Archive for April, 2012

Instagram Vs. Photo Scanning: How the Social Media Generation Shares Photos

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

With its recent $1 billion purchase by Facebook at the ripe age of 17 months, Instagram has been all over the news. People who don’t understand what this smart phone application does still know its name, wrapped up in the mystique of being the hottest new super-valuable startup. But even more important than understanding what Instagram is, is understanding why people like it. What’s the difference between using photo scanning to share actually old photos, using the Facebook app to share photos, and using Instagram? This is as much a question about the nature of photography for the masses as it is about social media.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has said he envisioned the app, which was initially only available for Apple iOS devices but was recently rolled out for Andriods as well, as “an instant telegram of sorts.” The app itself has a few features that enable it to fill this role. First, it lets users apply filters and basic cropping to photos captured by the simple cameras on smart phones. Then, it allows them to share the photo across various social media platforms, including its own, Facebook, and Twitter. So the idea was to allow people to create a “visual telegram” and share it with their social network to communicate what they are experiencing using a photo. Understanding Instagram at this level, it only offers a very minor upgrade from most native phone applications; you don’t have to click as many buttons to share a photo on several networks because it does them all at once.

However, many, many fans of the app love it for something other than this simple, practical benefit. Most critics of the tool bemoan the kitschy, hipster-ish vintage feel that many of Instagram’s filters create. Not only do these skeptics not share a desire to make photos look like digitally scanned, faded old Polaroids, they think it’s cheap and tacky, and annoying when it clogs feeds on Facebook. But that ability to take something normal that a person sees walking down the street or experiences with friends and spice it up just a bit is very powerful for the average user. Professional photographers and people who see photo scanning as an important way to preserve and share shots captured on film are more likely to use digital SLR cameras and spend time thinking about their shots. But the average Instagram fanatic wants to be able to take a shot quickly, and still have it be interesting. Instagram facilitates that.

That extra layer seems to be the real draw of this simple app. First, it enables users to apply their own creative vision when using smart phones, which have very little flexibility in terms of camera settings. Second, most quick photos people take of what they’re doing to be able to share online are boring. People are aware that taking an interesting photo is difficult. Being able to apply a filter or other effect that increases the baseline interest of the photo with Instagram is very appealing.

Instagram isn’t about challenging photo scanning or changing how people do “real” photography. It’s a tool that enables people to take acceptably interesting shots with their phones and easily share them across multiple social networks. As the cliché goes, “a photo is worth a thousand words.” That gives you a lot more room to communicate than 140 characters or a small status message box.

Incredible Photos to Digitally Scan in the Worst Weather

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

While uncooperative mild weather can be slightly annoying or produce some interesting effects with a little preparation, extreme weather is an entirely different issue. If it’s raining hard, excessively windy, snowy, or otherwise storming and you want to get photos that other people will be begging you to digitally scan, you need more than just preparation. While having the tools and mindset necessary to take advantage of these conditions is important, you also need good judgment and some luck, especially when things get rougher.

The difference between these conditions and milder weather is that they can make photography unsafe, or at least just much more difficult. No matter how intense, the first thing you’ll notice with all of these conditions is that particles of rain, snow, or dust are moving in the air in front of the camera. With wind, it’s likely that the background itself will be moving too. You can prioritize shutter speed to capture the moving objects, at the cost of control over light and depth of field. Or you can work with the motion weather creates, framing shots so that blurry, moving objects like blown branches make it look better. Lastly, depending on the subject, you can attempt to change the depth of field and focus such that anything moving outside of what you want to capture is removed from the shot. At the same time, because these conditions often come with darkness, the fact that stuff is flying around in the air might make getting the right amount of light more difficult. You have to choose between the risks of a flash and the darkness brought on by shorter exposures.

The other thing you absolutely need is the right equipment. Specifically, things to protect and dry equipment and a tripod are essential for harsh weather photography. It might even make sense to bring a shovel to bury the tripod legs if the wind is especially strong. And sometimes  you need more than just a towel to keep the camera dry. Protective housing is an expensive but effective option. And regardless, a decent lens cover will help protect the lens no matter what’s coming down.

Snow and cold also present other problems for capturing photos worth the time to digitally scan. The first is that a camera that gets cold from being outside needs to be warmed up very slowly. Otherwise the cold camera will pull condensation out of the air in the warmer room, and this moisture can seriously damage it. But while you’re shooting, you also have to deal with the excess light that reflects off the snow and the ways cameras struggle to get the right colors. You have to set your white balance to be sure the whites don’t look blue, and manually force the aperture open a bit to prevent shots from looking dark and grey. The advantage is that these kinds of snow shots can look incredible when done correctly.

