Verdict: ScanCafe offers restoration with the lowest cost of $3 per edit. However, this basic package includes some simple edits that even someone without professional skills could handle using one of AI editing tools.
Besides, they don't showcase their previous work, so it's tough to judge how good they are. When it comes to customer support, their agents aren’t very fast, but they do get back to you and answer all your questions.
ScanCafe offers photo restoration services that cost as little as $3/image. However, the final bill varies for each project and can go as high as $100 or more, which is likely to distress most clients.
✖ Constantly miss deadlines. The team says that they need 10 working days to complete an order, but in fact, this period is much longer. According to numerous negative ScanCafe reviews, the company delayed the order for several months without even informing the customer about the status of a project.
✔ Fix different damages. ScanCafe can fix photos that have been soaked, damaged by mold, or subjected to the mischief of pets or kids. But their work quality is pretty average. Oftentimes, some parts of the restored photos still look messed up, and you'll notice dark traces left in areas where they tried to erase scratches and fix other flaws.
✖ No colorization of B&W images. One of the common requests from clients who want to restore their old damaged photographs is the colorization of black and white pictures. However, ScanCafe doesn’t provide this service, so you will have to look elsewhere.
✖ Lack of image sharpening. Often during the restoration process, certain areas of a photograph can become blurred, so experts have to take additional steps to ensure faces and other objects appear crisp and well-defined. Unfortunately, ScanCafe falls short in delivering professional results, sending customers subpar work.
✖ Restore details inaccurately. Many clients report that the fine details in their old photos are either totally lost or improperly restored. Quite often, certain small areas within the photos remain overly exposed, even though the company claims its experts can handle such corrections.
You can order color correction on the ScanCafe website only as a part of other packages, not as a separate service.
✖ Too basic options. ScanCafe offers a limited range of color adjustments, like basic color balancing, fixing some off-color tones, and enhancing dull colors. However, more often than not, their approach boils down to eliminating reddish or greenish tint that tends to develop over time in old printed photos.
✔ Manual restoration. ScanCafe prides itself on not using automated programs instead of manual techniques. But at the same time, it would be nice if they did at least basic facial retouching so that the photo ends up looking more professional.
✔ Possibility to specify requirements. When placing an order, you can define your requirements for each photo, thus, drawing the editor’s attention to certain problems in images. However, based on ScanCafe reviews, the team often ignores those demands, so customers may feel confused and disappointed.
✖ Quality control problems. One of the most common and distressing problems with ScanCafe is that they lose source files that customers send them. What's frustrating is that they still charge for the service and any complaints are redirected to their shipping department.
✖ Disappointing quality. The quality of restored pictures isn't top-notch, and the resolution doesn't quite measure up to what you'd see on a slide projection screen. Plus, some photos turn out too dark.
Of course, clients can address these issues using Lightroom, but it means putting in some extra work. Furthermore, clients often complain about blurry areas in photos and unnatural colors.
As a part of photo restoration, experts at ScanCafe can tackle a common issue with old photos, namely, red-eye defects. Besides, you order an item removal service, but only together with other corrections.
✖ Red-eye defect removal isn’t available separately. ScanCafe doesn't offer clients individual photo editing services as they come bundled with other options. Many customers would like specialists to handle more advanced retouching beyond just fixing red-eye effects, but unfortunately, the company isn't specialized in such projects.
✔ Use several removal techniques. Depending on how tricky the task is, ScanCafe goes with different approaches for red-eye effect removal. They may use a semi-automatic method with Photoshop Elements, or they'll go fully manual, especially when dealing with those extra complicated cases when the face area in a photo is severely damaged.
✔ Some interesting extras. ScanCafe can also address minor skin imperfections, whiten teeth, and even add a new person to a family photo. However, the outcomes of these operations tend to be quite average, so don't set your expectations too high for professional-quality work.
✖ Work only with high-res originals. The company only accepts high-resolution photos, nothing less than 500KB. This seems a bit puzzling because old or damaged photos that require restoration or enhancement typically have lower resolutions.
✖ No return policy. On their website, it's stated that if a customer isn't satisfied with the results of the work, the company promises to refund the money within 30 days. However, in practice, according to numerous ScanCafe reviews, none of the clients ever received compensation.
ScanCafe primarily focuses on scanning photos and videos, dedicating approximately 4 minutes to processing each photo. This raises doubts about both the final quality and turnaround times the company mentions.
✔ Photo digitizing from different media. ScanCafe accepts originals in the form of printed photos, slides, negatives (even black and white ones), and APS films. This is convenient because you don't have to go through the hassle of preparing your images specifically for digitization.
✔ Online cost calculation. There is a calculator on their website, which you can use to quickly estimate the cost of a package for scanning photos. Given that their customer service operates incredibly slowly and lacks professionalism, with this tool, you can get along without communicating with a company representative.
✖ No media pre-cleaning. During transportation, photo media can get dirty (dust, fingerprints, etc.), but ScanCafe doesn't clean them before scanning. As a result, scanned photos often show graininess or spots that an editor didn’t remove for some reason.
✖ Some options are charged additionally. The company offers three additional services you can order – Pro Resolution, TIFF, and Pro Library. This prompts many customers to turn to other similar companies where these options are included in the standard package without extra charges.
