Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions  |  Scanning Questions  |  Restoration Questions
Printing Questions  |  Video Questions  | E-Gift Card Questions
Still have questions? Please contact us.

General Questions

Where is Preservation Scans located?

Our facility is in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we perform all scanning and restoration operations.

Our contact information is:

Preservation Scans, LLC
3264 Martin Kings Road
Charlottesville, VA

(434) 933-2898



How can I safely send my materials to you?

To send files, you may use our Secure Image Uploader. For larger files (over 10 MB), we recommend DropBox; send to, and be sure to send an email with your information.

To ship photographs, negatives, or transparencies  use a sturdy box, and send via UPS (our first choice for safety) or Fedex to: Preservation Scans
3264 Martin Kings Road
Charlottesville, VA  22902.

Phone: (434) 933-2898

More information on shipping recommendations can be found HERE.

Can I provide my own hard drive or flash drive?

You may provide a flash drive or a hard drive for output, as long as it is in its original factory sealed packaging. We ask this to prevent accidental security issues. Otherwise, we have various flash or hard drive options depending on your needs.

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Scanning Questions

What formats of originals do you scan?

We scan the following formats:
• 35mm negatives • 35mm slides
• medium format negatives • medium format transparencies
• large format negatives • large format transparencies
• paper prints of most sizes
• 110, 126,  and 127  format film
• photo albums and scrapbooks

We also scan other materials, such as newspaper clippings, children’s artwork, postcards, etc. Please feel free to inquire.

Why should I have old photos, negatives and slides scanned and digitized?

Sure, your memories are priceless; but they’re also fragile, and subject to damage from many sources. Some are environmental, like heat and humidity; but some degradation may occur from the makeup of the original materials, such as unstable dyes.

Most folks have thousands of pictures in the forms of paper prints, slides, and negatives. Scanning allows you to:

• Preserve them on digital media like USB Drive or DVDs with greater stability.
• Organize your images more easily, and finally get rid of your clutter.
• Sort all your images, and label them.
• Create duplicate copies to share with friends and family.
• Create photo books to commemorate special occasions.
• Create picture biographies of your loved ones
• Easily upload your images to online photo sharing sites.

What is DPI? Do I need high resolution?

DPI stands for “dots per inch,” and is a common technical term in scanning; although with modern materials, it actually refers to pixels.
DPI refers to the number of pixels per linear inch that a scanner produces in your file. In short, higher dpi indicates a larger scan, in both pixels and megabytes.
We routinely scan at high resolution, since you may have other uses for the scan in the future. We produce a scan with high enough resolution to allow you to produce enlargements, prints, and cropping from your file. However, it must be remembered that it is possible to overdo a good thing, and scan with too much resolution; some very detailed scans can actually pick up and magnify the grain of a print’s paper, or graininess of a negative or slide.
Generally, we recommend a standard resolution of 600 dpi for paper prints, and 4,000 dpi for 35mm slides and negatives. If your needs are otherwise, we’ll be happy to accommodate.

If I have both paper prints AND 35mm negatives, which ones should I scan?

If you have negatives available, we recommend scanning them, rather than prints, for several reasons:


• Scans from negatives are of much higher quality than paper photos; there is some inherent loss of detail in the process of printing.
• Negatives are easier to pack and ship; negatives are about 1/10th the weight of paper photos, saving shipping cost.
• Negatives are already in a sequence,  and are easier to organize when scanning.

My pictures are in albums; do I need to remove the individual pictures?

You may leave your photos in place, and send the whole album. We will remove the photos in sequence, then scan and replace them in the same sequence, at no additional charge.. If we have difficulty removing any photos for any reason, you will be contacted to discuss the options, including scanning the album pages.

Can you scan a single cut 35mm negative?

While we discourage separating single negatives from the strip, we will accommodate your needs, and scan them for you without extra charge.

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Restoration & Repair Questions

What kinds of damage can be repaired?

We can repair almost anything, including:

  • Dirt and stains
  • Scratches, tears and cracks
  • Missing parts
  • Discoloration from aging
  • Water and mold damage
Are there any photographs so damaged, they can’t be fixed?

That very rarely happens!
We do our best to restore almost every photo, in almost any condition. Usually, we can find enough information in the image to do the restoration.

When you colorize a black & white photo, how do you choose colors?

We begin by asking for your input; tell us your preferences. Beyond that, we use our best judgement, and send you a proof for approval or comment.

How long does the restoration process take?

You should receive your quote within 1 business day. Once you submit your approval, the proof will be sent for your review within the next 3 days.

Can you fix a photograph that’s stuck to glass?

When a photograph is firmly adhered to glass, it is best not to try removal, which causes increased damage. We can scan the photo through the glass; even badly broken glass; and then restore the image.

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Printing Questions

What types of prints do you make?

We feature silver halide prints for permanence and a richer print. Both color and black & white prints are more vibrant than those produced by most mass production labs. We offer several choices of size and finish, as well as a choice of borders or borderless.

What sizes and finishes do you offer?

We offer several standard sizes, from 4×6 to 20×24, with or without border,
and four choices of finish:

  • Glossy- Excellent for reproduction, or a sleek, modern look.
  • Luster– The most popular choice, great for clarity of detail.
  • Matte– A sophisticated look. Not for work with dense shadows and rich blacks.
  • Silk- Delicate and refined, a favorite for weddings and portraits.

If you need a size or finish other than those listed here, please contact us for a quote.


How long does it take to receive my ordered prints?

In general, we ship prints in about 5 business days. Rush service is also available, as is rush shipping.

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Video Questions

Will my new DVD have audio?

If the original VHS tape has audio in it, then the converted material will also have the same audio, and will sound just like the original. If the original audio needs enhancement, please let us know.

Can I select only a particular part of a video to be digitized?

We can provide custom editing services, including combining footage, deleting footage, and resequencing footage. Our rate is $60 an hour, and we’ll be glad to give an estimate,

Do you store the digitized video content from my VHS tapes?

We store the material for 90 days after the order is complete, and you have received your DVDs. If you will need additional copies, it is best to make them immediately after  receiving the DVDs.


Can you repair a VHS tape that has physical damage?

That largely depends on the kind and the extent of damage on a particular tape. We can assess, and perform basic repairs, but the outcome depends on specifics. So,  send us the damaged tape, and we’ll do our best to repair it.  If it’s beyond our ability to repair the tape, we’ll send it back to you at no additional cost.

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E-Gift Card Questions

How are Gift Cards used?

The recipient will see a prompt to enter their Gift Card code during the checkout process. After entering shipping and billing addresses, there will be a place for the code,  which will update the total due.

How will the recipient know it’s from me?

After entering the recipient’s email address, you will have a place to check if you would like to send them  an email and a  personal note, along with the notification.

Do Gift Cards expire?

No. There is no expiration date.

When will the Gift Card be delivered?

It’s up to you. The default is immediate delivery, but you can choose a different date when you order.

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