I’ve provided some information below to help clarify what’s included with your scans, and what options are available to make your scanning project a rewarding undertaking. Frankly, anything you might be curious about can be researched in greater detail on the internet. Of course you can contact me with questions you might have, check out Sites To See or Downloads for ideas, inspiration and useful info, or browse the FAQ.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to provide quality scans and maintain an exceptional price, some features and options described on this page, are not offered with the Shoebox Scanning service. A comparison of photo scanning features and options can be downloaded here.
Choose uncompressed TIFF for maximum quality
If the main purpose of digitizing your memories is to archive them at their best, I recommend TIFF files. All my scans start out as TIFFs, as they offer the full image data which serves as a true “master file”. TIFFs may be re-edited or re-saved as Jpegs, at a later date. Their downside is size, which is several times that of Jpeg files. This increases demand on computer storage space, and limits their practicality on the internet. As well, some online photofinishers or photo-book publishers, will not accept TIFF files.
Choose Jpeg (JPG) for good quality, versatility and reduced size
Jpegs, on the other hand, were designed for flexibility. Though image quality is not as high as TIFF, it is outstanding considering the compressed file size— and It’s the standard format for today’s point-and-shoot digital cameras. Jpegs are more easily emailed, stored on disks, computers and digital frames. They are fine for archiving and perfect for on-screen viewing, online photo ordering and book publishing. I always limit Jpeg compression, for better retention of image detail.
Scanning resolution for prints
For prints, your basic choices are 300 dots per inch (DPI) or 600 DPI. 300 DPI is ideal for on-screen viewing and if you wish to make prints the same size as your originals. For prints that are larger than your original photos, 600 DPI resolution is a must. As well, smaller photos rarely make high quality enlargements, so I recommend scanning prints smaller than 4” x 6” (i.e. 2” x 2”, 3” x 3”) at 600 DPI, to provide a good looking 4”x 6” print. Custom resolutions as high as 4,400 DPI are also available; ask for pricing.
Scanning resolution for slides and negatives
Like photo scanning, a higher DPI scan isn’t necessarily better – it creates a bigger file so that you can make bigger prints. And higher resolution scans are desirable if you’re planning to do photo editing at a later date. Most of the time, however, the lower resolution scanning option is more than adequate for archiving, on-screen viewing, and high quality prints of up to roughly 8” x 10”. I can also customize the negative and slide scanning resolutions to meet specific needs – just ask.
Important Scanning Services – included at no charge
Image Cleaning and Assessment: Before scanning, prints are generally wiped with an anti-static cloth and/or air dusted. Slides and negatives are air dusted, or if extremely dirty, wiped with archival negative cleaner. Once scanned, I examine each image on a calibrated monitor, looking for exposure problems, colour anomalies, excessive grain and signs of abrasion, stains, scratches, tears, fingerprints and other defects. Virtually all digitized images, can benefit from post scan enhancements to look their best.
Digital ICE Spot Removal: This proven technology is the only automated process I use during scanning to “clean” your images, as it removes defects without degrading image detail. The process emits infrared light during the scan, which passes through the film but not through any dirt specks. This creates a separate “picture” of only the specks, and software then "heals" the image in just those spots. Digital ICE keeps touch-up costs to a minimum, but it does NOT work with monochrome negatives and slides, and is only partially successful at removing larger specks. Fluid-Mount scanning is the recommended “dusting” solution for your B&W films.
Cropping and Rotation: In general white borders on photographs are cropped off, as they’re usually dirty or discoloured. Any images that were taken with the camera rotated 90 degrees to frame a shot, must be rotated so that they are viewed upright your screen. Border Cropping is an extra charge with Shoebox photo scans.
Exposure Correction: Most photo and slide collections have images that are either over or under-exposed. Slides in particular, require the most post-scan exposure adjustment to look their best. Note that in some cases even aggressive digital manipulation cannot overcome severe over/under-exposure or colour degradation.
Colour Correction: Improving colour balance, removing a colour cast from slides, or restoring faded colours...these adjustments are provided for your scans. However, when colours have drastically faded or shifted, individual skin tones and clothing colours may not be completely accurate.
Image Sharpening: I make every effort to ensure that your original image sharpness is transferred to the screen. When required for printing purposes, I sharpen as much as possible without introducing extra graininess or a “crunchy” overly-sharp appearance. Soft focus in your images, however, can never be completely fixed.
Free DVD plus Web Download : Your scanning job ends with the transfer of all finished scans onto DVD. The first DVD is free, and that includes multiple disks if the size of your job requires it. For added convenience, an archive of your scans will be available from a secure download area on the Past Perfect web site. Download your files directly to your computer, and If you like, share this download access with family and friends. For a period of 30 days, you may download your images as often as you like!
Processing Options – for pricing, refer to individual scanning pages
High Bit-Depth: The standard bit-depth for your scans is 8-bits/channel, providing 24-bit RGB images. Higher 16-bit/channel scanning is available, for 48-bit RGB files. In general, normal 8-bit images look more vibrant on your screen, and 16- bit images may render more lifelike prints. Web images are at most, 8-bit files. Also note that high bit-depth files take up twice the storage space as 8-bit, and are available only in TIFF format.
Multi-Scanning: This high-end scanning option takes multiple samples of an image during a single scanning pass, and “blends” the results into a single image. 4X sampling and 8X sampling are available. The difference between a normal single-sample scan and a 4x sample scan is appreciable – the difference between 4x and 8x, less so. The standard single-sample scan is adequate for most purposes.
Multiple file formats: You may order a total of three file formats at any time during your scanning job. For example, you may want TIFFs as your primary files with Jpeg versions for other purposes. Also useful, are Jpegs accurately sized for your digital picture frame or tablet. Each extra file format or size, adds 10% to your original scanning cost.
Restoration & Retouching Options – $60.00/hr ($1.00/min)
Image Restoration: My digital repair service aims to restore damaged images to their original appearance. In all cases, I must see the original print to quote on any repair work. Often, I’ll scan your image and email visuals of the areas that need work, along with the estimate. If you decide not to proceed, the unrepaired scan is yours to keep – no obligation. Please note that I don’t offer purely cosmetic retouching, as may be requested for recent digital portraits, etc.
Film Grain and Paper Texture Reduction: Highly recommended for almost all negative films, older slides and textured paper prints. Rather than risk “softening” an image during scanning with an automated process, I reduce grain and scanner noise after the scan, using Neat Image™. It’s simply “The best digital noise reduction software currently available”. Michael Reichman, Luminous Landscape.
Dust & Scratch Removal: Most film has dust specks and other fine debris buried in the emulsion, and many old photos are nicked in ways invisible to the naked eye. That’s why I recommend you allow some digital “clean-up time” for your B&W images. I’ll alert you to any image that requires extensive work, and will often scan the image to give you an accurate quote. In general, I do more clean-up than I charge for.
Red Eye Reduction: I’m fussy, so I actually correct ”red eye” one eye at a time. Using adjustable Photoshop tools, avoids the overly black eyes produced by less targeted processes.
Horizon Levelling: You’ll lose some photo real estate when re-cropping after levelling, but if you don’t want your subject leaning, let me know. I’ll square it up and leave you as much surrounding scenery as possible.
Custom Cropping: I can crop your images to highlight whatever is of interest. Whether you’d like your subject off-centre or right in the middle, the choice is yours. Maybe you’d like to trim away wasted space – your images can be cropped any way you can imagine. And of course, if you’re having your scans printed, I can crop and resize them accurately to whatever dimensions you require.
Prices subject to change without notice. $25.00 minimum order on all services.