Pearl Scan Solutions
Manchester: 0161 832 7991
Birmingham: 0121 285 1900
Nationwide: 0845 225 5923

Pearl Document Scanning Blog

News and updates related to the document scanning industry.

Keep memories alive by scanning old photos

If they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, then old photographs (from a time when photographs were in physical format), can hold so many phrases that an entire book could be re-written from just one handed-down family photo album…however, this tale can soon become faded as these old images disintegrate, get damaged or lost over time. Document scanning has a whole host of other uses that lie beyond the office environment, and whether you are interested in heritage scanning for an entire historic archive or simply have a personal collection to preserve, it is possible to keep memories alive by scanning old photos.

While books hold streams of information within their texts, we can only gather a certain amount of insight from this limited format. Could a family tree with only words and descriptions show you the origins of your subtle but distinguishing features? A photograph never lies (or it didn’t before the use of Photoshop was widespread), and heritage document scanning plays a part in ensuring vital, authentic moments in history are never forgotten, preserving our past in order to inform our future.

Choosing to scan old photos is safeguarding both sentimental and informative data and with the latest technology, it can even bring new life to historic images, enhancing the original to showcase details that were faded and dull previously!

How does heritage document scanning work?

Many people are concerned about scanning their old photographs, but outsourcing your needs to a document scanning expert ensures that these delicate documents are in safe hands. At Pearl Scan, we have the latest technology to safely scan your old photos, as well as the tools for converting old slides to digital format. The original documents, photographs or slides will remain undamaged, while the images on them will be documented in a vibrant, digital image to be enjoyed forever.

What happens next?

If you own a particularly fascinating historical image collection, we also offer a service to help you utilise these charming photographs and share them with the rest of the world!  Interesting, insightful and unique old photographs are in high demand, and we can host your scanned heritage documents in our image sales website and produce high quality prints, ready to send it to your customer.

For those that simply want to enjoy your series of sentimental photographs, our flipping book conversion service is a popular choice. With this, your digitised images can be placed into a digital ‘flipping book’ enabling you to turn the virtual pages, as if you were flicking through the original album, making for a truly interesting way to keep memories alive.

Do you have a collection of old photographs? How are you preserving them? Find out more about our heritage document scanning service today!   

Photo Scanning Gets Ryder Cup History Online

Photo Scanning Gets Ryder Cup History Online

Last month, with the help of photo scanning technology, a large portion of golfing photographs from a collection by Lawrence Levy were available to view online.

The project by St Andrew's University will make the photos widely available for the first time, reaching audiences previously unavailable. 250,000 photographs were donated to the university and there are currently 10,000 of those scanned. It is a huge undertaking for the university but the benefits of having the collection readily available to view for golf and photography fans will reap its own rewards:

  • They are now available in a more permanent format
  • They can stand the test of time as there will be no worry that the photos will be damaged, lost or stolen
  • They can be accessed from anywhere for free.
  • Some of the photos are being seen for the first time

Photos that were taken on film cameras were initially only available in print form but now it is possible to scan photos into digital format or even to scan the negatives before they have even been printed.

Negative Scanningnegative-scanning-services

Back in the days when we would have our photos developed when the film was full, our printed photos would be given to us with their negatives should we wish to develop the photos again. With photo scanning services like that at Pearl Scan, those negatives can be scanned to digital using a state of the art negative scanner and then be available on your computer at the click of a mouse.

Since the phasing out of analogue cameras, negative scanning has been more in demand than ever. This has also been helped along by the rise of genealogy (family tracing) websites. Some of the sites give you the opportunity to put pictures into your family tree prompting the need for digital copies of old photos.

Negative scanning can be particularly useful if only the negative of the photo has survived and you would like to edit, enlarge or keep the photo safe for future use.

Photo Scanningcamera

Sometimes the only copy of a photo you have is a developed version after the negative have been lost or disposed of. Due to high quality photo scanners, it is now possible to get digital copies of photos where the quality is not compromised through the scanning process. Here at Pearl Scan, we can scan old photos to digital helping them to last longer so your memories can be shared and passed down through further generations. Both photos and negatives can be scanned to PDF as well as JPEGs and TIFFs, among many other formats to make them compatible with the purpose you wish to use them for.

