Your Digital Life hands out some great advise on best practices for scanning images by sending them out to a service. The type of scanning we do here at Artisan is a little different than the service bureaus they are describing below in the article. Since we focus on large format printing, and high resolution digital editing, most of our scans are smaller in volume of originals, but large in file resolution. That is why #2 resonates so well with us. There are some great recommendations for those who are unfamiliar with how to prepare their scanning order to drop off or ship to a lab.
1) If you have the same images on both prints and negatives, and incremental cost does not blow your budget, choose to have the negatives scanned instead of the prints. The negatives have more image information that can be captured and are likely less faded, if at all. The resulting image file from scanning negatives will be larger and more versatile than those from paper photo scanning.
2) Understand and choose the scanning images options that match your specific requirements. For example, if subsequent printing of enlargements is likely, opt for higher scan dpi options or ensure the standard scan dpi is sufficient for your needs.
3) Save money, and possibly increase turnaround time, by doing some of the work of organizing and preparing your collection yourself. Understand the packing guidelines of the photo scanning service and adhere to the suggestions. Keep schemes simple, and to the extent possible, remove slides from trays, prints from albums, and keep negatives in protective sleeves. This may save on extra fees and shipping costs.
4) Pack your photos in a box, not mailers or soft pouches. Rigid boxes, when combined with plastic utility bags and packing material (paper, not peanuts), provide the best protection for your treasured photo collection while in transit. Use reputable shippers with real-time tracking and track your packages to the photo scanning service, often they will confirm receipts via email.
5) If concerned about shipping, divide your collection into three or four separate shipments. While it’s extremely unlikely a single package will go missing from a reputable shipper in transit, the chances of more than one package will be lost are virtually zero.