Ah, the days before digital.
February 25, 2008 7:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the best way to get good quality scans of old photos and then store them permanently in archival albums or envelopes.

On a recent mission to declutter and avoid Actual Work, I have been sifting through the contents of my closet and going through old photos and paperwork. I started scanning in a few of the photos, but my free with mail-in rebate Canon MP460 isn't really the greatest for archival work. I personally don't have a ton of pictures (although I probably have several hundred), but if this works well I would also consider doing it for my parents. I don't really have many of the negatives or they are in complete disarray, so scanning the prints is going to be the best option for me. Most of the photos are 4x6 prints, many of them glossy finish, developed at your local megamart, etc.

-What are online or local scanning services that would do the best job of archival scanning of pictures? I live in Iowa so the closest "metropolis" to me is Des Moines.
-Alternatively, is there a reasonably priced scanner that I should buy that would pay for itself versus sending the photos out?
-After I'm done scanning everything, how to store? Some my pictures are already starting to stick to themselves, and I'm sure many of my parents' are just as bad. I'm looking for the best acid-free photo albums or envelopes/boxes.
posted by sararah to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have been looking to do this too, but so far the only option I have found is to take the negatives somewhere (Costco for me) and have digital prints put onto CDs. My wife and I did this for our wedding pictures and it made it much easier to sort through the several hundred photos.
posted by Big_B at 8:57 AM on February 25, 2008

Seattle Photoworks http://photoworks.com used to offer scanning service, scanning photos and returning a photo CD. I do not know if they still offer that service but you could ask.
posted by swarkentien at 9:02 AM on February 25, 2008

Kevin Kelly likes Scancafe.com, which I will try if I ever take the time to collect and organize my family's old photos. (Some other favorable reviews are also posted at the scancafe site.) If by "local" you can accept that your stuff gets shipped to Bangalore, India.
posted by Dave 9 at 9:49 AM on February 25, 2008

Light Impressions has lot's of archival framing and storage stuff.

For scanners any ~$150 desktop scanner will work fine, it's the printing that will get expensive. For cheap archival prints, Costco is actually pretty good. They print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, which is about as good as anything short of 100% cotton rag.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:34 AM on February 25, 2008

Um, you have a really good scanner. Anything by Canon is a decent deal. Remember that they are in the picture taking business and a sub-standard scanner wouldn't reflect too well on them. I'm not sure why you don't think it's up to the task. Can you expand on what the problem is as far as why you don't feel it works well for "archival work"?
posted by magnoliasouth at 8:55 PM on February 25, 2008

Best answer: Check these out:

Scanning Basics 101

Scanners & Printers - buying & using tips

posted by conrad53 at 8:47 AM on February 26, 2008

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