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Archive Business Idea

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  • Archive Business Idea

    I have recently started archiving a collection of old photos and negatives for my family, and have thus realized that this is a need that lots of people may have. Where restoration is motivated by people that want a photo fixed, archiving is for those that want their collection of photos to be saved and distributed to the interested family members. They want the people in the photographs to be recogizable, not restored.

    Here are the steps;
    -Scan and optimize the image (make it easy to see, not repaired)
    -Number each image - whatever numbering system or naming system you want.
    -Print contact sheets and burn CD's to be put in a binder for each family member.
    -Include family notes on each image referencing the name or number of the image

    Almost everyone has someone in the family who has a ton of old photos - with a volumn of images and a pruduction line system it could be reasonably priced and a very good money maker.

    Of course the above could be done in many different formats. That is the reson for this post. If others agree that this is a good business idea, then please help me brainstorm ways to package it.

    A few ideas of mine:
    -Image database, such as ThumbsPlus, description would print next to the image
    -A graphics layout program such as publisher
    -seperate image contact sheets and print out of notes cross-referenced
    -Presentation software like FlipAlbum

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks, Roger

  • #2
    Roger, you may be on to something here. I just did this for my sister's in-laws a couple of weeks ago. I didn't charge anything - and I didn't put them on CD. (Not for them at least. I've got everything archived for myself on CD.) I put them all up on Ofoto so they could order prints.

    I did take the time to do a simple levels adjustment on each photo as well as clean the "easy" scratches and sharpen. It took an entire day to do about 30 photos like that. So, you might want to try this on some of your own family photos to find out how quickly you can do it to make it worth your time.

    Also think about whether you want to offer CD's with photo dimensions for printing. (I'm not positive, but don't Kodak Photo CDs offer photos in different resolutions?) You might want to think about if this is a CD-only type of thing (like your digital album idea) or if you want to provide resolutions suitable for printing. Providing resolutions for printing though will take more work, since you'd have to provide directories for 4x6, 5x7 and/or 8x10. You'd be surprised how many people have no idea how to print a photo. (So perhaps just providing the digital version on CD is sufficient.)


    P.S. I forgot to mention that my sister's mother-in-law sent me an e-mail saying, "You've made my family very happy!!" So, I would say there is definitely a market for this!
    Last edited by jeaniesa; 11-20-2002, 09:12 AM.


    • #3
      Maybe a way of producing this would be to make a template orientated web site that you can then put there family shots into. This would aid the possible problems with image compatibility from program to program. Neally everyone has access to a web browser on there pc - and it would also mean if they want to show other members of there family it becomes more accessable for them as well.

      With a web site you can also place links to your own web site within the disk and every page could include contact details for your business.

      Definately a good idea for the future - I like the concept of this idea.



      • #4
        Thanks for the response!

        I deffinently would incude a high res jpeg or tiff on a master cd, the image number the same as the low res version that they are looking at. It does not bother me that they may not be able to print it themselves - they have a high quality version of the image that they can have a lab print. This is a family archive service.

        Love the ideas of doing it in html format, html table with images on the left and descriptions on the right, burn to cd and voila!
        It can be viewed and/or printed by us or them.

        I hope this thread stay alive because I think this idea is hot - it compliments the restoration service and fills a need. and keeps a relationship going with the customer so that when they consider a restoration they will think of us first.



        • #5
          I should add that when I did this for my sister's in-laws, I specifically did NOT restore any photos other than a quick levels adjustment. The deal was that if they wanted any images restored, they would then ask me for that (and pay me.)

          So, I think that might be a good way to get "repeat" business.



          • #6
            I've run into problems with friends' having older computers and older CD-ROMs which don't run the CD slideshow I created for them very well (sometimes doesn't autostart, sometimes does). I'm sure that I can figure a solution, but with the computer newbies that I deal with, any glitch is a BIG problem.

            This makes the website based photo album look even better, especially when I think about their relatives/friends all around the country that would have easier access to the photos that way (although I know an AWFUL lot of people without internet access!)

            Clare -- were you thinking along the lines that Jeanie did by using a site like Ofoto/PBase etc., or were you thinking of setting up a separate website as part of the business?


            • #7
              I recently made CDs for very close family members of family photos that had been restored (for my own use) .

