Photo & Video Conversion FAQ | Smooth Photo Scanning Service

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Why choose Smooth Photo Scanning Services?

Pioneers of the digital imaging industry, Smooth Photo Scanning has been providing high quality, high volume scanning and conversion services to individuals, commercial and government clients for over 25 years. Our vast experience, high-end equipment, proven processes, strict security and commitment to excellence offers value that will last a lifetime and beyond. We offer a multitude of services that will suit all of your digital conversion needs.

Our process is simple, get your collection to us and well take care of the rest! You can drop off or ship to our scanning facility in Lodi, NJ where all work is performed. Or for local, we’ll come to your home or office for a free pick up! Visit our Pickup & Delivery page for more details.

I am worried about shipping my photos, is the process safe?

Absolutely! We have a fully integrated process to ensure your media will be safe from start to finish of your project. Once you speak with a customer service rep and decide if shipping is the right option for you, we will generate a shipping label with UPS and send it to you. This will allow us to track your package throughout its travels. Once we have finished scanning or transferring your media in our New Jersey facility, we will send your media back to you via the shipping option you chose, tracking included. We have never had any negative issues with packages shipped via UPS.

What types of media can you digitize?

We provide digital conversion of loose photos of any size, photo albums, scrapbooks, any format slides and negatives, VHS/camcorder tapes of any format, broadcast tapes, 8mm/16mm roll film, reel-to-reel audio, audio cassettes, letters, posters and much more! On the commercial side we can scan documents, records, newspapers, magazines, engineering drawings, blueprints, microfiche, and aperture cards to name a few. Check out our service pages for more information.

Why convert my photos and videos to digital format?

Your memories are precious and so is the media that houses them. There are many benefits to converting your media to digital. First and foremost, scanning to digital format and having your images backed up online and on a DVD/CD or hard drive ensures that your memories are preserved forever. Not only does the quality of physical photos, slides and tapes fade over time, but in most cases there is only one copy. What would happen if they were lost, stolen, or damaged in a flood or fire? Those one of a kind, priceless family heirlooms would be gone forever.

Second, you can do more with your digital images than ever thought possible with printed photographs. Once scanned, you will easily be able to organize them, print them at various sizes, and send them to loves ones all over the world. This enables you to share your images and videos with your loved ones for generation to come. Don’t let your irreplaceable memories disappear.

Do I get my originals back?

Absolutely! We use only the best equipment to digitize your content to ensure all of your original material is preserved and that it is returned to you in the same condition we received it. If you don’t want your originals back we can disposed of them or we can store your originals for just $1 per box per month at our facility.

Where do you perform the work for your orders?

All orders are processed at our secure facility in Lodi, NJ. Unlike some of our competitors, we will never send your irreplaceable keepsakes to Asia for processing. All scanning and conversion of your one of a kind materials is performed at our secured facility in the USA to ensure your media doesn’t travel too far from home and is always safe and secure. As added precaution, our production facility has 24 hour video surveillance, requires a traceable key-card for entry and has motion detectors running at all times.

Do you have a minimum order amount?

Yes we require a $50 minimum for all orders.

Photo and Photo Album Scanning Services

 

What types of photos do you scan?

We can scan any type, color, format or size photo you may have! Please visit our Photo and Album Scanning page for more details.

My photos are in albums, will Smooth Photo Scanning accept these albums?

Of course! We accept photo albums with sleeved photos, as well as ones with permanently placed photos or that are scrapbooked. For sleeved photos, we will remove the photos from the album one by one, scan them, and put them back in their original place. Photo albums that are scrapbooked or that contain permanently placed photos will be scanned page by page to ensure the original album stays completely intact. In order to minimize the risk of damage, photos in albums that require adhesive or corner holders to put back in place will not be returned to the albums. Instead, they will be placed in envelopes labeled by the name of the album and in original order.

My albums have photos that are glued to the pages and won’t come off without damaging them, will Smooth Photo Scanning accept these albums?

Yes! We have specialized flatbed scanners as well as overhead planetary scanners that allow us to capture a high quality image while eliminating the need to remove the photos from their albums.

 

Once the photos are scanned do you do any additional work with the photos?

Included in the price of every order, we will manually rotate your photos to the proper orientation, crop to the edge of each image, and deskew to make sure the images are straight.

Can I email my digital photos to friends and family?

Absolutely! Your digital photos can easily be viewed on your computer and sent to everyone you want to share them with!

Why not scan my pictures myself?

If you just have a handful of photos then sure go ahead! Scanning a few photos can be done relatively easily at home; however, converting large quantities of photographs can prove to be quite difficult and extremely monotonous without the proper equipment and experience. It can take several minutes to scan a single photo on a typical all in one printer/scanner/fax-machine and the image quality usually isn’t very good. Several scans at different settings may be required as well as knowledge of software such as Photoshop in order to get your images to look the way you want.

Our highly trained staff utilizes the best commercial scanning equipment and software to provide the highest quality digital images. We believe converting your photos to digital is something that should only be done once. Don’t spend countless, frustrating hours scanning your collection yourself. Leave it to us so you can spend your time making more memories!

