Over the past few weeks, I've been scanning old negatives that my mother and aunt have come across while they were packing things for a move. A good number of them were negatives of pictures that I'd never seen before. The above picture is of my Dad while he was in the army during the Korean War. The process I used for this was fairly simple for the larger black and white negatives.
- I scanned the negative just like I would a regular photo using my flatbed scanner.
- I opened the file up in IrfanView(a free image software)
- The selected from the IrfanView menu Image > Negative(invert image) and this changed the negative to a picture image.
- Use image editing software to clean up the image.
Some of the color negatives(126 Kodak Film) were easier to convert to digital picture using a GMYLE smart digital image copier that I'd purchased about 10 years go(It connects via USB and is about 4" x 4" and came with two trays--one to load film and another for slides. The scanner came with ArcSoft Software to retrieve the scans. When using it I just scanned and then used an image editing software on it.
You could probably come up with your own combination of how to do this using what you have available. You'd need a way to backlight the negative and scan it and then a way to convert it from negative to positive.