Digitize old photos

You want to digitize old photos but don’t know where to start

You have several options if you want to digitize your old photos. Some are DANGEROUS, some questionable and some are VERY time consuming but there is a proper way.

A restored military photo from world war 1 with men standing in a truck and around a truck, Digitize old photos

Digitize old photos – Do them yourself???

One option is that you can go out and purchase your own scanner. The problem with doing this is the cost of the scanner. Learning how to use the scanner correctly. Getting a high enough quality image. PLUS taking the time need to scan your stuff (yes it takes a LOT of time). Then cropping and adjusting your photos. Not only can it be extremely expensive doing it this way but it can be very very labor intensive.

Take a gamble

Another option to digitize old photos is to take them to someone who will ship them away or use a questionable online service. Locally this can be an independent person or it can be a drugstore or discount store. They take your images throw them in a shoebox ship them off to somebody in Mexico or India and have them scanned for a penny a piece. The problem doing it this way is that your images are being shipped to who knows where. PLUS there’s no guarantee that they will actually arrive there.

Quality is questionable. And in some cases they do not return your original images. All you get is a digital file and if anything should be wrong with the digital file you have no way of having them rescan because your images have been destroyed.

This can seem like a good way of doing it because it is less expensive but it’s actually the most dangerous way of doing it because you have no guarantee that you’ll get a quality scan or your images back. I’ve heard from many people who have used services like this and didn’t even get a digital file because their images were lost in shipping. Once your images are lost that’s it your memories are gone as well.

Shoebox scanning

Other people who offer a low quality and a low price scanning service do what’s called a shoebox scan. Again they take all your images in a giant box and then they insert them one after the other into a fast scanner. They don’t worry about dusting them they don’t worry about how they’re handled they’re just inserted their scanned and they come. Again lower price but at the same time much lower quality than having them professionally scanned.

The print place

It seems that many print places have gotten into offering photo scanning services. They have photocopiers and some have high-speed scanners that will scan your images. But the problem here is is that the scanners are not designed for photographic scanning. They are designed for scanning copies. The quality is generally very substandard from a photographic point of view.

Worst yet is if you get copies made by these systems. They are actually removing a lot of the photo information and just photocopying the image. It’s not a photo quality copy it’s a photocopier copy.

Digitize old photos the best way

So what is the best way to digitize old photos? It’s to take them to somebody who does it professionally. Take them to somebody who doesn’t ship them halfway around the world. Take them to someone who treats each photo individually.

Now if you’re in Lethbridge or you’re Southern Alberta I strongly recommend my own lab to do this work.

Digitize old photos Lethbridge & southern Alberta

Lethbridge photo printing, Same day photo prints, one hour lab, digital prints

If you’re not in Southern Alberta I strongly recommend that you do your research before you leave your memories with somebody.

Find out if they do it as a full-time job. How your images are handled. Find out what the turnaround time is.

Many people are doing this as a hobby will offer you a low price and tell you that they’re going to give you a professional service. But they work on them in their spare time, in their dusty damp basement and it could be months before you see your images back. As for the quality I strongly recommend that you see sample of their work.

Ask them what resolution that they’re scanning at. Find out if the images will be scanned in color if they’re color and in black and white if they’re black and white. I see thousands of images a month where people have had them scanned and they were scanned in color but they were black and white images and they look horrible. Ask if they’re color corrected and density corrected.

Call today 403-327-1114

United Nations truck with driver John Paterson standing in front of it

The time is worth it

Memories are important and getting your memory scan can take a little bit of work. But it will be worth it in the end and by taking the time now and getting great high quality scans you’ll be able to make copies from the scan and share the digital files with family for years to come.