Sorting photographs for scanning

Sorting photographs for scanning











The first (and possibly biggest) dilemma after finally getting round to organising your old prints, slides and negatives for scanning is - what should I scan? This is a simple question but has caused many headaches.

The optimal solution is to just scan them all, although we realise this is not possible for everyone, generally due to the scanning cost being too high. One way of sidestepping this is to space out the number of images you have scanned at a time, which will reduce the initial cost and give you time to sort through the images once they come back, before you get the rest of the images scanned. 

If you do go down the route of sorting through your photos before scanning, here are a few questions to ask yourself to work out whether a photo should go into the scanning pile:


Is it a good memory?

If the picture is associated with a bad memory we would generally advise not scanning it, unless it is particularly important or something you do not want to forget.


How important is the memory to you?

Weddings, births and birthdays are all important and should be treasured. But don’t forget the less extravagant memories such as a random shot, like the kids eating breakfast because these often capture the memories most true to what it was really like.


Does anyone else want to see it?

If the photo involves friends or relatives it is likely that they would appreciate seeing it and scanning it would allow you to give them a digital copy that they can keep.


Is it a good shot?

A picture of grass or a very blurred shot is probably not worth scanning.


If you do not know whether to scan something because of a physical problem, read this:

Duplicates - these are common, especially when the photographer has got rather over-excited! If the duplicate is completely identical then we would recommend taking it out of the scanning pile although when it is in different angles and lighting that brings a new atmosphere we would recommend scanning it because it is a whole new memory from the previous picture.

Marked or damaged - it is sad to see old damaged photos because they are the memories that have not survived, nevertheless, on occasion they can be saved! If it is just a minor scratch or colour fading it will be worthwhile scanning. Our photo and transparency scanning service includes image enhancement which will reverse the effects of fading and for transparency scanning we go the extra mile by correcting any small scratches or pieces of dust using special infrared scanning technology. If the photo or negative is badly bent or torn then we would advise keeping the hard copy very safe because scanning is probably not an option.


Generally a good way of telling whether you should scan a photo is by you initial thoughts and if in doubt scan it!