Just as with mild weather, getting shots that merit being digitally scanned in extreme weather requires planning and knowledge of the right techniques. However, it also requires more specific gear and a clear understanding of why shooting in that weather is at all worthwhile. But when done correctly, beautiful photographs can result – the kind you’ll print, digitally scan, and share with others with price.

All in all, I’m extremely pleased with the service, the quality and the way ScanDigital conducts business, and would definitely use again and recommend your services in the future!

Friday, April 20th, 2012

We follow up with every customer because we care. We truly want to hear about as many customer experiences as possible to assure we’re doing our job right. If there’s ever any issue, we address it immediately. Most of the time however, we hear from customers overjoyed to have their memories preserved and thankful the process was so easy. On behalf of the ScanDigital team, I’d like to say “Thank You” to our amazing customers. We’re truly flattered to know you are happy and honored to have been trusted with your family’s precious memories.

If you’d like to hear more from our customers, you are welcome to visit our Testimonial page. If you have any questions or would just like to chat, you can always find us here on Twitter and Facebook, by email at or by phone at 888.333.2808. Hope to hear from you soon!

“I was thrilled with the customer service at Scan Digital! I really appreciated the e-mail updates – made me feel like my photos were in great hands.” – Paula (British Columbia, Canada)

“The service, quality or product, communication, and turnaround time are great.  Also, your care with the packaging and maintaining the sets in their original order are exceptional.” – Ken (Montgomery Village, MD)

“I think the services you offer are wonderful, and I would definitely consider using them again.  The final product you sent me was high-quality and definitely worth the expense.” – Jessica (Newcastle, WA)

“I wanted to let you know that my ScanDigital experience was excellent.  The entire process was described in perfect detail on your website so I knew exactly what to expect as I started the process. When I did receive the final product, I could not have been any happier with the results.  Thanks again for an amazing experience and a great final product!” – James (Glendale, AZ)

“The quality of the work is wonderful, everything was processed as requested, and the follow up on the order has been above and beyond. I will definitely return as a customer because it’s too difficult to imagine entrusting my memories to another company that can even meet, let alone exceed, my experience with ScanDigital!” – Yvonne (Corralitos, CA)

“I have to say that I was impressed from start to finish with ScanDigital throughout my recent use of your services. The service was prompt and professional with excellent communication throughout keeping me informed of the progress and status of my order. I would most certainly recommend ScanDigital to anyone!” – Steve (Ontario, Canada)

“All in all, I’m extremely pleased with the service, the quality and the way ScanDigital conducts business, and would definitely use again and recommend your services in the future!” – Sonia (Ontario, Canada)

“I am a very satisfied customer who has spent LOTS of money on converting VHS tapes and 35mm negatives to discs.  You guys did a great job and I am very happy with the product, the customer service, and I know your prices are competitive.  I have already recommended your services to others.  I will most definitely continue to use ScanDigital.” – Catherine (Bastrop, TX)

“I was thrilled with my order! I was very hesitant to send off our old VHS tapes but was pleasantly surprised when they arrived back home with the new CD’s. The labeling was great!” – Lucille (Brick, NJ)

“You converted virtually everything I had, literally going back to 1979. The job you did was excellent considering the deteriorated condition of many of my tapes!  What could be salvaged you did salvage and you did it for an incredibly reasonable cost!” – Joel (Hoboken, NJ)

“I would absolutely use ScanDigital again and I have already mentioned the company many times to friends and customers [at] work. Thanks to ScanDigital, I have frittered away MANY hours watching my babies, loved ones that have passed away, and reliving events I long since forgot about!” – Lisa (Cincinnati, OH)

Create A Wedding Slideshow By Scanning Old Photos

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Important Details for Wedding Slide Shows Like Scanning Photographs

Make Your Wedding Slide Show Powerful by Scanning Photographs

Every wedding season, brides and bridesmaids turn their attention to the details that personalize a wedding and make it memorable. For many people, thanking the family and expressing love for relatives are important parts of a wedding and help this process of building up the right details. Slideshows, although they don’t use slides anymore, are a popular and effective way to share memories and remember family members who have passed. The process of collecting old photos to scan to digital, organizing them in a series with matching music and sometimes narration, and then sharing it with the guests at the wedding is both fun and potentially emotional.

There are two general types of slideshows that people have at weddings. The first type is like a presentation. It feels like an official wedding event, and one or more people narrate using the pictures to tell a story to the guests. The subject often relates to how the bride and groom met and sometimes weaves in other stories about family members. The other common slideshow is a more passive feature at the wedding. Instead of being a focused event, this type of slide show is usually just projected onto a wall or played on a monitor somewhere out of the way that people will easily see and be able to enjoy. This allows people to casually notice it as they get drinks, for example, and enjoy the photos without requiring the time and attention of anyone else at the wedding.

