FAQs

General

Courier, collection and delivery

Pre-paid courier shipping envelope

All orders include collection and return of your photos or slides by pre-paid courier.

Cut-off times for posting you your pre-paid courier shipping envelope are:

Monday to Friday: 4.30PM
Saturday: 11AM
Sunday: next available post/ Monday

Your envelope is sent to your chosen address by First Class Royal Mail post. Your photos are then delivered to us on an overnight courier service and we usually scan them they same day they arrive. You will then receive a link, via email, to download a full copy of your scans. Once you have confirmed you are happy with your scans, or after five days of us completing them, we will return your originals to you, again by courier.

Can I use my own courier?

We would really rather you didn’t. The service we offer is specifically designed to be simple and straightforward and as cost-effective as we can make it. The collection and return of your photos is the most challenging thing about our business and we take it very seriously. By managing the courier process we can make sure your photos are safe at all times and we can also minimise costs. Our pricing structure has taken this into account in order for us to offer such competitive prices.

What areas are covered by your service?

We collect from and deliver to all of mainland UK and Northern Ireland. For customers living outside these regions please contact us and we can provide you with a quote and arrange a special collection and return.

How long will my order take?

Times can vary depending on the size of your order but in general you can expect the following: Next business day delivery of the courier bag on orders completed before 4pm. 2 day turnaround of scanning of your photographs. Next day return of courier shipped originals, including the DVD and any extras you might have purchased.

Can you explain the courier service in detail?

This is one of the things we really wanted to get right and as simple as it can be! Following your order on the website, you will be sent a pre-paid, pre-addressed courier envelope in the post. This will have a phone number on which you can call to arrange collection, at your convenience. It can be a work address, home address, or anywhere else you are going to be that day, so you can ensure you have your photo box with you, ready for collection. Alternatively, if you cannot arrange the collection, just drop us a line with preferred date and time and we’ll sort this out for you.

Services

What format will the files be in?

Your scanned photos will be provided to you as standard JPEG files. These can be opened on any Windows or Mac computer or smartphone. All images will be cropped and rotated so that they are the correct way around. IF you require any other format or have a specific requirement around file type, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Will I need any special software to view my scans?

No. Your files are provided to you as standard JPEG files which can be opened on any computer, tablet or smartphone. Effectively, they’re the same as any other photo you might have on your computer or phone. You can view our download link in the browser which will automatically, but you can also download a full copy to your device. These a full copies and not down-rated in any way.

Can you custom name my files or sort my photos into different folders?

Our scanners number the files starting at 00001. We don’t do usually create individual folders or organise your files for you once they are scanned, but if you have a specific requirement, please just ask and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

 

Will higher resolution scans take longer to process?

Photographs scanned at 600 DPI take considerably longer to process than photographs scanned at 300 DPI. It’s simply due to the slower running speeds required by our scanners to capture the increased amount of data. However, we do our best to stick to the promised turnaround and in the majority of cases ordering high resolution scans will not delay your order.

What if I don’t want the DVD?

Some customers explain that their device no longer has an optical drive for viewing DVD contents. We will still send you one as it offers a ‘belt and braces’ back up copy of your files that you cannot delete or overwrite. If you do not want your DVD, by all means dispose of it responsibly yourself, ensuring you have a backup of your scans. In the event we need to rescan your photos because you have lost access to the ones we originally provided to you, we will need to charge you again for this process.

What if I am not happy with the service?

We take customer service very seriously. If you are not happy with any aspect of our service please let us know immediately so we can do our best to put things right. In the unlikely event that we can’t do that, we’ll happily issue a full refund.

Will my scans come cropped and orientated the right way up?

All scans are supplied to you cropped (no additional black border) and rotated to the correct orientation. Very occasionally one of these might be missed but is usually because the image is of an abstract nature and we are not sure of the true orientation. These can easily be rotated once they are saved to your device.

Do you have a service suitable for smaller batches?

Because we insist on using our own choice of courier, there is a minimum number of scans we can offer as a service, in order for the service to remain viable. Our 100 photo service is perfect for photo books and smaller collections. You can also club together with a friend or member of the family and send your photos in the same order, separated into batches. We will scan your photos in their respective batches, return them to you as they arrived and also ensure that this is decipherable in your digital copies.