              If working for others, I think a website would be an excellent idea. For those who don't have internet access, a CD could be ordered. I think there's definitely a call for this service. But you have to figure out how much to charge per scan with minimal adjustments. Any ideas on something like that? It seems as though you'll have to make your profit on the scanning because many people will print their own, even if they are low resolution files without fixes. Anything extra is icing on the cake.



              • #8
                I envision a binder with a print out of small low res images accompanied by the image name/number and a discription supplied by the family. Html table format is perfect because it could also be on a CD. But even if a person did not have a computer, they would have the binder with the CD's and the knowledge that they could take the appropriate CD to a lab to have a print made. Creating mutiple binders would be an added service. For those that are computer savy they can make their own copies.

                I think the key to this is the concept of "optimization" - who would want thier photos not to be optimized? I also think it would be important to show optimized and un-optimized images examples. Color, contrast, hue and saturation adjusted until the photo are "easy to look at" without repair of any damage. The idea of optimization takes the process and moves it out of the amatuer arena, it supplies the reason to use a professional.

                Pricing: At this point I am guessing that I would not want to go below $5 each for scanning and optimization at any quantity. Can you say "speed optimization"? One could charge $200 for the service plus $10 per image, 50 photos or more $7.50 each, 100 photos or more at $5 each. or something like that. The first binder would be included, additional binders might be $40 each. I would expect the family to get together and share the cost, or the grandparents to typicaly be the ones to pay for it, either way the service will feel to the customer like a good deal, and although it will be work it should be pretty good money. Any opinions on pricing?, I am allowing for a maximum average of 5 minutes per image - please throw in any other thoughts...

                This same web site that is on the CD could be hosted on-line for an additional charge per month - but that is a temporary solution since the hosting can't last for ever - so I think most people will probably opt for a copy of the CD's.

                I think the "buy in" ($200 or whatever) is important. It communicates that you are serious about doing a good job for them, and that there is a commitment required when providing the service. They can't just say "cool, let's try these three photos"... This is not a way to get cheap scans, but a way to archive the families photo history.



                • #9
                  If I were doing this I would make a template based site. This is where you create a web site and each page has a template that can be used for every image. You wouldn't need more than 3 or 4 templates - One for thumbnails - One for larger images - An introduction page that contains the family name - and of couse one with service information about your company and links to your web site. The Html side of things would be kept as simple as possible to help the family navigate throught the images.

                  I think it is important to stress to any portential customers that this is not a cheap way to get things scanned as roger points out. They would need to know that this is a product.

                  I would consider creating 2 cd's in the package. Both with the same information on. Give them both to the customer and instuct them to keep one with them and place the other in safe storage.

                  I am unsure about printing images out, within this package. You would be a producing an archive of the images not a coping service. They can go to Boots and get there images copied if that is what they are after! This is more than a copying service.

                  I can't help with any input on pricing as I am unsure of the exchange rate from $ to £. Not doing prints would considerably reduce the out going costs - then you are really only charging for time and cd's.

                  Another positive point about producing the work in a Html format would be the family could then put the site up on the web. This isn't something I would host for people as there are all sorts of problems that could arise from hosting others web sites. Most ISP's give 50mb web space free with an email account and the client could use this space to host there family site. That way if there are hosting problems thay are not suddenly your problem - and can be sorted out by the clients isp.

                  Last edited by clare; 11-21-2002, 06:14 AM.


                  • #10
                    I agree with all of your ideas clare, excellent.

                    About pricing, my previous brain storm of 50 images for $10 each or 100 images for $5 each was an obvious error in pricing . . I have had a day to think about it and have come up with some tentative opinions:

                    Let's look at what we would want the total to come to if we did 100 photos. I estimate 9 hours to scan and optimize, plus 3 to 5 additional hours for the html and entering descriptions and organizing. Given the responsibility, the time spent working with the family to get them organized for starting, the un-expected, money for the business and a persoanl paycheck, and the volumn of photos and details that would take over my work area I estimate that the total should be about $1,000.

                    Keeping the idea of a $200 charge for the service plus a cost per photo that would make each photo $8 each for the 100 quantity. Lower quantities would be a little higher, 25+ at $12 each and 50+ at $10 each. I think 25 would be the minimum charge even if there were fewer than 25 (12x25 plus $200 = $500).

