Sometimes the most difficult part of digital photography is not choosing the right camera or selecting the right scene mode, but figuring out how to get old prints and negatives from the shoebox in the attic to your computer.
Enter companies like ScanCafe. They exist to help bring your old photos into the digital era.
The photo-scanning service digitizes old photographs and negatives, manually retouches them and then saves them on to a DVD for you.
Through an online order form, you estimate your order quantity and place your order. After making a partial payment (equal to about half of your order), the Web site generates a prepaid UPS shipping label that you print out.
You pack up your old photos in a sturdy box, drop them off at a UPS location and ship them off.
You get back a DVD that you've created, along with your original photos. The process is more expensive than scanning them yourself, but the service does work that could take you a lot of time.
ScanCafe scans color prints for 27 cents each. Negatives are 24 cents. You can also scan slides. The cost includes retouching and color correction.
Review Pictures Online
The real fun comes after ScanCafe receives your pictures and scans them. They're posted in your private account online for you to review, along with notes suggesting any images that might not be good candidates for restoration.
At this point you can also choose to delete any duplicates or ones of people you no longer recognize, saving you a little money along the way.
You then organize the images into albums and the service goes back to work on the final step of creating your DVD.
If you want to display the images in more creative ways, you can order tote bags, coasters, aprons, playing cards and more wth your pictures printed on them.
ScanCafe Brings Old Pictures to Digital Life
For $149.99, ScanCafe also offers a gift box option if you know someone who could use a little help with those aging shoe boxes. They receive an empty box along with instructions on how to fill it up with up to 400 photos and negatives.