Converting your analog images to digital is a time-consuming process. From first-hand experience, I can tell you how much time and energy it takes. Over the past decade, I have migrated all of my best images from analog to digital, and that process has been completed. It was completed at a huge economic cost in terms of real dollars spent paying in-house people to do it, as well as the economic cost of not having them scanned earlier.
I can't imagine how I would have felt if my images had been damaged in a flood or fire, and not scanned. Several psychology resources we looked at in thinking about the importance of analog conversions for the non-pro photographer, turned up top-of-mind items to take when being evacuated from an unsafe area, items like wedding or family photo albums. On news broadcasts where families are combing through their destroyed homes, time and time again, we see them finding a family photo, or photo album, and being so grateful that it survived.
For the family happy-snapper, and the seasoned professional, the film archives need conversion, and ScanCafe is at the forefront of providing the best service in preserving your memories, or your pro archives.
I remember a business like Nancy Scans, about a decade ago, would charge $40+ for scans, and that was a deal. I compared the costs of staffing an in-house position against outsourcing it just a few years ago, and for medium format, outsourcing was the best solution, and in-house, I thought, was the best for 35mm, but I can report that that determination is questionable now that I look back at the end costs.
One of the things that the out-source service I was using, JaincoTech, was doing, was keywording and caption transfer from slide mount to metadata. ScanCafe does not do that, at least not on their website of pro scanning options. But here's the huge difference - I was paying $5 (and up) per scan there, and ScanCafe is doing scans at $0.24, which includes color correction, scratch/dust removal, and even minor damage to the image. Money Magazine said they were the “Best quality and cheapest…The best scanning service.” (article here). Don't have a negative? At $0.27 per print, they'll scan those too. How did I learn about this, and become more comfortable with them? My friend and colleague David Hume Kennerly is on their advisory board, and turned me on to them.
So, imagine you're a wedding photographer right now with 20 rolls of 35mm film from a wedding and you want them scanned for your archives or website. Assuming an average of 35 images per roll, for $168 you can have all of them scanned. Now, here's a great option for revenue generation. Why not contact ALL your past brides, and offer to deliver to them all the images you shot on CD from the film you never turned over, for, say, $300? Not only will you turn a tidy profit, but that gives you the entree to offer family portrait or children's/pets portraits to them during your conversation. Since the bride has likely ordered every print she'd ever hang around the house or give as a gift, there's little extra revenue from that film now.
Whether it's photo scanning, slide scanning, or negative scanning, ScanCafe looks to be a great solution. Further, for those extremely challenging black & white scanning issues, they can handle that too. I will be meeting with their CEO, Sam Allen, this week to ask him more about his service, so if you have questions, or they don't have a service you want, e-mail me or post in the comments below what you'd like to know, and I will put those questions to him.
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