Large scale projects like that at St Andrew's University are being conducted more and more to make photos future-proof and more accessible. Pearl Scan have over a decade's worth of experience in photo and negative scanning as a company and our staff have over 30 years of experience with a dedication to providing you with the best possible service.

If you would like to know more about our photo and negative scanning services, explore our blog posts by following the relevant links on the left hand side or give us a call to speak to one of our friendly team.

Photo Scanning Can Save Memories

negatives-scanningPhoto Scanning Can Save Memories

The old phrase "You never know what you've got until it's gone" can be applied to all aspects of life but one particular one is memories. More specifically, memories in the form of photos.

Since the first cameras became commercially available, we have been taking snapshots of our lives through the lens. Many of us have albums upon albums full of memories from family holidays, weddings and birthdays but what would you do if you lost all of those photos. negative-scanning

That is exactly what happens to victims of natural disasters who often don't have the time to bring all of their possessions with them. In 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan leaving many of its towns and cities in wreckage, Becci Manson joined to clear up effort. During her work, she discovered many photographs, damaged, amongst the wreckage. Not being able to stand the thought that these strangers may never see these memories again, she (and a large number of volunteers) set about cleaning and retouching the photos through photo scanning and then returned them to their owners.

I'll let her explain the rest...

 "A photo is a reminder of someone or something, a place, a relationship, a loved one. They're our memory-keepers and our histories, the last thing we would grab and the first thing you'd go back to look for."

This heart-warming story also reminds us of the importance of taking steps to ensure our photos cannot be lost, damaged or stolen. Here at Pearl Scan, we can scan photos, negatives and microfilm. We can scan your photos to a digital format where they can be securely stored and re-touched if needed. As the daughter of a photographer, I might be a bit biased here but photos are important. They remind us of moments our brains don't remember and can reconnect us to lost friends. Don't lose your memories, take action now and let Pearl Scan help by scanning your photos. Call us for more information or to request a quote.

Negative to Positive: Photo Scanning

Negative to Positive: How Long Lost Photos Become Brand New Experiences

negative scanningLife in general has this way of passing us by. That's not news to anyone, but what often is, is just how quickly it does and what we leave behind along the way.

Believe it or not, it's been nearly 200 years since the first recorded photographic image was taken and produced and ever since then photographs have become our favourite ways of keeping our memories and restoring them from the flick of a page of any number of albums from our shelves.

In the last 20 years, photography has faced its greatest test, at least in the conventional sense, with the advent of digital. Photography itself has never been as possible, with anyone, anywhere being able to take a photo of anything at any given time. Whether it be the typical family photo, smiles and all, or this most recent, and arguably, inexplicable phenomenon.


There are still many traditionalists as well as professionals who still use film-based photography, but they are fast becoming a niche and an inconvenience. Like we do with most things that are no longer compatible with our life (because sometimes the technology we use is our life, or lifestyle at least), we file them away, in boxes, files or albums to never be seen again. But we are going to see them again, whether we're clearing out or we're looking for something we once had, that's the moment we figure out that there isn't much we can do about it especially in the case of negative images and anything that is film-based.

With photographs we tend to be able to just purchase or borrow a friend's scanner and scan them in as best we can, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to modernise the content of film media such as 35mm negatives, microfiche and microfilm. This doesn't mean, however, that they should only be considered good for the dump and for the memories to be well and truly forgotten.

Modernising older photos can lead to some amazing new experiences:

Discovering long lost family:

A family reported that they had found many relatives because of  photos and a video alone.

Finding amazing lost, sometimes disturbing, gems.

Often with digitising negatives, you're never quite sure what you're going to get. You can discover what people were truly like from a simple image you've never seen before, discovering that they had a sense of humour, a more serious side or a hidden history. Or that your great-great-grandfather liked to dress as a fly.



ancestryWithout the ability to digitise images and bring them up to date the whole genealogy field wouldn't be the same and it wouldn't enable so many to find families that they never knew and this is no more apparent than on the incredibly popular genealogy site, Ancestry.

