Photo Scanning Service

Our archival photo scanning service includes:

  • high resolution capture (600 PPI for prints and 4000 PPI for slides and negatives),
  • cropping,
  • rotation, and
  • color correction.

We scan everything with the same camera scanning technique that you’ll find in museums and archives around the world, which uses the latest digital imaging technology and is safe and gentle for your old photos. We’ve been scanning for 30 years and our obsession with detail shows in every project.

Our clients frequently tell us we offer the best scans they’ve ever seen. Imagine how good your photos will look with an archival scan.

Prints vs Negatives

If you have a print and negative of the same photo, we prefer to scan the negative for optimal results. If you only have a print then that’s what we’ll scan, but we prefer to scan the negative if it’s available because we can get a scan that’s higher resolution, better color, and overall higher quality.

Mobile App vs Archival Photo Scanning Service

There are new mobile apps for your smart phone that claim to convert your prints, slides, and negatives to brilliant digital files in seconds. We gave them a try with the latest iPhone Pro with the best camera, but even with 30 years of professional scanning experience the results were really disappointing.

Silvered Prints

One of the most common ways black and white photo prints decay is when the silver particles in the print turn into a metallic mirrored effect on the surface of the photo. This “silvering” makes it impossible to see the full detail of the photo and cannot be reversed. The best way to preserve the original image quality is with our archival camera scanning process that uses cross-polarized light.

Some people ask if we scan specific photos formats. The short answer is that if you can see it we can scan it! If you want details, here’s the full list of photo formats we scan.

What photo formats do you scan?

We scan prints, slides, negatives, albums, scrapbooks, and more. We scan any photo format and specialize in unusual items. Here’s the full list of photo formats we scan.

What resolution do you use to scan photos?

We scan photo prints at 600 PPI and slides and negatives at 4,000 PPI. This aligns with industry best practices, technical limits of photography, and US Federal guidelines for cultural heritage preservation of photo materials.

I heard higher resolution is always better, so why not scan photos prints at 1200PPI or even 4000PPI like slides and negatives?

Higher resolution is better, only up to a point. But after a certain resolution you’re just making bigger files and not getting any more useful details.

Do you offer different resolutions at different prices?

Our approach to scanning photos is to do it right and do it once. Therefore, we don’t offer low-resolution scans for a lower price. We only deliver amazing, high-resolution photo scans.

Do your photo scans look as good as the original photo?

Yes, our scans look just as good as the original photo, and with a little color correction maybe even better.

Can I print new photos from a scanned photos?

Yes, because the quality of our archival scans is so excellent you can make beautiful new prints. At Chaos to Memories we also offer mounted prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, and canvas gallery wraps.

Can I make enlargements from a scanned photo?

Yes, because we scan photos at such high resolution we can enlarge your photo to at least 2x the original size, and possibly 3x.

What file format do you deliver?

We deliver high-quality JPEG files for all scanned photos. If you’d prefer a different file format such as TIFF or DNG just let us know. We can deliver other file formats at no extra cost, but your storage needs might increase 10x.

How do you deliver the digital files?

We deliver smaller projects on a USB thumb drive and larger projects on an external USB hard drive. We can also provide multiple drives if you need more for gifts or backups.

Are there extra costs or upgrades?

Other than the price of a USB thumb drive or external USB hard drive to deliver your files, there are no extra costs or upgrades. Unlike other scanning vendors, we don’t charge extra for high-resolution scans, cropping, rotation, etc. We just offer amazing photo scans for a fair price.

Can you scan damaged photos?

If you have damaged photos (tears, creases, cracks, stains, etc.) we can still scan it. We also offer optional photo restoration if it’s an important memory and you want to return it to its original condition.

I have an unusual format or don't even know what it is. Can you still scan my photo?

We haven’t seen any photo formats we couldn’t scan. See our full list of supported formats or just bring it into the studio or contact us for a free assessment.

If you’re near Chicago and ready to get started, come visit our Wheaton Studio Monday – Friday, 10-5. Please bring your memories with you.

Contact us for more information, shipping instructions, and to get started on your project.