Regardless of how the slideshow will be presented, it’s important to go through the process of creating it carefully. Picking photos to scan to digital, deciding on music, and ordering the photos are just a few of the details that can be significant if the designer wants it to. There are a number of basic considerations that frame the process. First, the more people will be forced to watch the slideshow, the more important it is to keep it short. People don’t like to sit through too much of the same thing. And even if it’ll be playing on a side table, the longer the loop the more difficult it will be for people to bring friends over to show them favorite parts. Anything over 15 minutes will be too long. The other major consideration is the quality of photos. Most people have a vast collection of digital photographs as well as the boxes of old photos from relatives. The scans and photos needs to be high quality so they will not look degraded when projected on a large screen.

After the practicalities, it’s important to deal with the aesthetics. The most impressive slideshows have a logical progression. Most go from older to more recent photos. To maintain peoples’ attention, slideshows need to be engaging and dynamic. That impacts the photos that should be selected, the importance of using active transitions instead of just dissolves between photos, and makes including a short video clip or two very effective. Even the simplest of slideshow software enables all these things and the addition of music. But to be sure everything looks good, it’s important to watch the “final draft” with a very critical eye and perhaps get the input of a friend or relative who will be honest about simple ways to improve it before the wedding.

Slideshows can be incredibly moving at many weddings. And from digging through old photos to scan to digital to putting the whole thing together and enjoying everyone’s reactions, it’s a very fun process when you pay attention to the important details.

I would use your services again because you exceeded my expectations and I received friendly, expert responses to my questions. Your people treated me as an important customer!

Friday, April 13th, 2012

We love hearing from our customers. That’s why we reach out to everyone after the completion of their order- it’s important to assure we’re doing our job right. If there’s ever any issue, we address it immediately. Most of the time however, we receive rave reports. On behalf of the ScanDigital team, I’d like to say “Thank You” to our amazing customers. We’re truly flattered to know you are happy and honored to have been trusted with your family’s precious memories. Please find a sampling of the testimonials below that we have received from the remainder of this month.

If you’d like to hear more from our customers, you are welcome to visit our Testimonial page. As always, we’re always here on Twitter and Facebook, by email at or by phone at 888.333.2808 if you have any questions or just want to chat!

“The services you offer are great and useful.  I was happy to know I could put my video into a more useable format. [Also], excellent customer service: quick to respond to emails [and] questions answered thoroughly!” – Amy (Madison, WI)

“I was informed of where my pictures were every step of the way and the result was spectacular! I plan to recommend your company to anyone and everyone!” – Amy (Sacramento, CA)

“Everything was fine. You have nice people answering the phone and responding to questions. They seem human!” – Ruthie (Columbia, MI)

“Your service was clearly explained, your turnaround was faster than promised, the quality of the scans was at least as high as, if not higher, than those I do myself, and you’re located in the U.S!” – Victoria (Bloomfield Hills, MI)

“I was happy with my purchases. I was hesitant to mail my items so far but was happy to be able to confirm when it was received and the progress of the order. My questions were answered promptly and clearly as well. The good customer service was a big part of the transaction for me!” – Nancy (Ontario, Canada)

“The promptness, awesome service, positive attitude, and the ease of your website made our experience incredible!” – Sharisse (Bellevue, WA)

“I couldn’t be happier with your service from start to finish!  I loved the communication from receiving my negatives to a question about my order to letting me know when it was shipped to me and when to expect its arrival.” – Pat (Costa Mesa, CA)

“I will recommend you simply because you did a great job keeping me updated on my order!  I so appreciated the fact that you would respond to email and you weren’t just a “push #3 for customer service” kind of business.  Your service and customer service is a great value.” – Dayna (The Woodlands, TX)

“We were very happy with the quality and professionalism of your company. It was scary sending our photos through the mail to another state [but] the immediate and frequent ongoing communication put us instantly at ease. The quality of our slides and pictures are amazing. We would definitely recommend ScanDigital to others!” – Terri (Albuquerque, NM)

“I would use your services again because you exceeded my expectations and I received friendly, expert responses to my questions. Your people treated me as an important customer!” – Ed (Ontario, Canada)

“I’ve used your services twice; both times, [I’ve been] very happy. Good customer service!” – Karen (Knoxville, TN)

“I was skeptical that this was actually going to work considering it was being sent back & forth to the US, but I had absolutely no problems & am very happy with the results. I think ScanDigital is a wonderful service and it was very straightforward & timely to accomplish it all!” – Yvonne (British Columbia, Canada)

“I had a great experience with Scan Digital!  I liked that I was informed thru every step, I got my stuff back fairly quickly, the disk I got back was organized, and… everything I got back was labeled exactly as I sent it!” – Renee (Santa Ana, CA)