How to prepare your photos for pay-per-scan photo scanning

Print Instructions

To get your photos ready for camera-ready high-resolution digital scans, please follow these instructions:

  • IMPORTANT: Make sure you use a brand new, unused box for shipping. Reusing boxes for shipping reduces the box's structural integrity and can result in your photos being damaged or lost in shipment if the box breaks.
  • Remove all photos from albums, envelopes, etc. Make sure no staples, paper clips, post-it notes, etc are attached.
  • This service is for photo scanning only. Negatives, slides and other media are not accepted.
  • Photos must be at least 3" x 3" and no larger than 8" x 10". Due to the thickness of Polaroid photos, all Polaroid photos must be separated from the rest and some may not be scanned.
  • Group all of your photos in bundles by size. For example, all the 4x6's are bundled together, all the 5x7's are bundled together. The entire order must be organized in this manner. If you do not organize your photos in this way, you must order the "Scan in Order" service for an additional fee.
  • Index card with photo informationSCAN IN ORDER SERVICE EXPLAINED: If you have grouped your photographs into categories, make sure the groups are bundled together well. The contents of your box can shift a lot more in transit than most people think. By ordering the "Scanning in Order" service, this will let the technician know that you need to have these photographs scanned in the specific order and is an additional cost. If the additional service is ordered, we recommend that you include index cards with handwritten notes describing the category or year. These will be scanned along with the pictures and will be the first image in each series of photos. DO NOT use Post-it notes (they will be either scanned on the image or thrown away) or scraps of paper (they will jam in our scanner and be thrown away). This also overrides the necessity to place your order in size order and will require more time to complete. This does not, however, override taking all of your photos out of envelopes. Only photos out of envelopes and albums will be accepted.

    The number in the top right corner tells us the order in which to scan. If the bundle order is not important, we do not need the number. We do not offer reorganize your photos in chronological order. We either follow the number in the corner or scan in random group order when no number is present. Please ONLY use numbers, no letters or combination of numbers and letters (i.e. 1A, 1B, 2A, etc).

  • Photographs cannot be thicker than a modern Polaroid picture and represent the thickest photograph we can accept for scanning. Many older (1906's era) Polaroid's were mounted on cardboard. These old Polaroid's are too thick and cannot be scanned.
  • Newspaper clippings, odd-shaped photographs, and laminated images cannot be scanned.
  • Do Not send any pictures with glue or sticky material.
  • Make sure every photo is right side up and face up. If upside down the scans also will be upside down or face down (so the back of the photo is scanned, not the front).
  • HELPFUL TIP: Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe the front and back of each photo to remove any excess dust to achieve optimum scans.
  • Right-side up scanned photo
    Photos should be submitted right side up.
    Up-side down scanned photo
    Photos submitted upside-down will be scanned and placed on the DVD upside-down.
    Face-down scanned photo
    Photos submitted face down will be scanned and placed on the DVD face down.

  • Additionally, all photos must be lying horizontally regardless of orientation (vertical or horizontal). If you wish to have your vertical images rotated to the correct orientation, we do offer that as an additional service for an additional $.07 per scan (since we have to view your scans photo-by-photo after completion, this charge is applied to all scans, not just rotated images) or this can be done on your home computer.
  • Photos ready for scanning.
    Photos not ready for scanning. Vertical and horizontal mixed.

  • Fan through all your photos and shuffle the pictures like a deck of playing cards (without sorting or getting it out of order). This helps confirm that the photos are loosely presented and without any impediment, such as glue or sticky materials. This also helps to identify if your pictures are dusty and to help remove any materials that might cause an imperfect scan, such as lines and dust on your digital files. Any substance (i.e. watermarks, pen marks, etc.) that is on the photograph will be scanned along with the photograph.
  • Curled photos may have a haze or be scanned out of focus due to their inability to lie flat on the scanning glass. Often times this presents itself as a purple haze over part of the image.


    • DO use a brand new box designed for specifically for shipping
    • DO stuff your box well; if your box has extra room, your photos might shift during delivery and there is a risk that the box might otherwise get creased or crushed
    • DO use lots of shipping tape to ensure the box will not open during shipping
    • DO fill empty spaces with newspaper or other paper material
    • We recommend using rubber bands to group them in batches of about 100-150 photographs.

      Photos packed in a box


    • DO NOT reuse a previously used box
    • DO NOT use a box not intended for shipping such as a shoebox
    • DO NOT use packing popcorn, it breaks apart during shipping and statically sticks to the photos. This greatly increases your chance for bad/dirty scans
    • DO NOT use non-shipping tape such as masking tape or Scotch tape
    • Please DO NOT put them in baggies as this method of storage does not ensure the photographs will not shift around and are limited in space.
    • DO NOT let this happen to you:

  • If these guidelines are not followed, the unprocessed order will be returned to you and a handling fee not to exceed $25.00, plus the return postage will be charged to your card.
  • For other questions, please visit our Scanning FAQ's

Acceptable Packaging

Unacceptable Packaging

Photo scanning
Photo scanning sample
All similar sized photos are packaged together and laying horizontally. Photos packaged tight so no shifting will occur in shipping.
Not organized by size. Photos are right side up and others face down. Photos are not packaged to avoid shifting in mail.
How to scan your photos
Pictures scanned quickly
Large groups of photos rubber banded together, grouped by size. Empty side space used for more photos.
Not all lying horizontally, not organized by size, not bound to avoid shifting in shipping.
Pictures scanning service
Scan your photos fast
Photos organized by size, rubber banded to keep from moving in shipping. See below for more with this example.
Photos in folders and envelopes, odd shaped photos, negatives enclosed.
Scanmyphotos photo scanning
Photo scanning service
There was empty space on top of the photos, small rubber banded groups used to fill up empty space.
Photos in Ziploc bag, photos not secured to prevent shifting. Photos facing different directions, not organized by size.
Bent Photo
Do Not send any photos that are bent, curled or not flat. Photos with a slight curl may have a haze or be scanned out of focus due to their inability to lie flat on the scanning glass. Often times this presents itself as a purple haze over part of the image. If the photo is substantially curled it will not be scanned.