Photo Scanning Services | ScanCafe

Photo scanning, by hand

We scan color and black & white prints, nearly any size; and kid artwork, letters, etc...

Your old photos are in danger--danger of fading away, danger of being forgotten, and danger of being lost or damaged in a natural disaster. Photo scanning with ScanCafe can save them, safely and affordably:

  • Scanned and repaired by hand, one-by-one
  • High 600 dpi resolution allows 2x enlargement.
  • Safe, guaranteed. Door-to-door tracking, too
  • Amazing value: $0.35 per photo, up to 8"x10", and Value Kit available from $0.21/scan.
  • 10 Business Days* processing available.
Order Scanning Now
USA Flag
USA Express Scanning for a faster turnaround time

Handcrafted quality

Hand Scanning

Chances are, your old photos are some of most precious things you have (we know: one of our customers wrote us once to tell us that the only thing she carried out of her home during a wildfire was her ScanCafe DVD!). So when you send your photos off for scanning, you expect them to be treated carefully. We built our photo scanning service at Scancafe with this in mind. We handle your photos by hand and treat them with care at every step of the way. To start with, we scan photos one at a time, without the use of auto-fed scanning machines that can mangle them.

But where our handcrafted quality really shines is in repairing your photos. Where other services use a piece of software to guess its way through a batch of your most important memories, our service takes every single photo you send us and has it examined by a highly trained technician with a good eye and a terrific set of hands. And yet the service is not just affordable, it's much less expensive than many services with lower quality. So you don't have to make a hard choice between being able to afford to preserve all your memories, and being able to preserve them well. At ScanCafe, you can do both.

Photo: LTC Kane

Individual image adjustments

Essentially every image we receive requires some correction for the effects of time. Photos on display are particularly subject to fading, and even those hidden away in photo albums are subject to color shifts (unless stored in subzero conditions), both from time and from possible reaction to the photo album itself. For every image we receive, we will manually perform:

  • Re-orientation
  • Cropping
  • Scratch and dust removal
  • Color correction
  • Red-eye removal

In short, for our standard level of service, a technician will spend approximately four minutes per image addressing all of the problems above, and then some. In our experience scanning millions of photos, this produces oustanding quality almost all of the time, for just pennies per image. (Some photos may be so damaged they require our restoration service, but that's relatively rare).

How it works

Photo Scanning Process

Frequently asked questions

  view all
» Which dpi should I choose for photo scanning?
The short answer is that higher dpi leads to higher quality, and our belief is do it right the first time and you'll never have to worry about it again. You can scan photos at a lower dpi and pay less, but the photo scan quality will not be as good and there usually are zero post scan services such as color correction and cropping - so be wary. At ScanCafe, we want you to have the highest quality so we scan at 600 dpi. You can see some specific examples on our quality comparison page. Is 300 dpi just as good? Unfortunately, it is not. You can take a look at our side to side quality comparisons of 150dpi, 300dpi, and 600dpi. 600dpi simply picks up more information from the print. Furthermore, you can scan and print a 4x6 photo at 300 dpi, but you will never be able to enlarge the print at a later time to a 5x7, for example. As technology gets better, you'll find more value in the 600 dpi. Again, when it comes to photo scanning, do it right the first time, and you'll never have to do it again. Furthermore, if you want to get the most out of post-scan services like photo restoration, you will definitely want to scan your photo at 600dpi.
» Should I scan photos or scan negatives?
We recommend scanning negatives first because negatives provide the best resolution and quality. Negatives contain the maximum information about your image since they are fundamentally analog - and we scan negatives at 3000 dpi. When we speak of "information" we mean: clarity, sharpness, color depth, etc. Similarly, we suggest scanning slides over photos if the image is the same. Again, like negative scanning, you scan at a higher resolution with slides than with photos.
» What kind of photo scanners do you use?
We use top-rated Epson 4490 flatbed scanners.
» Why are my scanned photo files so large after scanning? Is TIFF bad?
The more information that you capture in a scan, the larger the file size will be. Information is defined as clarity, sharpness, color depth etc. A high resolution scan at 600dpi would give you a file of 5-7MB in jpeg and 30MB in TIFF format. Therefore, we do not recommend TIFF for the average customer. At the lower jpeg file size, you will be able to share images online and take up less space on your computer hard drive.
* Processing time is calculated from the day your order is received at our Indianapolis facility to the day we post your scans for online review. The number of days indicated here is good for 1000 or less standard photo media (without pro-options).
  • See why we are #1

  • Pay for What You Keep

    ScanCafe Scanning QualityWith ScanCafe, you get to review your scans before you settle your bill. You can delete up to 20% of your scans if you don't want them--no questions asked!
    see how it works »

  • Great Prices for Photo Scanning

    comparisonEven though our quality is the best in the industry, our prices are far below comparable services.
    price comparison »

  • Just Say No to Auto-Feeding

    Just Say No to Auto-Feed ScanningSome services will run your prints through an auto-fed scanner, which works like an office photocopier. As the machines heat up, your photos get stickier and can jam, which mangles them. By contrast, ScanCafe handles your prints manually.
    more about our quality »

  • Guaranteed. For Real.

    custom productThe only real guarantee in the business. If something happens to your originals while we have them, we’ll pay you up to $1,000.
    read the terms »

  • Experts Agree

    pop photography
    “The attention to detail was impressive. And so were the scans... pro-caliber work…”

    full article »

    “Best quality and cheapest…The best scanning service.”

    full article »

    “Bottom line? Good quality and, at $0.24 per slide and $0.27 per print, the price is hard to beat.”

    full article »

  • Our Customers

    When I got my DVD back with the photos, I could not believe the quality of the scans! It was like I was transported back in time....It was truly an emotional experience reliving those photos on my computer with such startling clarity and quality.

    - Matthew C., Columbus, GA (Dec 2007)

    The images I received were amazing quality - just like the original pictures...I loved that ScanCafe had great prices and that I could choose which images to purchase after they had scanned them all - what a deal!

    - Connie S.,Toccoa, GA (August 2008)

    I am a full time professional photographer for 17 years. I recently sent an equal amount of slides to both ScanCafe, and a major USA competitor. The scans came back from Scan Cafe, and every single one of them was 100% perfect. 20% of the scans from the competitor were completely unusable, and 50% of them required adjusting in Photoshop. And to make it even better, Scan Cafe was one third the price of the competitor...

    - Brian S., Baltimore, MD (July 2007)

    more testimonials »

Copyright © 2006-19 ScanCafe Inc. All Rights Reserved.