Scan, Archive, Share

Three ways to make your photos last for generations.

The Details

(Or, your photos mean a lot to you, so we’re going to tell you exactly how they will be treated while they are visiting with us).

When your order is received we first confirm all the photos are accounted for as per your order form. To assure the best results, your photos are kept physically separate from all the others. Further, from start to finish, the same individual will be exclusively assigned to your photos. If they have a question, they’ll call you and likewise, if you call, you’ll speak with the person who is assigned to your project.

We wear white cotton gloves and try to handle the photos as little as possible. Each item is gently dusted and then scanned. Next, the photo is returned to it’s original storage container in the same sequence that it was removed. Please know that photos in albums or items in individual envelopes will cost a bit more than loose photos. See the order form for details

Once the scanning is completed the files are saved in folders that follow the same method of organization that the physical photos are using. If the photos are in a yellow envelope that says “halloween 1977”, then the scanned photos will be saved to a folder called “halloween 1977 (yellow envelope)”. The individual files will be named using a similar protocol. For instance photos of a family wedding in an album might be called: smith_wedding_001.jpg. If you’d like a special naming scheme, just ask. We’re happy to oblige.

The digital files are saved to USB hard drives. We use either thumb style drives or if necessary larger magnetic hard drives. See our order form for pricing details. Or provide your own hard drive when you send us your photos.

Billing: payment is due when your order is complete and ready to be delivered. To get started, use our order form to create a price estimate and request a shipping label.

More details

Along with how your images are named and organized digitally, there are a few additional options in regards to correcting and optimizing your photos. We offer 3 levels of service:

Basic
The raw untouched digital file as produced by the scanner in tiff format. The file may be slightly skewed. There is no editing or correction of any kind. This is recommended only for those who understand how to edit digital media on their own.
Standard
Images are cropped up to 10% from the border (if you want to preserve the white border around your prints, we suggest you order the Basic or Complete service level). Basic color/contrast is also applied.
Complete
Cropping is done closer to the border, preserving more of the image. Color/contrast corrections are fine-tuned. High dynamic range scanning techniques are used to increase the amount of detail. Finally, we provide dust and scratch removal for transparencies and reflective media.
an example of our basic level of photo scanning
Basic service level
an example of our standard level of photo scanning
Standard service level

Back to you: Once your images have been digitized the originals will be carefully packed along with your new digital scans. We ship via UPS and keep a copy of your digital files on our system for 30 days so you have time to make a redundant offsite backup of your files ( always have a fully tested backup system ).

What Else?

Does dpi matter? How to store your originals and the truth about what we are willing to scan.

Scan Anything (almost)

Photos, prints, negatives, positives, slides, transparencies are all scanned using our top of the line flat-bed scanners. Items that are too large to fit on the scanner bed (artwork, diplomas, etc;) can be digitized using our large polarized copy stand. If your needs are extraordinary, give us a call. We’ll appreciate the challenge.

About Resolution:

The materials being scanned and how the resulting digital files will be used vary. In general we believe that if the image is worth scanning, then it should be scanned at a sufficient resolution as to ensure the resulting file will not only look good on a computer monitor but will also be amenable to printing and enlargment.

The table below lists the standard resolutions we use for different media. To learn more, this PDF from Epson is helpful. The links at the bottom of the page are another great resource for learning more than most people ever would wish to know about choosing the correct resolution. Questions? Special requests? Give us a call.

Media Full
Prints 600 dpi
35mm Slides 4000 dpi
35mm Negatives 4000 dpi
Medium Format 3000 dpi
Large Format 1200 dpi

Restoring and Enhancing

There are different schools of thought on what if any enhancements or repairs should be done to a damaged photo. Some feel that we have the tools and should use them to make the image better than the original. Others feel that the image should only be modified if it helps communicate more information that would otherwise not be visible. In general we subscribe to the latter theory. Meaning we won’t colorize black and white images. We will remove red-eye, dust and scratches, enhance color/contrast to increase visibility of what can be seen, and repair tears and creases when appropriate.

Photo restoration is billed hourly ($85 hour). Indicate on your order form which of the photos will require additional editing and we will contact you with a price estimate.

Going Further: Proper care and storage of the originals.

Congratulations! You’ve taken your old photos and digitized them. What about the originals? As great as digital images are, the original photos have their own intrinsic value. If you agree, then we suggest you investigate best practices for archival storage of photographic media. Check out the links at the bottom of the page to learn more. Or ask us to return your photos in museum quality archival storage containers. This additional service is priced based on the materials being stored and your individual needs. If you’d like a quote, just say so on the order form or give us a call.