Here’s a photo opportunity: Let ScanCafe save treasured images for tomorrow

If you’ve ever owned a camera you probably have piles of pictures, negatives or slides stashed in a closet. Some of these memories are tucked into photo albums, others in slide carousels and others in hastily marked envelopes.

Chances are good many of the older pictures are fading, wrinkled, torn, stained or otherwise deteriorating. You have every intention of going through that stack of memories, but for whatever reason, you don’t.

The time for procrastination to end is now, as the digital world meets the photo world once again at ScanCafe ( It works like this:

Step one: Gather your old photos, negatives and slides.

Step two: Package them up and mail them to ScanCafe and place your order online.

Step three: Give ScanCafe time to convert your images to digital files and post them online.

Step four: Select and pay only for the images you want to keep.

Step five: Receive your digital images on a disc to use as you like. All of your originals are also returned.

There are custom options, such as photo restoration for images that have major color shifts, water damage, cuts or tears. Prices for custom services range from $6.95 per image for basic fixes to $39.95 or more for complex repairs. Pricing for regular image scans starts at 24 cents for a single color negative scan; 27 cents for a paper photo scan and 29 cents for a 35-millimeter slide scan. Additional pricing can be found on the site.

The image resolution is 3,000 dots per inch for negatives and slides and 600 dpi for paper prints, up to 8 inches-by-10 inches. That’s plenty of resolution to allow for cropping or making large prints at your favorite digital photo processing location.

ScanCafe Chief Executive Officer Sam Allen posts items about the photo industry and his company regularly on the CEO Blog portion of the site. I encourage you to spend some time there to get a feeling for his business perspective and insights on his company.

A post from earlier this year tells why people should protect their photos digitally:

"A major reason people choose to have their analog images converted into digital files is fear of loss. We all know that the first thing we want to grab when running out of our burning or flooding home (besides our family and pets) is our photographs. Unfortunately, it is too hard to grab 15 albums, the framed photos off the walls, the stacks of slide carousels, negatives from the filing cabinet, etc., etc, so in such situations many irreplaceable and priceless family memories literally go up in smoke. This is exactly why I always say "just scan your images — whether you use ScanCafe or not."

Also visit the "community" portion of the site for examples of restoration work, historical and specialized photo galleries and testimonials from customers.

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