Sunday, March 24, 2013

How To Hire A Scanning Company You Can Trust With Your Only Copy Of Slides, Negatives, And Photos

1. Get Sample Scans Of Your Own Slides, Negatives, And Photos

Do you have thousands of slides, negatives, or photos to scan? Well, why not only send 10 originals as a test scan? And send your worst ones. See how the scanning company handles them, how they improve them, and learn how their process works.

And if you're not satisfied with your 10 scans, then it's better to lose $10 than $1000.

So tell them, "I have 1000 photos to scan, but want to see 10 of them scanned before I decide to scan the rest". Or just send 10, and put them to the test.

Remember, these are YOUR family's scans. They're not a commodity, or a product. Make the scanning company prove to YOU that they're worth scanning your family's slides, negatives, and photos.

If the scanning company gives you an excuse how they can't give you a test-run then they probably have something to hide.

2. Do You Care If You Get Quality Scans Or Do You Want To Save A Few Bucks

A scanning company will focus on one thing -- speed or quality. And if a company is focused on fast, bulk scanning, it probably means you'll get low-quality scans. Sure, the bulk scanning companies are tempting because they offer a very low price. But ask, "Why are their prices this low?"

You see, in order to increase their bottom line, these scanning companies cut corners so they can scan as many as they can. The more slides they scan in an hour, the bigger their profits. And to entice you, they'll do anything to drop their price.

I'm not saying to avoid bulk scanning companies. Just remember, time is money with these companies, and what you save in price you'll pay in quality.

3. Questions To Ask A Scanning Company So You Can Trust Them With Your Originals

The best way to find a scanning company you can trust, is to weed out the bulk scanning ones. Find the companies that actually care about your originals. Here's three questions to ask:

Question One: How Do You Load The Slides, Negatives, And Photos?

You might not realize it, but loading takes up a lot of time. The slide or negative needs to be cleaned -- not only to remove dust and scratches, but so the scanner doesn't get clogged with dust. You need to make sure the slide is facing the right way -- or you'll get images that are backwards. And you need to save the files with a specific name -- otherwise you'll get a bunch of disorganize digital images.

So, to cut down on loading time, the scanning company will just throw your slide, negative, or photo in the scanner. They're not concerned about cleaning, or positioning, or naming -- this stuff just slows them down.

Question Two: How Do You Edit Scans To Ensure Quality?

The first thing you should know is that resolution or DPI has nothing to do with quality. DPI is just pixels and data. Quality comes from what is done with the pixels. So what if your scans are 4000 DPI? DPI has doesn't improve color, exposure, or remove dust and scratches..

When you ask about quality, and they answer back, "your scans will be 4000 DPI, very high quality", then this might be a red-flag. They may not even attempt to improve your scans. They're hoping on "high-resolution" as a selling point for quality.

The only way to make sure your slides and photos look at least as good as the originals, is to fix them in image editing software.

Now, most scanner's come with built-in scan enhancement software. You may have seen "Digital Ice" or "Color Fix", etc. These features promise quality scans, at faster times.

But in my 11 years experience in digital design, you cannot press a few buttons and get quality digital photos. And if you tried scanning, and pressed those buttons with the fancy names, you know how frustrating it is to get back a horrible looking scan.

So watch out if a scanning company advertises "Digital Ice", "ROC", "DEE", "Color Fix", etc. I'm not against Digital Ice. I'm just saying most scanning companies use these as short cuts so they can pump out more scans per hour.

A professional scanning company knows better to use built-in editing software. They will use software designed to edit digital images. They will scan your photo at a very high resolution, sure. But they will produce a "natural" scan, and open the image in a program like GIMP or Photo Shop.

4. Get A 100% Scan Guarantee

Quality scanning companies have nothing to hide. They'll be more than happy to show you your scans before you commit all of them. And since they don't zip through your scans, and edit them personally, they'll have no issues offering you a 100% guarantee.

Of course, not all scans can be fixed. But at least know that if you get a batch of bad scans, the scanning company you hired will have no issues with re-scanning, re-fixing, or giving you your money back.

Here's Three Things To Remember

1. Get samples before you decide to scan all of your slides, negatives, and photos.

2. Find out if they are a bulk scanning company by asking them how they edit your scans.

3. Get a 100% scan guarantee -- a great scanning company has nothing to hide.

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