How to Choose a Photo Scanning Service

technician scan a negative film and slides

For many years, you’ve had a nagging feeling that something needs to be done with all those shoeboxes and albums containing irreplaceable family memories. It’s true that digitizing film, slides, movies, and other media prone to the ravages of time is the best way to preserve your family history. But if the entire process seems daunting and you haven’t done anything, you’re not alone! Doing this yourself, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of images, is a huge undertaking. Just as you would never take a precious family heirloom diamond ring to a fly-by-night jeweler for resizing, you should never send precious family photos to a company for scanning without doing a little homework. Like any other service, scanning companies aren’t created equal. 

Important Factors to Consider


Appropriate due diligence is required to protect your investment. While word of mouth and personal recommendations are great, doing online research can help you make an informed choice. Never forget that your memories deserve the best photo scanning service. With that said, here are important considerations to keep in mind:


  • Reputation and trust: Look at online consumer reviews from multiple sources such as Google and professional reviews from online tech or photography magazines. Reputable companies stand by their services and should have a proven track record handling the most fragile photos with utmost care. It’s essential to have confidence that a scanning service will treat your images like they belong to them personally.


  • Cost of service: You may have hundreds or even thousands of boxes of historical photos. But the lowest cost of service may not be the best solution. If the scanning is done incorrectly, you’ll have to get it done again and that’s a colossal waste of money. Even worse, cheap scanning companies may damage or lose your precious originals.


  • Quality of product: Scanning photos at 600dpi resolution yields excellent quality that is high enough to create prints as large as poster size. Beware of companies that scan at 150dpi to save time because you’re certain to be disappointed with the mediocre or poor results.


  • Editing and restoration: If your photos, negatives, and slides have been stored for years, they’ll likely require some editing. Although this may cost extra, there’s no point in paying for scans if the images are still scratched or the colors look otherworldly! Make sure the company you select has the expertise to remove scratches and dust and color correct images. And if the images have incurred more extensive damage, look for a company that can perform pixel by pixel restoration.


  • Scanning entire albums: Seek out a company that can scan photos in albums because removing them yourself can cause irreversible damage.


  • Turnaround time: Find out ahead of time how long it will take to complete the task of scanning all your photos. The onus is on you to communicate your timeframe expectations accurately on the front end and select a service that can deliver, but keep in mind that turnaround expectations need to be realistic. 


  • Safe handling: Find a company that takes the safety of your images seriously – door to door. At ScanCafe, our commitment to safety starts with requiring that you use a sturdy box to send us your precious memories. We offer door-to-door and shelf-to-shelf tracking, video surveillance, strict order monitoring, and incredibly safe return shipping. 


  • Customer service: Quality customer service is a vital factor. If you call to talk to an employee, the person should be knowledgeable about the company’s services and have the ability to provide assistance. If customer service is poor, chances are the scanning services will also be subpar. 

If you’re looking for high-quality scanning services, look for a company with a state-of-the-art facility and the best professional photo scanners. ScanCafe has scanned more than 150 million images, transferred more than 200 million feet of film, and converted more than 1 million videotapes to digital! Check out our online reviews and customer testimonials today and you’ll see why we’re a global leader in scanning and recipient of numerous awards!