Mistake One: The higher the resolution, the better the quality scan.
If there is one thing I want you to learn, it is this: when you see 4000 DPI it does not mean quality. DPI is just bits and bytes. DPI has nothing to do with quality. When you scan at 4000 DPI, all it does is pick up pixels. So if your slide is faded, or your photo has finger prints, or your negative is scratched, the scanner will pick up everything. That is the issue when you convert analog to digital. Digital will pick up everything. Even if you have one year old photos, the scanners will find something to ruin the scan. To make sure your scans look better than your originals, you need some sort of editing.
Mistake Two: “Digital Ice” is the answer in fixing scans
You might have seen “Digital Ice”, “DEE”, “ROC”, etc. as some sort of high technology that fixes all scans. And in my ten years in graphic design, I would LOVE to press one button that fixes color, exposure, dust, scratches. Digital Ice is mostly marketing. Even with my high end film scanners, Digital Ice cannot do what the human eye can. That is why I edit all my scans in Photoshop. How Digital Ice works is, say you have a cluster of white pixels. And those pixels are surrounded by black pixels. And the program will fill in the white pixels. But sometimes I would get images of people with no eye balls!
Mistake Three: Buying on price rather than value
There are many bulk scanning companies out there. And if you do not mind editing the images yourself, than there is no harm choosing these companies. Or, you can buy a scanner and do the job yourself. But if you want scans that look better than your originals, find a company who focuses on quality rather than competing on “low low” price.
Recommendation One: Get samples of your own scans before you commit!
A great scanning company will be glad to offer you sample scans for free. Even if they do not, it is better to lose $10 than $100. Send 30 slides or photos. If you like there quality and services, send the rest. And make sure they offer an unconditional 100% guarantee.
Recommendation Two: Ask questions!
1. Ask what their process is. Do they zip through your scans? Or do they take time and make sure all scans are done right.
2. Ask to get a quote. Some might advertise 20 cents per scan. But that advertised price might not include editing, or DVD disc, or handling your originals.
3. Ask to get a few samples done. Even if you have to pay for it, it is better to lose $10 than $100.
4. Ask about their policy on bad scans. Not all scans can be fixed. But a great company will be happy to not charge you for bad scans. Do not accept bad scans.
Thank you for reading my guide!
Konrad Michniewicz : http://www.ScanCanada.ca is a small team of graphic designers dedicated to slide, negative, photo scanning. Located in Toronto.