Bulk family photo scanning?
June 5, 2011 11:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out what services are good for scanning a large number of family photos. We have about 60 photo albums, some with photos marked on the back with descriptions, and we want to scan them and keep them somewhat organized so we can view and print them. So I think we have somewhere 3000 photos and I want to know if these online places do what they say on the tin, if some are better than others, etc. We are in the US, California. What services do this, and how do I make sure I get the originals back, and the photos get metadata added to them if it's there?
posted by artlung to Technology (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I did a search for a photo scanning service. The first place I found will do it for $80 per thousand photos. They return the photos to you along with a dvd of your pictures. They're located in Irvine, CA. It doesn't say anything about metadata, but maybe they do that if you pay extra?
posted by lover at 12:00 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Er, meant to mention: "285,200 Customers Since 1990"
posted by lover at 12:01 AM on June 6, 2011

Sorry for multiple posting, but yes. They scan the backs of the photos, but then it costs twice as much.
posted by lover at 12:04 AM on June 6, 2011

You might want to check into a ScanSnap scanner, which will scan both sides of the photos at once. They aren't cheap (~$400), but they hold their value, so you could resell the unit when you're done.

This assumes that you had time to scan the photos yourself... but you know what they say, if you want to have it done properly...
posted by Wild_Eep at 4:53 AM on June 6, 2011

Best answer: On the Cool Tools website, they’ve recommended ScanCafe (however, I don’t have personal experience with this service). Along with the price per picture, you’ll need to take into account the quality (in terms of dpi) that the pictures are scanned at.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 5:55 AM on June 6, 2011

I have used scan cafe for a big box of negatives. I was impressed with the service. They scanned all my negatives and posted them to a website where I could pick and choose which ones I wanted (weeded out the blurry or undesired) as long as you pick or pay for 50%. I thought the price was reasonable at about $0.29 each. It took about a month start to finish. You send your photos to a US address, they outsource the labor to India, you get everything back in a nice box with DVDs. Sign up for their newsletter, they offer specials and discounts all the time. I did not send in any albums, but they do those too. They will keep them organized into groups based on the album. Good luck!
posted by areawoman at 6:04 AM on June 6, 2011

KQED radio up here in the Bay Area offers ScanCafe services as a donor incentive at least a couple of times a year during pledge drives. Since they've been doing this for years, and public radio listeners aren't known for being shy about expressing when they think something sucks, I'd think it safe to assume that ScanCafe's service is good.
posted by rtha at 6:21 AM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: Scanning ourselves is a nonstarter. Absolutely not happening. If any of the photos were especially delicate maybe, but for these snapshots reliable service is what we seek.

Thanks for the thoughts on Scan Cafe, ScanMyPhotos. I'm edging towards Scan Cafe but will do more research.
posted by artlung at 7:25 AM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: Aside: The Scan Cafe "gift box" appears brilliant.
posted by artlung at 7:28 AM on June 6, 2011

Best answer: Also, ScanCafe almost always has 10% to 20% discount coupons that you can find on RetailMeNot.com
posted by ShooBoo at 8:27 AM on June 6, 2011

Personal recommendation for ScanCafe. Would use them again.
posted by fief at 9:52 AM on June 6, 2011

Worth a mention: ScanCafe is often given as part of a thank-you package for KQED's recent pledge drives. The donation cost was actually less than the comparable ScanCafe package.
posted by chairface at 1:11 PM on June 7, 2011

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