Digitizing Memories Yourself vs Professional Service

technician scan a negative film and slides

Since the advent of photography, gazillions of photos have been created. When you look at your own envelopes, photo albums, shoe boxes, etc., it may feel like you have a gazillion photos … and far too daunting a task to undertake! The biggest problem other than sheer numbers is that many old photos, slides, and negatives have suffered the consequences of time. Moreover, do you think your children are going to sift through thousands of photos to find the few hundred worth keeping? Especially in this day and age when anyone with a decent smartphone is a photographer and taking photos is nearly as ubiquitous as waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night. There are many good reasons why you should digitize old photos that are worth keeping, but this begs the question of whether to tackle the project yourself or have it done professionally.


Reasons Why You Should Digitize Memories


The number one reason to digitize is preservation. Prints, slides, and negatives are subject to never-ending color shifting, fading, scratches, and other environmental damage. When you digitize them, you can correct many flaws with software. Digitizing photos allows you to:

  • Share digital images with family and friends with a click of a button
  • Eliminate all those photos cluttering your living space
  • Organize images in ways that aren’t possible with traditional photos
  • View images without digging through boxes in the attic, basement, or at the back of a closet on a top shelf
  • Take a nostalgic trip down memory lane anytime you wish


DIY Digital Photo Scanning


If you have plenty of time and a desire to do this, it’s possible to digitize photos yourself. You’ll need a flatbed scanner, film scanner (for negatives and slides), and image correction software. Here are the six basic steps involved in DIY scanning:

  • Organize your prints, slides, and negatives by time period, people, etc. and decide which are worthy of scanning.
  • Do some research on different models before you buy a flatbed scanner and/or film scanner. Both of these come in a wide range of price points and some produce better results than others.
  • Decide how you want to store the photos (e.g. on your computer, USB drives, DVDs, in the cloud).
  • Adjust the settings—scanning photos and saving them as JPEGs in RGB at 300dpi or 600dpi will give you better results than 96dpi (standard resolution for online images you never want to print)
  • If you don’t know how to color correct or use retouching features in imaging correction software, watch online tutorials. Adobe Photoshop has a steep learning curve for novices, but more basic software may be sufficient for your needs.
  • Create separate folders on your chosen digital storage and label them clearly to avoid trying to find them when you want to print or share them.


The Perks of Professional Photo Digitization Services


While we’re betting you don’t have a gazillion old photos, research indicates the typical American adult has 3,000 such images! At an average of 7.5 minutes per photo to scan including repair, this equates to 22,500 minutes, or about 375 hours. If you don’t have the time, equipment, or desire to scan hundreds or thousands of photos yourself, a professional and highly efficient scan photo service is your best option. At ScanCafe, an assigned technician will review and correct your images, one at a time. When they’re all scanned and repaired, you’ll be able to review them and delete up to 20% of your order without being charged. You can even reorganize images to some extent before selecting them for download. Or if you prefer, we’ll send them to you on a USB drive or DVD. It’s an easy and affordable way to preserve special memories!