Photo Scanning Services: Scan And Digitize Your Old Photos

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We all have those beloved shoeboxes full of precious childhood photos. Yet, more often than not, they’re stuck in garages and corners of the home collecting dust, so every excursion down memory lane comes with the additional task of cleaning and reorganizing. Well, it’s time to digitize those memories by scanning your old family photos.

Scanning can help you organize and preserve these memories better. At the same time, scanning your old photos will ensure that you’ll always have a backup no matter what happens to the physical copies. Plus, having digital copies handy can help you make collage posters or slideshows for birthdays, graduations, marriages, and all those big celebrations in life.

Now, how do you scan photos? Well, there are two options: doing it yourself or using a photo scanning service like our #1 pick, ScanMyPhotos. If you’re interested in getting your own photo scanner, you can check out our reviews of the best photo scanners on the market. The second option for scanning your photos and getting them on a cloud, flash drive, or DVD is using a photo scanning service. Depending on your location and preference, you can choose a photo scanning service where you go and do the scanning yourself, or a service where all you have to do is ship your box of old photos, and let them take care of the rest.

Let’s take a look at the most popular photo scanning services you can use.

Go and Scan: Best Places to Scan Photos

If you want to go to a photo service and do the scanning yourself, the two most popular and easy ways to do this is visiting a local Walgreens or Costco. Not to mention that you can do your shopping along with your scanning in a single trip.

Walgreens doesn’t offer a service wherein they scan your photos and put them on a drive – but you can go there and do it yourself. You simply take your photos to their Photo Kiosk, scan them one at a time, and either print the images or burn them to a CD. Walgreens has a 24-image per customer per session policy. This restriction paired with the fact that you can only scan one photo at a time, doesn’t make Walgreens the ideal choice for bulk scanning.

With Costco, you can either go and manually scan the photos yourself, or let them do it for you. You can choose to ship your photographs or drop them off yourself, and pick them up (or again, get them shipped to you) once they’re done. At Costco, you can choose to scan photographs sized anywhere between 2” x 2” and 8” x 12”. Each order starts at around $20, and includes 2 DVDs, the option to save your photos to Google Photos, and scan 62 photos. Each additional scan costs $0.32.

Ship and Scan: Best Photo Scanning Services

The second option we talked about was shipping your shoeboxes of photos to a scanning service, and letting them do it all for you. The best photo scanning services will digitize your photos and make them available to you in online folders. They’ll also – of course – send the originals back to you once they’re done scanning.

Let’s take a look at the best photo scanning services you can try.

1. ScanMyPhotos – Our Recommended Choice

ScanMyPhotos is by far the most affordable scanning service on the market, as the pricing starts at 8 cents per scan. If you purchase a bulk scanning package, the cost becomes even cheaper. They also scan negatives and slides, and convert VHS and 8mm film to DVD. They additionally offer photo restoration, and gift certificates, so you can buy the scanning service as a gift for a member of your family or one of your friends.

ScanMyPhotos also offers the fastest scanning service. You can get your photos digitized within 7-10 business days, or opt for a same-day scanning service.

ScanMyPhotos offers the fastest scanning services

One drawback of ScanMyPhotos is that they have some strict guidelines on how you should clean and organize your photos before shipping them.

If you happen to live in Irvine, California, you can even schedule an in-person appointment at their scanning facility.

2. GoPhoto

GoPhoto will scan your photos, slides, and negatives and then put them in an online folder. It’s probably the easiest-to-use scanning service, requiring minimal work on your part. They retouch some of your old photos and restore their color, and provide you with an unlimited, free folder from which to access your photos. They have a cool post-payment system, where you only pay for the scans you want to keep.

The GoPhoto scanning process keeps your input minimal!

Some drawbacks are that GoPhoto doesn’t offer a discount for bulk scanning, and their price-per-scan is slightly higher than other options.

3. ScanCafe

ScanCafe is another great photo scanning service that can scan your photos, slides, and negatives. As ScanCafe utilizes a one-time pre-payment system, they’re a great choice for bulks scanning lots of photos. If you’re not in a hurry to get your photos digitized, the cost per scan is even lower. ScanCafe also offers various color resolutions and color retouching. Plus, you can transfer VHS to DVD, and use it for other types of media.

The color restoration service will bring new life to old photos

One drawback of ScanCafe is that the image files aren’t organized in folders.

Go-and-Scan or Ship-and-Scan: Which One is for You?

Going to a shop and scanning your images or sending them to a service and letting them do it for you both have some advantages and drawbacks.

In terms of budget, going yourself is generally cheaper. You won’t have to spend money on shipping. Plus, the retouching that scanning services offer usually adds to the price.

However, this is also more time-consuming.

Shipping your photos to a scanning service will save on time as well as get you the most professional results. It’s also cool that some of these services organize your photos in folders, so that accessing them is even easier.

A Few Words Before You Go…

Hopefully, you’ve weighed the benefits and advantages offered by different photo scanning methods and services. We recommend ScanMyPhotos as the best pick. Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll have your photos digitized in no time!

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Last updated on May 18, 2024. Pricing Information and Product Images obtained from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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