Every family has a history, and those stories are told in pictures. In today’s digital age, a picture that can’t be shared online may as well not exist. As we covered in 4 Ways to Manage Your Project to Scan Old Photos, there are a few steps to consider when looking at starting a photo scanning project.
But what about getting your photos scanned?
Fortunately for today’s busy families, there are options for every budget and circumstance. Whether you prefer to have a scanning service do-it-for-me, work directly with someone to do-it-together, or do-it-yourself, there’s a solution. Let’s take a look.
One of the most popular and long-standing methods is to send your photos to one of the many Internet-based photo-scanning services. Typically, you send your pictures in a pre-paid box or mailer to the site for a set fee for a specific number of photos (for example, 1,000 photos for $99).
Internet-based photo-scanning services can be a good choice for busy people looking to have their pictures scanned. Especially, if shipping their collection away to the service provider isn't a worry. This type of do-it-for-me solution also does well with projects whose photos aren't too methodically organized with hopes of getting them returned in an elaborate hierarchical filing system. Expect a turnaround time of anywhere from two weeks to a month. And, be sure to check out what other customers are saying about the service you select before sending any pictures to them.
Scanned photo collections from these business concerns can be returned to you on a disc, on flash drives, on hard drives or even through a cloud service like Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. Many offer additional options like photo restoration or creating personalized items using your digital images.
Another bonus for these services is they usually also digitize home movies, videos, and slides.
Some families are rightfully concerned about trusting their precious one-of-a-kind photo memories to the postal service; for those people, a local retailer may be the best option. They offer the convenience of a do-it-for-me service with the assurance the scans will be done on-site and remain in the local area. Pricing is usually on a sliding scale per scan, based on volume, with a minimum price.
The highest level of service offered is by professional organizers specializing in personal photo organization. Members of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) are trained professionals can provide an end-to-end boutique service from scanning to organizing to providing organized and printed photo books. In many cases, APPO members come to your home and work together with you and photo collection. They offer a wide variety of organizing services, including pro photo scanning tools.
Doing it together means you have immediate access to a professional ready to help with technical aspects of file formats, longevity, data management and more. Plus, the good thing is that collection of precious photos never leaves your home!
If you are interested in scanning your pictures, there are several options. The first is to purchase a scanner. Be sure it's designed by the manufacturer specifically to scan photos. Remember, never treat your photos like regular paper by trying to digitize them with a traditional document scanning device. Instead, buy only a scanner created for treating your pictures like the treasures they are.
Another DIY method is to visit a retailer with in-store kiosks where you can scan your photo collections. Retailers usually offer both high-quality and high-volume scanners, like the Kodak Picture Saver, as well as flatbed scanners for large photos, documents or scrapbook pages. Don’t have an extensive collection or fragile photos you want to handle personally and comfortable sitting in a retailer's shop doing this kind of work? A retail kiosk may be worth exploring.
An increasingly popular method is to rent a professional photo scanner to scan your photo collection at home. Scanner rental periods can be a weekend or longer, depending on the size of your project. Everything you need is in the box. Getting started is a snap with it scanning tools, a computer with pre-installed software, and color-coded connections. There are even photo-safe handling gloves, and a high capacity USB thumb drive to store your scanned pictures.
You don’t have to do it alone, either. Consider having a family scanning party; invite aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family bring their photos to your home to share in the fun. Not only will it be a great family gathering, but this is also a chance to see your family photos differently and hear the story behind them. After the family scanning party, send everyone home with their own disc, or flash drive. Who knows, you may even consider starting an online photo sharing account for the entire family.
Crossing the Finish Line
There's not too much more satisfying than having completed that project to scan all of your old photos. You have accomplished one of the most important steps in preserving your family's history!
Pictures allow our life stories to be put on display. With your collection of photos organized, digitized, and protected for generations to come, there’s no end to the possibilities for sharing and connecting those stories with others.