The best photo scanning services are affordable ways to help transfer your old photo albums into a digital format, making them much easier to save and share on your social media platforms.
By backing up your cherished photos, you can print off additional copies whenever you like and don’t have to worry about them getting lost or damaged.
Fast turnaround time and a great selection of services - ScanMyPhotos provides a simple way to get your old photos and film scanned.
Scanned photographs can also be run through image-enhancing software, so you can improve them through techniques that allow you to remove dirt and blemishes while enhancing colour, saturation, and overall vibrancy.
Read on to discover six of the best photo scanning services you can use to transfer your physical photos into digital format and help keep them safe and secure.
Table of Contents
What is the Best photo scanning service in 2023?
- Express ScanFast same-day scanning
- Broad selection of scanning services
- 16mm and 8mm movie film transfer to digital files, scanning each frame individually
- User interface is simple and intuitive
- Full 35mm KODAK slide carousel scanning (up to 140 slides)
- No audio sound for 8mm and 16mm movie film
- Doesn’t digitize photos in albums or scrapbooks
Another popular photo scanning service is ScanMyPhotos, which has a great reputation for efficient turnaround along with a wide selection of services and good final image quality.
While some scanning services are known to take up to a month to deliver your digital files, ScanMyPhotos can get your images scanned and returned in just over a week, so if you’re in need of the files with relative urgency this service is a solid choice.
You’ll need to make sure your photos are well organised before sending them in, as they won’t accept the order if they’re disorderly. Also, if you have media other than photos (e.g., movies and negatives) they won’t be able to help.
On the plus side, there’s a good selection of prepaid scanning boxes to choose from, including the “Family Generation Collection” which allows customers to send up to 10,000 photographs at once.
Prices and delivery options might be uneconomical if you only have a handful of photos to scan, but for those with extensive archives to convert, ScanMyPhotos has earned a reputation for being quick and with decent results.
- Read more: ScanMyPhotos review
- Great value prices
- Easy-to-use website
- Good savings on bulk orders
- Instant downloading
- Unable to customise value kit options
- Lacks the ability to group scans into folders
ScanCafe offers a comprehensive photo scanning service with highly competitive fees and is particularly handy for those looking to save money on bulk orders.
They offer a selection of “value kits” you can choose from to process a high volume of photographs, as well as other media such as slides and old videos, Super 8, and 16mm film.
The quality of the end product is great, with ScanCafe offering clean-up and processing services such as the removal of speckles, creases, and scratches from your old photographs.
In terms of resolution and detail, ScanCafe delivers scanned slides and negatives at 2000 DPI, with the scanned printed photos available at 600 DPI to ensure the very best quality both on digital media and with reprints.
Processing your photos through ScanCafe is relatively simple, with the company sending you the kit for you to fill with your media, which you then send back to ScanCafe for them to process and return.
The service gives you a DVD complete with digital versions of all your scanned photos and other media, as well as an online gallery that you can create, making it easier to share the end results with friends and family.
While their photo scanning service isn’t as fast as some of the alternatives available, ScanCafe’s great quality results and reasonable turnaround time makes them a solid choice for people after bulk photo scanning to create digital images.
- Excellent selection of services
- High-quality final scans
- Multiple formats supported
- The pricing structure can be confusing
With Digital Memories, scanning services are offered for a broad range of customers ranging from people looking to digitise old photo albums to those with an extensive collection of VHS tapes they wish to convert.
Beyond simply converting old media into digital formats, Digital Memories also offers a selection of clear-up and restoration services to enhance your old photos to ensure the best possible reproduction.
Customers simply send in their photos or other media to the company, which then scans, restores, and digitises everything using state-of-the-art scanning technology. The media is assessed by professional technicians for final quality control.
They are partnered with MiMedia for online backups, so you can access your photos from your computer or smart devices with ease, although there is an additional cost for using MiMedia’s backup services after the first 60 days of your Digital Memories purchase.
There is, however, an easy way to avoid these additional costs: simply transfer your digital files across to a free cloud service such as Google Drive, iCloud, or OneDrive as soon as Digital Memories send you the files.
While Digital Memories is more expensive than some other photo scanning services, the top-tier image quality coupled with excellent customer service and quick turnaround makes them well worth recommending.
- Read more: How to scan a document
- Intuitive, easy-to-use website
- Clear pricing
- Free rescans available
- Great digitisation options for video
- Customer service could be better
- Turnaround is very slow
ScanDigital is one of the most popular photo scanning services available today.
It includes a great guide that takes customers through each stage of the scanning process via its intuitive website. This includes explaining how the ordering and pricing work through to getting your photos scanned.
ScanDigital even includes the option to scan photos again if you’re not happy with how they turned out on the first pass.