Those who enjoy genealogy or even do it professionally value it greatly, not just as a past-time but also as something of an art form. As such, when they have family photos or old negatives, they tend to have them scanned and put into the Ancestry database so when others seeking out the same string of family, they will be able to see what these people looked like.

It adds a whole new element to the experience and brings people together.

Bringing Memories Back To Life

If you are looking at digitising some images yourself, it can be harder than it might initially seem. However, there are a couple of alternatives to be able to enjoy and experience moments captured onto film:

1. DIY (Digitise It Yourself!)

If you have a small amount of images, then the video below contains an excellent tutorial on how to convert negatives for free (considering you have a few things, and some common sense):


2. Bring in the professionals

For higher volumes, this is recommended. You could argue that we're somewhat biased, but if you're interested in sitting at a scanner, with a thick piece of paper and a tablet you have to keep lighting up, for hours on end then be our guest!

Typically you can get photographs digitised by document scanning companies. Don't be worried that they won't accept an order that is 'too small' if they look corporate or have an impressive client list; we're still businesses and would be happy to do it for you.

As well as the obvious reason above, with a professional service you get a professional service; images will be scanned by people who do it on a daily basis, images will be as clear and crisp as possible.

If you're interested in getting photographs scanned or learning more about our scanning photos service, get in touch today or browse our website for more information.

The Growing Need For Negative Scanning

negative-scanningIt's safe to say that the vast majority of us are now using digital cameras with analogue devices no longer in use, at least by anyone but hobbyists and traditionalists of photography. It's easier than ever to access your photographs thanks to digital photography and since it has revolutionised the photography industry for over 10 years ago now, negative based photography has been all but forgotten and rendered obsolete.

Sometimes however, when technology changes as quickly as this and as radically, things can be left behind. Negatives were always sent back to you when you had your photos printed so that in the future if you wanted to have them printed again you could. It seems almost laughable now with digital taking over where negatives left off; however, some people are left with a lot of negatives and not a lot they can do with them.

Turning negatives to positives: negative scanning

Many would like to convert those old negatives into digital photographs but this is pretty much an impossible task for a household scanner, so that's why negative scanning services have become so important and so sought after. Whether a business seeking to digitise it's old images or a personal project of old family images, it's more possible than ever to get your files made digital thanks to negative scanning.

Negative scanning is a process that is usually carried out by specialist document scanning companies who deal with all kind of documents and image types on a daily basis. Using special negative scanning equipment, they are able to quickly and easily convert images from negatives into fully rendered digital images which can be saved as JPEG's, TIFF's, PDF's or any other type of digital document. The files can also be indexed if you have a large quantity of negatives being scanned which can named as a reference number or a note of who is in the photograph for example.

Often these images will also come in poor condition but thanks to modern technology, these negative scanning companies are also able to restore the files for you, usually at additional cost but it can be worth it to see the original images as they are supposed to be seen.

The rise of negative scanning

negative-scanning-servicesNegative scanning is becoming an increasingly popular service, as a result of the rise in the use of digital cameras, less options for having images developed and people becoming more and more interested in hobbies such as genealogy, the study of family trees. Often the only images that can be found of certain people will only be available through the negatives so this is also seen as quite a necessary service. Businesses are also starting to digitise their old file types such as negatives and microfiche in order to have a digital copy, whether for nostalgia's sake or for other business reasons.

Negative scanning is usually completed fairly quickly, such is the state of technology and the ability to scan the images much quicker; however, there is still usually an element of having to do each negative by hand, but the costs are still not usually too high and can end up being much cheaper than you might expect.

More information on negative scanning

If you're interested in obtaining a quote for negative scanning, contact Pearl Scan here in the UK. We have been specialists in film and negative scanning for over a decade and have a combined experience of over 30 years between the specialists who work here, so you're guaranteed to get the best possible quality and service when it comes to digitising your negatives.

For more information, visit our page on scanning negatives or request a quote on the link below.