To Scan or not to Scan…

Posted on

When is it worth it to scan images yourself?

An array of slides back lit on a light table

Here’s how to determine when scanning your own photos becomes worth your time and energy. This post demystifies all the factors involved to help you make the right decision.

Dealing with a mix of physical and digital images is really about striking a balance between customization and time-management. Whether you have an old box of photos you’ve been meaning to digitize, or you’re about to get your film negatives developed, each situation is unique. Thankfully, I’m about to share a few principles that can help you figure out what’s best. Here are the recommended steps:

First, determine your skill level
Sure, you have access to a scanner… but do you really know how to use that thing? Don’t make the mistake of underestimating how instruction manuals, set-up, and best practices for file storage easily take up all the time you’ve set aside for this task. Unless you have intimate familiarity with the pieces of technology involved, you should estimate several hours or days are needed for this preliminary stage alone.

… and be realistic with yourself.
While I admire anyone who is up for the challenge of learning a new skill, I have met far more people who abandon their digitization projects altogether. That’s not what anyone sets out to do, but it happens often. Why? Ultimately, keeping up with the advancements in hardware and software really requires learning scanning and digitization as a whole new skill — one more akin to a hobby. The worst case scenario is to be overconfident about your enthusiasm level. Before getting started on any scanning project, my advice is to step back and get honest about how much interest you have. Will scanning be a learning project or a means to an end for you?

Second, clarify your desired result.
You’re undertaking your scanning because you have an outcome in mind. Perhaps you’re looking to have a backup of existing photos; or to print a larger version to decorate your home; simply wanting to see how your roll of film turned out; and the list goes on! In any case, before you begin scanning, it is essential that you get a clear sense of the purpose for your scans. This will massively influence what knd of

Third, ensure appropriate quality.

Overall, unless you have experience in scanning, most folks benefit from a little outsourcing help. If you’re interested in getting your photo albums and more into your computer but don’t have the capacity, I offer services. Your time is precious, and so are your memories. My client-informed services help you strike the perfect balance for you. Pricing is based on the amount of time, resources, and skill your project needs so please reach out to me for a quote or to know more about the process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.