Photo Scanning Services | ScanCafe

Photo Scan Services

We scan color and black & white prints, nearly any size; and kids' 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: $0.37 per photo, up to 8"x10", and Value Kit available from $0.25/scan.
  • 10 Business Days* processing available.
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USA Express Scanning for a faster turnaround time

To make it easy for you to try out our photo digitizing service, we have designed the whole process to be as pain-free as possible. We start the important work of converting your precious old photos to digital images the moment they reach us. When we are done, your print photos will be shipped back to you while your digital ones will be available for downloading.

Scan Photo to Digital - How it works

Photo Scanning Process

What Sets Our Photo Digitization Service Apart

Handcrafted quality

Hand Scanning

We know that your old photos are some of the most precious things you have (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!). And the only reliable way to preserve these priceless memories is to convert your old photos to digital.

But spending hours scanning old photos spread across multiple shoeboxes is nobody's idea of fun. That's where our top-rated photo scanning service comes in. Given how much your photos mean to you, we know that when you send them to us to scan, 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. In our experience, this really is the best way to scan old photos.

Photo: LTC Kane

Individual image fixes

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.

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. We routinely carry out the following fixes to make your digitized photos look their best.

  • Image re-orientation
  • Photo cropping as needed
  • Removing scratch and dust marks from photos
  • Photo color correction
  • Removing cases of red eye from photos

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 outstanding 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).

Our cost promise

Our service is not just affordable, it's much less expensive than many services with lower quality. This price comparison list will give you a sense for the difference. We also give you the option of discarding scans (upto 20% of them) that you don't want to retain and that again helps to keep a lid on the final number in your bill. And yet we make sure that we are not cutting corners or compromising on quality in any way. 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.

Why it makes sense to use a photo scanning service

Most people think they can invest in a quality scanner and do the photo scanning themselves. They believe that if they gather all their photos from across shoeboxes and other places and start feeding them into a scanner, they can finish the project over a weekend.

Reality may prove to be a little different. There are significant hidden costs involved in trying to do this yourself. As this article indicates, the DIYer can expect to spend 7.5 minutes per image when scanning photos at home. That includes the time required for scanning as well as editing the digital image for color shifts, scratches, fading etc. And this is after they are past the learning curve involved with the process. According to reliable research, the average American adult has 3000 analog images in their possession. If you do the math and multiply that by 7.5, that's 22,500 minutes in total that are needed to complete the task! Put another way, that's 10 weeks or 47 Saturdays at 8 hours a day.

So, the DIY route may not really be the most cost-effective way to scan photos, especially when you are looking at a large collection. A better strategy might be to cull your photos to the extent that you can (remove duplicates, blurry prints, those that are not focused on anything in particular) and send it off to a reliable professional photo scanning service like ScanCafe who can get the job done - quickly and effectively.

Frequently asked questions

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» 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!
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  • Great Prices for Photo Scanning

    comparisonEven though our quality is the best in the industry, our prices are far below comparable services.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Experts Agree

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

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

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

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  • 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)

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