As with other photo scanning services, ScanDigital also offers the option to transfer 8mm, Super 8, 16mm, or VHS tapes to DVD, as well as convert negatives and slides into digital images.
There are various quality options available with the better quality costing more per image, beginning with low-cost scans at 600 DPI and moving up to the higher-priced scans at 1200 DPI.
For slides, the low cost/quality option delivers a quality of 2000 DPI, with the highest quality option coming in a 4000 DPI, with additional savings available for customers who make bulk purchases.
While ScanDitigal has some issues reported by customers for their turnaround time and unresponsive customer service, their wide selection of formats and professional restorations make them a great photo scanning service for those who aren’t in a rush to digitise their family photos.
- Read more: How to store thousands of old family photos
- Easy-to-use service
- Great image quality
- Plenty of photo digitisation options
- Fast shipping
- Customer service could be more helpful
- Not the cheapest online scanning service
One of the largest photo scanning services in the United States, EverPresent offers customers an exceptional range of photo digitisation options along with extra services not available from many of their competitors.
The company can scan your photos, slides, negatives, old film, and other obscure formats, enhancing the scans to deliver outstanding image quality, especially when you choose the more expensive options.
While they are slightly more expensive than average, it’s worth considering the extra investment if you want the scans to do full justice to your old photos and deliver the best image quality possible.
Your original photographs and other media will be returned to your home via courier shipping, with the digital files stored on either a USB or DVD, as well as being hosted on a private website for 90 days free of charge.
Physical copies are shipped quickly, so you won’t have to worry about waiting a month or longer, as can sometimes be the case with other photo scanning services.
EverPresent also offers some bespoke presentation services in addition to creating digitized images, with the option to display your own photos in photo books along with services to organise your digital photos into folders.
While customer support can sometimes lack clarity as to the process and turnaround time, the overall quality and comprehensive range of services from EverPresent is higher than average.
Read more: How to Convert Negatives to Digital Photos
- Reasonable scanning prices
- Great resolution options available
- Offers real-time order status updates
- Quick turnaround times
- Order form can be confusing
- No prior notice of shipping charges
DigMyPics is another popular scanning service with a fast turnaround for people who want to get their digital files without having to wait for weeks, with the option to follow your order’s status and viewing notes from technicians in real-time.
In addition to photographs, DigMyPics offers conversion services for film negatives and old videotapes. So, if you have home movies and old VHS recordings of your favourite television shows, they can get these back to you on DVD.
Digital copies of images and videos are of high quality, with slide- and negative-scanning options of 2500 DPI, 3200 DPI, and 4000 DPI, while prices drop if you increase the size of your order.
Getting your original material back safely requires additional fees, and when you order a pre-paid media transfer box you’ll need to pay a fee for either return or disposal, which is something to bear in mind before you place an order.
With additional restoration services available for old photos that have become degraded over time, the comprehensive range of services from DigMyPics along with reasonable prices makes them a competitive option for photo scanning services.
- Read more: How to convert 8mm film to digital
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best format to scan old photos?
The format you choose to scan your old photos will depend on what you intend to use them for, with JPEG the most common for compressed images for use online. If you need higher-quality files you can save your scanned photographs in TIFF format, although these can’t be displayed online and will take up more space than JPEG images. When scanning photo prints you should aim for a minimum of 300 DPI (dots per inch), while scanning at 600 DPI will help to ensure your file captures as much of the original detail from the photo as possible.
What is the fastest way to scan old photos?
Different scanners are able to scan images at different speeds, so before investing in a scanner you should check the manufacturer’s specifications to see if they provide this information. If you’re looking to scan bulk photographs, you should invest in a scanner with a top load feeder so you can stack your photos and process them quickly in batches. Some smartphones are capable of photo scanning as well, so if you’re after a more budget-friendly method to scan photographs, this is worth researching.
How much does it cost to get photos scanned?
The cost of getting photographs scanned varies based upon a range of factors, including the total number of scans required, as well as the format, size, and resolution requirements. These costs can range from a few cents to up to $10 for a single image, with the cost per scan typically coming down in price the greater the number of scans you purchase.
Is it better to scan or photograph old photos?
While many people use their smartphones to photograph their old photos due to convenience, scanning photographs delivers much better results in terms of picture quality. Scanning is faster and simpler than copying photos with a camera, with scanners that include a top load feeder allowing for batch processing of images. Photographing old photos can be advantageous when the original photograph has a surface texture that requires offset lighting in order to overcome potential glare and other anomalies.
The best photo scanning companies offer a great selection of services to help people restore their old photographs and convert them into digital formats.
Offering a selection of image quality options, these services also allow customers to convert negatives, slides, and old video formats to digital files to share on social media or print out on a home photo printer.
If you’ve had any experiences with the services we’ve listed here, or can suggest any alternatives we’ve missed, let us know about them in the comments.