Over the summer I got in contact with a photo scanning company called Mr Scan, asking if they’d consider letting me review their service as part of my series of posts on safeguarding photographic memories. (You can read the first post in the ‘Preserving the memories’ series here).
I surveyed the contents of ‘the box’, (Everyone has one of these somewhere in their house, right? A box or drawer of old negatives and APS films that you are not sure what to do with but can’t possibly throw out or relegate to the loft in case you forget about them forever), packed everything into a jiffy bag along with some loose prints that I also wanted to scan, and sent them off to Mr Scan, having chosen their Premium Home service. The package arrived back around a week later, the photos packed exactly the same as I had sent them, but with the inclusion of a very exciting CD inside.
Seeing a very strong Arlo-resemblance in these photos:
Skipping ahead a decade or so now to the Year 11 Prom
I immediately emailed all the school-era photos to my friends and we had a good old laugh. “Why didn’t anyone tell me my hair looked like that?! Imagine how different things would have been if hair straighteners had been around back then!”
You’re bound to get a few nice surprises when you scan negatives. Prints that have been removed from the pack, stuck on fridges, walls, given to friends, and got lost and forgotten about along the way – I’ve been reunited with so many special images that I haven’t laid eyes on for years.
I think that scanning old photos and negatives is a brilliant idea for a Christmas present – it’s bound to create some great Christmas day discussions about special family memories. Even if some of these images are already in photo albums, it’s great to have them as digital files so they can be easily shared amongst friends and family via email and Facebook, turned into collages, edited, etc.
Do check out the website if you are interested in getting some high quality scans from photos and negatives. Mr Scan are offering a 10% discount for readers of my blog:
A few specifics about the service:
Even though I used Royal Mail’s special delivery service, I still felt a little apprehensive about sending my precious photos. But Mr Scan emailed me the moment they arrived, kept me updated throughout the scanning process, and emailed to let me know when my photos were ready to be sent back and when I could expect them.
There are a few companies offering similar scanning services, but I chose to contact Mr Scan as they stood out to me for several reasons.
1. They are a family-run company.
2. They scan at 600DPI as standard
In my research I found that most companies scan prints and negs at 300DPI, and worryingly, some do not even list the quality of the scans you are paying for, or choose to hide the specifics in the small print. Mr Scan impressed me with their transparency and careful explanation concerning the scan process. After reading their site and having several email conversations, I could tell that they are really committed to producing quality scans.
I worked very closely with scanning companies in my old job. I’m not an expert, but I felt happier knowing that my images would be scanned at 600DPI. It’s not that 300DPI is bad quality, but 600DPI makes for a file that is twice as large and therefore much easier to work with if you plan to adjust colour/exposure/contrast, put the image in a collage, manipulate it in any way, or print an enlargement from the scanned file. This is a much higher quality scan than can be produced from a home scanner. Mr Scan also offer a TIFF scanning service if you have any special images deserving of full Photoshop treatment.
If you read my first post on preserving photographic memories, you will know that I am using a service that automatically backs up my hard drive to cloud storage, every day. The brilliant thing about turning all my negatives and prints into digital files, is that they are now also backed up onto the cloud storage. So, if the worst happens and everything in the house is stolen, damaged or destroyed, I know that these memories are safe, along with the thousands of images I’ve taken of Arlo since he was born.
Mr Scan let me try out their scanning service free of charge, but I want to stress again that I contacted them, because I already knew that I wanted to use their services over any other scanning company.