                    Production logistics ideas:

                    Let the customer name the photos, use post-its and large envelopes to organize, headings for the section would be written on the large envelopes that contain the appropriate group of photos. Also have the customer number the envelopes in the sequence that the would like them to be on the CD.

                    Descriptions for the photos would be written or typed and inserted in the envelope with the photos.

                    Give a $50 discount for providing the descriptions in electronic format so that they can be copied and pasted or imported.



                    • #11
                      This idea is becoming a lot more refined. Again I am not that good on the pricing although I have found a interesting conversion site if any one is interested.


                      One other quick thing to consider - if you have not already done so. Is to do a quick typing course on your computer. Something like Mavis Beacon's teaches typing. I got that one free on the front of a magazine! This could cut in two the time that it takes you to input any of the data that the families would like added to there finished site. And could make a considerable difference to getting the finished article back with the family early or late.

                      If you have a seperate computer - you could be typing the data in while your scanner is doing the scans, etc. ( This will not improve your spelling - I know mine is dreadful!!

                      Make sure you spell check everything, and it might be worth your while to insist that when people write any names they want included, that they write them in Capital letters. This will insure the family doesn't hold back completion by finding out how uncle john has spelt the name of his auntie!

                      You could also save on envelops by giving them a multi pocketed file to put all there images in. You can get them with 25 pockets - which would be a quick way for you to find out how many images they have given you ( How many complete folios are there?)
                      This would also insure that the family give you information about each of the photographs. They can also use this for grouping there photos. If you numbered the tags on the top of each pocket in the file - they could produce a list of grouped photos.

                      If they produce the text in a typed format ask them to number the images on a seperate piece of paper and put it in with the image and name the files with corresponding numbers on the disk they give you.

                      Hope this is helpful - more ideas turned up while I was typing so I hope it is ledgeable



                      • #12
                        These are all excellent ideas. This is a service I've been pushing for the past couple of months due to the hurricane season; I of course, then change tactics and push it to protect holiday season memories/share them with relatives (okay, I'm an opportunist, sorry)

                        Nothing makes great business like natural disasters.

                        The question I have is when I archive photos for people, I generally do it at a res of 600. is this overkill, what would be the BEST/effecient resolution for a CD? I know this has been discussed several times, but I think alot of the newer members would like additional information on this part.


                        Written on blackboard at work:

                        "Happy thanksgiving, turkey's!"


                        • #13
                          I have also been wondering what is appropriate.

                          What image size at 600 dpi?

                          The understanding I have is that the dpi / image size does not really matter, it is the combination of the two that determins the file size, which reflects the amount of image information. In the graphics industry they call hi-res 300dpi, at the size the image will be used, at about 8x10 it gives you an un-compressed fle of about 20 megabytes. I have tended to do everything that is hi-res at 30 megabytes, just to be safe in case it was to go larger.

                          Any other standards in this industry we can use as a guide line.

                          Also, should everything be saved on the CD in a JPEG quality of 10 (or a diffeerent quality setting), or in a Tiff format, or ?

                          Thanks, Roger


                          • #14
                            Hi Guys. I have been brainstorming myself on this idea for a while. I have looked at FlipAlbum and was bowled over at the presentation of the program. The idea of a true digital album can be obtained with this software. It does cost $150.00 for the professional version that allows you to create standalone CD albums.

                            I have been using a program called FotoAlbum from for more than a year to do my own digital albums to distribute to my family. This program is free and does a good job but it doesn't come close to FlipAlbum. The Fototime site also has facilities for online display and printing services as well.

                            I understand the inherit problems with CD distribution to the general public. So I guess the web display as well as the legacy physical photo album would also have to be considered.

                            I have enjoyed reading your ideas and hope for some more to help me decide on how best to format this business.


                            • #15
                              Image size is an interesting question.
                              Maybe ask the client what the maximum size is that they would ever what to print at.
                              A good A4 image is proberly all the clients will want. Most will not have access to a A3 printer!
                              But to make sure the image doen't lose out in the next 10 years I would make the quality as high as you can possibly go.

                              The file format needs to be the one which is going to give
                              - The best results
                              - The most universally avaliable (Mac - PC - etc)
                              - The one that is going to live a long life ( File formats come and go just like floppy disks have been taken over by cd's -etc.)

                              psd's - not accessable to all
                              jpg's - compressed
                              tiffs - not compressed - unsure about how accessable they are?
                              gifs - compressed

                              Any sugestions?



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