✖ Limited information. ScanCafe states that customers can review the initial outcomes of the team's work and pay only for 80% of the completed tasks, skipping payment for photos that didn't meet their expectations. However, the mechanics of this offer remain unclear because service payments are typically made upfront.
Their prices for a single photo can range anywhere from $1 to $88 or even higher. ScanCafe offers four pricing plans: the basic level, which falls in the $1 to $16 range, the medium level ranging from $22 to $33, the advanced level priced between $44 and $55, and the extreme level, which starts at $88.
However, you'll only get the exact price after you've submitted a free quote.
Verdict: When it comes to photo editing and restoration, FixThePhoto is a top player in the market. Their customer service is outstanding, which unfortunately can't be said about ScanCafe. Besides, FixThePhoto always maintains clear and responsive communication, unlike ScanCafe.
The experts at FixThePhoto always deliver top-notch results, and a crucial point is that they never miss a deadline, unlike ScanCafe. Moreover, you can request deep retouching for your restored photos and other services, e.g., color correction separately.
Verdict: WeEdit.Photos offers a wide range of photo enhancement services, which makes them more versatile than ScanCafe. They handle digital photos, providing both basic editing and advanced retouching. The ordering process is simpler and more user-friendly compared to ScanCafe, and all the terms are completely transparent.
The company guarantees a 100% money-back guarantee if a customer isn't satisfied. However, WeEdit's primary focus is on delivering professional quality, so customers rarely have reasons to seek compensation for their projects.
Verdict: At RetouchUp, the starting price for photo restoration is $36, but the quality they deliver is worse than what you get from ScanCafe. However, these two companies are similar in a way that they perform all their manipulations manually, without relying on artificial intelligence.
Unfortunately, client support agents at RetouchUp work slowly and don’t try to cater to customers’ needs. Therefore, it can be challenging to get timely assistance when you encounter various issues or if you're not satisfied with the outcome of the photo restoration process. What sets this company apart from ScanCafe, though, is that they work with digital oil paintings.
Verdict: Photza is another competitor of ScanCafe that offers image restoration services for $15 per photo. They have examples of restored photos on their website, allowing customers to promptly assess the quality of their work – something that ScanCafe lacks.
What sets Photza apart is its service of colorizing black and white photos, a highly sought-after feature when it comes to the restoration of old pictures. You can also order prints of the enhanced photos, and they guarantee delivery within the specified time frame.
Verdict: GlobalPhotoEdit offers a comprehensive range of photography-related services, including photo restoration. The company provides a more extensive array of options compared to ScanCafe. They can fix damaged images, handle vintage photos, and even add color to black-and-white pictures. The company also accepts low-resolution originals, which isn't the case with ScanCafe.
GlobalPhotoEdit allows you to order the first three photos for free, meaning you can assess the quality of their work since they don't have a portfolio on their website. They guarantee a 24-hour turnaround time, and they always deliver orders as agreed, which can be a significant challenge for ScanCafe.
Verdict: RetouchGem offers a variety of services, including image restoration and graphic design. However, their pricing system can be quite inconvenient. They quote an hourly rate and the time they estimate for completing a specific task. Yet, it's unclear whether they strictly adhere to the set timeframe.
Unlike ScanCafe, RetouchGem allows you to request detailed editing and deep retouching, but it comes at an additional cost. Therefore, the final price for custom orders can be quite high.
Verdict: FlipRetouch receives more favorable reviews than ScanCafe for its photo restoration services. They excel at removing scratches and other imperfections, and they also offer basic image editing options like exposure correction and restoring missing parts.
However, a drawback is that they don't have a portfolio on their website, which means clients can't view examples before placing an order. On the bright side, compared to ScanCafe, FlipRetouch offers excellent customer support, ensuring quick responses to your queries. This is particularly important because they don't provide extensive service information on the site.
Verdict: BayPhoto is quite similar to ScanCafe when it comes to scanning services. They offer scanning for various formats, including films, negatives, and even low-resolution prints. The company provides detailed pricing that depends on factors such as size, resolution, dimensions, and other specifications.
However, there's a downside to keep in mind – they don't offer photo corrections or restoration services. In contrast to ScanCafe, this agency relies on automated tools, which often don't produce results as precise as manual processing.
Verdict: LegacyBox specializes in photo scanning and offers entirely transparent order processing, payment, and overall collaboration, which is more straightforward than what ScanCafe has. However, they solely digitize photos without making any alterations or offering editing, not even minimal adjustments like those available in ScanCafe.
One notable advantage of LegacyBox is that it provides tracking options, allowing clients to monitor the status of their orders at any time. Besides, they offer compensation for lost originals, a feature absent in ScanCafe. However, overall, their service is single-purpose.
Verdict: EverPresent provides lots of services related to photography, video, design, and more. They also specialize in photo scanning and perform it with great care, including thorough cleaning of the materials. This meticulous approach leads to more precise results compared to ScanCafe, which doesn't devote time to professional preparation.
They handle various photo formats and resolutions, and they even work with art objects, making their service very versatile. You can also order photo and video editing, but ScanCafe may be a more suitable choice if you only require minimal adjustments.
* The photo reviews in the galleries above were selected to show you all possible failures you may encounter when ordering such work from freelancers and services. These are the most common problems that require your extra attention to ensure professional final results.