Will my photos come back in the same order as I sent them?

We always do our best to return your original photos to you in the same order as they arrived. Occasionally, if we need to use different scanners for different photos of the same batch, we cannot always 100% guarantee the order will be kept. We can often put this right at the end but please get in touch if you have any concerns about this.

What resolution do I need?

Our standard scan quality is 300 DPI and is perfect for most digital use e.g. Facebook, Instagram, slide-shows and presentations etc. and for basic photo book printing. If you are looking to print anything larger scale, or are stretching something beyond its original dimensions, you may wish to consider 600 DPI high scan quality. e.g. for books larger than A4 with full bleed pages, a photo canvas to hang on the wall or for reprinting the originals at a larger scale than the original.

The biggest factor in determining the quality of a scan we can achieve is actually the quality of the original print itself. E.g. 1920s photos typically fare a lot better than ones developed in a chemist during the 1980s. This obviously does not affect their sentimental value to you and we always treat all photos as absolutely priceless.

You can read more about resolution here: http://www.vintagephotolab.com/dpi/

1000 photos – isn’t that a lot?

A regular, well-packed shoebox holds around 1000 photos. The average UK home has around 3000 photos lying around, often forgotten, in a dusty box in the loft or attic.

Will my photos be safe?

This is one of our most frequently questions, for obvious reasons. We understand how precious your photographs are and that is why we take the upmost care of them and we insist on managing the process of collecting and returning your photos to you. We have a great relationship with our couriers and with real time tracking we’re sure to keep your photographs safe and sound. We’ve been operating since 2012 and have not so much as misplaced a single photograph.

Preparing your photographs

Do you scan negatives and slides?

We do scan slides but unfortunately do not offer a scanning service for negatives. It’s rare we need to scan a negative as we can usually capture an excellent scan from the original print. Slides are usually 35mm but we can cater for most formats; please just ask. If you do have a requirement for a service we do not provide, by all means get in touch as we often know someone who might be able to help.

Can you dispose of my original photographs upon completion?

Unfortunately not. We love photos so much, it’s just not in our nature to destroy them. Even though you will have digital copies of your photos, we will return your originals back to you to do with as you see fit.

I’m worried about the content of some of my images?

Most photo collections contain images of an ‘interesting’ nature which may be silly or embarrassing. We’re human and we understand this completely. Our scanning process is partially automated so we won’t see the detail of most of your images anyway, unless there is a technical issue. As part of our Terms and Conditions, however, we are obliged by law to state that any images containing illegal activities will have to be reported to the appropriate authorities.

How should I prepare my photos?

Our best advice is to not worry too much about packing your photos and preparing your box. Of course, make sure everything is well packed, secure and will not be damaged in transit. But, in terms of order and layout and size and shape, please do not worry. Our scanners can handle most size of photo. anything delicate or very irregular will be done by hand on a flatbed scanner anyway.

Please feel free to include old documents, greetings cards, memorabilia, letters etc. as this all scans very nicely. These items can be placed on top of your box or shoebox along with any photo albums or oversized pictures.

What size photos can you scan?

We can scan all sizes of photograph, up to A3. For anything larger than that, please get in touch as we have a partner who can help with these. Anything very small or delicate is scanned on a flatbed scanner anyway. If you have any queries or concerns, please contact a member of the team.

Do you scan photo albums?

Yes we do. In fact they are a bit of a speciality of ours. Our preference is to scan each page, starting with the cover, in situ to replicate as closely as possible the composition and warmth of the original. This captures old notes, annotations and additional material that might be included in your book. The output of this works particularly well when being viewed on a tablet, where you can ‘leaf’ through pages and pinch to zoom on areas of particular interest.

No two photo albums are the same and we understand how precious they are to you. It’s often worth a quick conversation to discuss a couple of options to make sure you you are happy with the approach we are taking. We can also send you some trial scans so you can see for yourself how the scans will turn out, before we complete the whole album.