here’s what to do. Start by converting all of your images into the same type of file format – PDF.

First, convert print photos to digital

If your photos are physical, you’ll need to scan them. You can do this yourself, which is OK if you’ve got a small collection. Scanning at home can be time-consuming and cumbersome, as most home scanners are hand-fed and convert one image at a time. If you’ve got hundreds of photos, converting these pictures to digital files could take hours. You might consider a professional scanning service. 

There are many makes and models of scanners, so rather than try to walk you step by step through the process of scanning, we suggest you open the device on your computer and follow the steps.

  • On a Mac, you can open the Image Capture app and follow the prompts. 
  • On a Windows PC, open the Windows Scan app and follow the prompts. 

Make sure the file type is set to output the scanned files as a .pdf. If that is not an option, select .jpg (aka JPEG) and then you can use PDF.Live to convert from JPEG to PDF

If you don’t have a printer or scanner, you can try your local library or office supply store that offers printing and scanning services. They may charge small per-photo fees. Some pharmacies and big-box stores (like Costco) near you may offer photo conversion services, which is great for large photo collections.

There are also online photo digitizing services that can handle large numbers of file conversions. This type of service can be scary, though, because you have to physically mail your photos to a service and trust them to handle your pictures with care. Some online services that do this include*: 

Try searching for “photo digitizing service near me” to see if any local businesses offer this service, which could alleviate the worry you’d have of trusting parcel delivery to care for your family’s photos. Costco and Walmart offer these services for not only print photos but also slides.

*We found these services by searching online for “photo digitizing service.” Listing them here does not equate to an endorsement. Please check user reviews before entrusting your valuable photos with any digitizing service.

Second, convert digital photos to PDF

Next, go through your digital images and convert them into the same digital file format. We recommend JPEG (.jpg), as this is the most universal photo file format. 

  • Open your photo in your editor of choice (Photoshop, Paint, etc.) and then select “Save as” to save your photo as a .jpg or .pdf.
  • If you stored your photos in the cloud or on a device, check to see if you can download or export them as a .jpg or .pdf. On most laptops and computers, you do this by right-clicking and selecting “Save as” or “Export” and then selecting the file type.  
  • If you need to convert to PDF, drag and drop the .jpg into PDF.Live’s free PDF converter. You can convert multiple photos to PDFs at a time. 

Third, create your photo album

Now you’re ready to merge all of your images into one document with multiple pages. If you want to make a photo album, PDF.Live offers a PDF merging tool that can combine the converted PDFs of your photos into a single PDF. From there, you can download and share all of your photos in a single PDF, rather than sending around multiple files.

Converting your files to PDFs is easier than ever with online file converters like PDF.Live that let you drag and drop photos and other documents into the website for conversion.