Guide to Scanning Old Photos

March 4, 2021

Scanning Service Vs. Scanner Rental: Which option is best for me?

We know there are lots of things to consider when it comes to digitising photos from the past, so we’ve put together this article to help.

The most popular routes to digitising ones photos are:

  • Using a scanning service, where one posts their photos away for scanning somewhere usually in the UK. These services generally deliver your digital photos online then return the physical photos afterwards, they generally charge between 10p and 55p per photo depending on the volume of photos you have to scan.
  • Purchasing a scanner and doing it yourself, whilst flatbed scanners are affordable, (starting at £55) they are extremely time-consuming to scan high volumes of photos with, as each photo needs scanning and often cropping individually. Auto-feed scanners are another type of scanner, they can be loaded with a stack of photos at once and as the name suggests automatically feed in the photos whilst cropping them at the same time, please see the video below on this page. Whilst automatic scanners provide outstanding quality and convenience, they unfortunately cost upwards of £500 to buy outright.
  • Renting a professional auto-feed scanner, a relatively new option where you can scan all your photos at home whilst often saving a substantial amount of money over the above two options. One pays a fixed fee to hire the scanner and can scan all the photos they like in a set rental period, usually 3 days. 
The two main types of photo scanner

Beyond making a cost-saving, why would one either purchase a scanner or rent an auto-feed scanner?

Some of our customers are naturally a little nervous about sending their irreplaceable photos away in the post, whilst extremely unlikely it’s not impossible for parcels to get lost. Other customers sometimes have concerns about the privacy of their photos and would rather scan them at home.

How do the costs compare?

On average those who rent an auto-feed scanner from us scan 3500 photos. We obtained quotes from 5 photo scanning service providers in February 2021, the average advertised cost per scan when scanning 3500 photos was 9.4 pence per photo, creating a total scan cost of £329. Contrasting this to a 3 day rental with included national delivery and return for under £100, for those with lots of photos Envio Rentals provides an alternative that is worth considering. Don't take our word for it, have a read of what our customers say about the quality and ease of using one of our scanners.

One of our Epson Fastfoto Rental Scanners

Will scanning photos myself be very time-consuming? 

Surprisingly we find customers spend more time organising and removing photos from albums than passing them through one of our auto-feed scanners. So regardless of what option you choose, this sorting and organising phase of your digitisation project is unavoidable.

Where is the best place to backup my photos once they are digitalised? 

We always recommend you backup your scanned photos in two locations. Using a pair of USB memory sticks is popular, unlike a hard drive they have no moving parts so tent to be very reliable. You can purchase a 64 GB memory stick on amazon for £9 these days, so we'd recommend getting a pair. The other backup option is to use an online service like Dropbox, Google Drive or Snapfish.

We hope you found this article useful, just get in touch if you have any questions on scanning or scanner rental. You can view details on our Epson auto-feed scanner rental here.