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  • Customer scans

    OK, next big question. Do you offer the option of allowing the customers to send you images that they scan with their own scanner? I have been debating with myself as to whether to offer this option. I know for a fact that most common flatbed scanners, not designed specifically to scan photographs and transparencies, usually have poor image quality and are too soft. I don't know if I want to go through the hassel of trying to explain to the customer that their scanner may not give me an image that I would want to work with.

    I do see many restoration sites that offer this option. What do you think?

  • #2
    Hi Kevin

    I have an idea for you, explain that the scanner is 50% and the software/operator is 50%, you have no way of knowing how much better your scan might be, but you will have to quote their job based on what they send you ... it could be a bit more expensive than if you scanned it, and it could end up a lower quality since once detail is lost it can not be created to look the same. Also, special techniques are availible to you to use in the scanning process.

    If they have access to a scanner suggest they scan the originals before sending them for reasons of insurance.

    For those that want to test their abilities to do their own scanning establish rules like:
    -all scans in RGB whether it is a color image or not
    -minimum file size of 10 megabites
    -TIFF or Photoshop format
    -No image adjustment

    Offer a photograph and digital scan done by you of the photograph on a CD for $25. They can scan the same photo (or set of photos ... whatever) to compare the images to yours. Offer to credit the $25 on the return of the photos with the CD towards their restoration orders only, do not give a refund.

    Some ideas to sleep on, Roger


    • #3
      Sorry, off on my ideas and I didn't answer your question - all of our customers are local so we havn't run into this - but I would not have a problem with customer scans as long as I had a way to remotely test their equipment.

      Send them a gray scale - color patch - focus / resolution chart?

      I am not sure I would let money be an incentive - even if you do not scan the image you will need to adjust the scan and you will be dealing with the uncertainty of whether a loss of quality is from the original or from the scan which will take the same time as scanning. Maybe more time because you may find yourself communicating long distance with questions like "can you see seperation between the eyelashes"

      Anyway, you get my drift; I think it is a great idea with enough attention so that people feel a repore with you and that the focus is on what is best for them and the quality of the work, but don't let it be about saving money unless it really ends up saving you time that you feel you can pass on. The customers that are cheap enough that the whole decision is about the money are the high maintenance ones you don't want anyway.

      All of this is brain storming outload - Roger


      • #4
        In my grand plan for my website, I've outlined a page that will specifically discuss the importance of a good scan as the first step towards a good restoration. I do plan to let people scan their own pictures, but I will also set out very "strict" instructions - and request that if people don't understand the terminology I'm using (like "300 dpi" and "RGB") that they either send me their photo or have a professional lab in their area scan the photo for them and send me a CD.

        That's my plan anyway - haven't actually tried it in practice.



        • #5
          I've had customers send me scans that looked wonderful, and others that looked like horrible GIF pictures

          The biggest problem I have is not receiving a low resolution scan... it's actually receiving a scan with the wrong colour depth.

          In any case offering your client a choice (because some may not want their precious photo's lost in the mail, damaged even further or get eaten by your dog), is a reassurance that their photo will remain safe... in their hands.


          • #6
            Thanks Roger, Jeanie, and Eric. Good food for thought. Some good ideas Roger, I don't want to scare them off with too many proceedures or get them lost in details. It isn't about money either I just want the best shot at getting a good restore and that has to start with a good scan.

            Jeanie I guess I will have to address this subject on my Web site. It will take a lot of thought to compose just the right blend of technical details. I don't want to bore them to tears but I need to get the point across that the scan is very important.

            Eric your points are well taken. I believe that I need to offer them the choice to scan for the reasons you mentioned. That is one of my great fears that their photo will get damaged while in my care or in route. Guess I have some content to compose.


            • #7
              It will take a lot of thought to compose just the right blend of technical details. I don't want to bore them to tears but I need to get the point across that the scan is very important.

              Exactly - which is why I haven't written that part of my site yet.



              • #8
                I prefer to do the scanning.


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