If you are like many people, as your life has progressed, you have probably collected a lot of photos and slides along the way. Wouldn’t it be great to have digital versions of these memories just in case. How many family’s lost their photos in the awful tragedy of Hurricane Katrina when that storm destroyed parts of New Orleans. Memories can be lost from fires too. Insurance can help you recover things, but once a photo is gone, it’s gone forever. There is just no way to anticipate and protect your possessions from every possible calamity. Or is there?
Many people are finding that scanning their photos and slides is a great way to have digital copies of them to preserve them from the unforeseen. Once the decision has been made to make digital copies by scanning, the question then becomes, is it better to scan them yourself or is it perhaps better to use a scanning service? How do you decide? Fear not. While I won’t make the decision for you, I can offer some guidance on how to evaluate and decide.
Both methods involve some cost. Neither is perfectly free. But one method is going to cost more than the other. On the other hand, there are quality issues to consider also. Let’s take a closer look.
The only direct cost if you decide to pursue the do-it-yourself road is that of buying a scanner. For photos, you’re going to need a fairly high quality scanner to get the best results. If you plan on scanning slides make sure that the scanner you choose is capable of performing the job. Generally speaking, this type of scanner is going to cost somewhere on the order of $300 and up. There are scanners designed specifically for scanning slides, but depending on the resolution you want, they can be really expensive. Scanners designed to scan negatives and slides can run many thousands of dollars, and are usually more the choice of a professional photographer. In the end, it comes down to the quality and detail of the images which you feel comfortable with.
Of course, you also must consider whether you’re going to be using the scanner after you have your digital images. If you don’t really have much need, then it makes more sense to pay for a scanning service.
There are a number of commercial scanning services, who will be more than happy to scan your old photos and slides at a very reasonable cost. Some I have seen advertised are as low as under 20 cents per slide, and photos for less than 10 cents each.
Check around online to find the service which will provide the service you need. Many of them offer packages for a given number of images, and give you a choice of resolution.
The important thing to keep in mind when following either option is that this is a way to ensure that a lifetime of photos and memories can be preserved indefinitely. It may cost you time and money but it will certainly be worth it in the end.