Slide Scanning Services

 

What types of slides do you scan?

We can scan 35mm, 110, 120/220, 126, 127 and 3D-stereo slide formats. Please visit our Slide Scanning page for more details.

My slides are housed in carousels, magazines and protective slide pages, what should I send?

We happily accept carousels, magazines and protective slide pages. We will remove the slides from their packaging and returned them in the same order we receive them. Make sure the media is secured in the packaging you send it in to ensure no damage comes to it.

Negative Scanning Services

 

What types of negatives do you scan?

We can scan 35mm, 110, 126, APS Film, medium and large format negatives. Please visit our Negative Scanning page for more details.

Videotape Transfer Services

What types of video tapes do you transfer?

We can transfer VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, Digital8, 8mm, Video8, MiniDV, and Betamax consumer formats. We can also transfer professional broadcast formats including Betacam SP, Betacam SX, Digital Betacam, DVC-PRO, DVCAM, and U-Matic. Please visit our Video Tape Transfer page for more details.

Technical

What is DPI? What resolution do I need?

The resolution of digital images is measured by Dots Per Inch (DPI) and refers to the amount of information or detail a digital file holds. The higher the resolution an image is scanned at, the sharper the image will look and higher the quality will be. Photographs are scanned at a minimum of 300 DPI and maximum of 1200 DPI, while most slides/negatives are scanned at a minimum of 2000 DPI and maximum of 4000 DPI. What you plan to do with the images once they are scanned will determine which resolution is best for you. The higher the resolution, the more capabilities you will have as far as editing and printing.

I have negatives and photo prints. Which is best for scanning?

If you have both the original negative of a photo and the printed photo we recommend sending in the negative. The negative of a photo generally produces a higher quality digitized image than the paper photo does. However, if there is any damage to the negatives, a paper photo will be fine!

Should I use CDs or DVDs for storing my digital images? How many pictures fit on a DVD or CD?

DVDs are the preferred storage method as they hold about seven times more images than a CD. If you don’t have access to a DVD drive on your computer, CDs are perfectly fine. We also offer flash drives and external hard drives as methods of storage for larger orders. Flash drives are extremely durable, hold a large amount of photos and are very good for carrying around as they are very compact. External hard drives hold extremely large amounts of data and may be required for those planning to have a large quantity of videos transferred to digital files.

How will my images be stored and organized?

Your photos will be stored as uncompressed jpeg files on either a disc, flash drive or external hard drive. We can make the folder structure of your files any way you’d like, typically by the label on each album or group of photos you provide. Once in digital format you will be able to further group or arrange your photos according to date, event, etc.

What is Digital ICE?

Digital ICE is a technology allowing scanners to identify and remove dust and minor scratches. Digital ICE scans the film with Infra-red (IR) light. The machine then finds surface defects in the film and scans the film normally. Once scans are completed, software uses an IR defect map to edit the defective areas. The results can drastically improve upon the original photo. Film slides and negatives are scanned on high end Nikon scanners that utilize this technology.

How big can I enlarge/reprint my photos?

Photos scanned at 300 DPI can be printed at the same size as the original without any loss of quality. Photos scanned at 600 DPI can be printed at twice the size of the original, and 1200 DPI at least 4 times that of the original.

Shipping, Pick-up & Drop-off

 

How should I package my media for shipping?

Make sure all items in your collection are secure and won’t move around during shipment. If the box isn’t full make sure to fill empty voids with paper to help secure each item. We also recommend wrapping loose photos in plastic to protect them against moisture during the shipment process. Make sure to avoid using packing materials like foam peanuts as they generate debris which delays the scanning process.

What is your shipping process? Where should I ship my photos?

When you place an order with Smooth Photo Scanning services, a UPS shipping label with our correct shipping address and a tracking code will be sent to you. If you are unable or don’t want to use UPS, we highly recommend that you use a traceable shipping option or bring you materials to one of our drop-off locations.

Can you pick up my collection?

Absolutely! We offer free pickup and delivery service in the NYC Tri-State Area for orders that meet our minimum. For more details visit our Pickup and Delivery page.

If I would prefer to drop off my materials, where are you located?

Pleaseclick hereto see our pick-up and drop-off options.

Pricing & Billing

 

How much does it cost? When will you bill me?

For specific details on pricing, please see our pricing page. When you place your order, we require a deposit of 50% of the estimated total cost. Once your project is complete, we will email you an invoice for the remaining balance. You will only be charged for the exact number of photos, slides, tapes, etc. digitized. If you have any questions feel free to call of email us!

How long does the process take?

The short answer is, it depends. The turnaround time of your digital conversion project depends on the quantities you have. Small orders can be processed and returned in as little as a day or two. Very large orders can take up to 6 weeks or longer. If you’d like a more accurate idea of the time it will take, feel free to call or email us.

What if I need my order processed quickly?

If you have a rush order that needs to be processed quickly, it shouldn’t be a problem. Just tell us the date you need your order by and we will do our best to accommodate your time constraints.