A few weeks ago was our last LOM lesson, which makes me sad. I have been in this class since before Valentines Day and I have really enjoyed having a new lesson or bit of something-or-other from Stacy every week since then. It's a little tradition, a bright spot in my week, and I am sad to say goodbye to that.
I keep reminding myself to be SURE I have downloaded and saved every single snippet of information and such before access to our classroom is ended. We have a final message from Stacy to look forward to this week, so I've been putting it off (I've saved a lot, but not all of it).
This was such a great class. Even if I wanted to share all the downloads with you (sorry), you still wouldn't get what the class offers, which is a fantastic community of people all working together, all with the same questions, all with issues, all with answers, all giving support and cheerleading you on.
Thank you again, SO MUCH, to the LOM Elf who sponsored me in this class. I feel like I've got somewhat of a handle on things now, and, I am actually scrapbooking!
In other news... lately I have been dealing with The Negative Issue. My negatives are *mostly* organized and safely tucked into negative sheets, in a 3 ring zippered binder (which, by the way, is pale green and has Piglet on it -- so cute!). But as I've been dragging out the random envelopes of snaps I have around the house, I have found a nice chunk of negatives from the current decade.
In 2000, I discovered Snapfish.com and began using them for my film developing. They offered free mailer envelopes and mailing labels to them, their prices were reasonable, and what I really liked was the added bonus of online photo albums with scans of all my photos which I could share with family and friends.
I haven't used Snapfish quite as much since going digital, but I did enjoy that I could order prints from them to be picked up at Walgreens, and that I could pay a very small fee and get a hi-res download of any photo in my albums to plump up my digital image archive.
Still, they don't offer what Shutterfly offers, and I am liking less and less that people have to sign up for an account with them if I want to share photos with them. I enjoy the security of it, but it can be cumbersome. However, as long as I order a print or two from them every year, I get to maintain my archives.
Cut to the past few weeks, when I finally came up with a way to organize and sort all my older photos which are not going into LOM yet (so ridiculously obvious I will not even share it with you). Scattered among the piles of envelopes were Snapfish envelopes I had labeled "[date] [event] - NEGATIVES" in Sharpie marker. Most of these negatives are for photos I have already scrapbooked, and all are for photos I have already printed.
But now I am greedy for a complete digital photo archive of hi-res, high quality images. I want all my photos in there, whether I scrapbook them or not. I've been dealing with this by scanning old photos as I find them. But these negatives are generally separated from the prints.
I began looking around to see what options I had for transferring these negative images to digital files. My thought was to get them scanned onto CDs and then upload the CDs onto my computer and EHD.
First I called Wolf Camera, because they are a smaller, specialty company, and I wanted to support them. They told me the charge was "75 cents per negative." Keep in mind, I am not Ms. All Knowing Photographer here. To me, a strip of negative is... a negative. I kept their price in mind and looked around online. I found several promising companies, most of whom charged "39 cents per negative." However, the sites I looked at seemed to indicate negative = image not negative = strip. This made me suspicious of Wolf's price.
I called Walgreens and suffered from the bad customer service you get when you try to go the cheap route, of course. But after much teeth pulling, I learned that Walgreens will put all photos from a roll onto a CD for $5.99 and you don't need to order prints. Then I went back to Wolf Camera where I discovered their price is actually 75 cents per image. Too expensive for me! And the online places require you to pay for shipping, and in some cases FedEx or some kind of insured shipping, which ups the cost.
So I finally went and took a passle of negatives to Walgreens to get them transferred to CD. I figured, if they didn't come out, oh well, I could just get the photos reprinted from the negatives if I needed them, and scan them myself sometime.
Now this is what seriously ticked me off.
The manager at the Walgreens (yes! the MANAGER) told me she "wasn't sure" if they could just transfer the images without making prints. I told her I had called and been told they could. It was late in the evening when I was there, so she asked if she could take my phone number and -- get this -- call me if there was any problem. I said YES and gave her my name and number.
Which is why I am so TICKED OFF that there was a problem and they didn't call me!!!!
When I went to pick up my CDs here is what I learned. I learned that Walgreens cannot transfer a negative if said negative is less than 3 images long. They use a machine and supposedly the machine cannot do the job. So some douchebag went and put all my images on CDs EXCEPT for the negatives that were too short. Hello, why did they not call me and ask me how I wanted this handled, when they asked me for my phone number!!!
GAH I AM STILL IRRITATED BEYOND WORDS.
When I organize my negatives they are by event. So if a negative had extra pictures on it, I would sometimes cut them off, or I would separate out negatives. Of course all Walgreens can think about is a "roll" of film. It's all done by "roll." Well sometimes I had to split a roll or something. I don't care about "rolls" -- what is that to me? Nothing.
So I show up and written on several of the envelopes is that the negatives were too short. So instead of calling me they just went and did it, but excluded the last 2-3 photos from each CD.
I keep trying to tell myself: You get what you pay for. Complaining about this is as ridiculous as going to WalMart and complaining about the customer service. WalMart is the cheapest of the cheap and a lot of not-too-bright people work there. And WalMart does not treat their employees well so they can keep the best of the best. On the contrary they deliberately want to hire the lowest of the low, because that keeps their costs down. So you don't go to WalMart for customer service and you don't go to Walgreens for photo expertise.
Still, I am pissed. This was a manager. I gave her my damn number. GAH, I am still irritated about it!
And when I went to pick my stuff up and I started loudly complaining to the manager on duty, she asked me who it was who did that, and I described her, and she just nodded knowingly and was like "Uh huh, I know who that is." She apologized and told me that I was welcome to not accept the order and not pay for it.
So here was my dilemma. Because they did scan a majority of the images onto CD, and I know this was the cheapest price, and it is also the most convenient option, since Walgreens is open 24 hours. But even if I get those few images scanned elsewhere... they will not be on the SAME CD with all the other photos they go along with. This is what irritates me. I wanted to keep the CDs as an additional backup and now not all the pictures will be together.
And so I am also extremely irritated because I would have liked to flounce out and say, "No! You will not get one cent of my money you scurvy thieves! So there! SUCK IT!" but instead I ended up having to quit my (justified!) bitching and take what I could get.
WHICH IS ALSO IRRITATING!
So that is something you need to know should you go the Walgreens route.
Here is something else interesting. As I mentioned, I had been using Snapfish for my film developing since about 2000. Most of the time I was ok with my prints. But not always. Some -- not all but a chunk -- of my prints were not good when they came back. I had one roll of important pics I remember specifically came to me with a pink/purple cast to every print. I thought this was because I used in old film or something was wrong with my camera. The digital scans online were the same as the prints. You can also buy a hi-res download from Snapfish for maybe a quarter each or 20 cents. So I had been filling out my digital archive by purchasing these downloads since it seemed easier than trying to deal with the negatives.
Well here is the thing. I got my CDs back from Walgreens and found that many times the pictures I got on these CDs were better than the original prints! YES! For instance I got that whole pink/purple roll on a CD from them and guess what -- NO PINK OR PURPLE COLOR. I was really excited to see this, but also irritated at my crappy original prints!
So now I am rethinking my hi-res downloads from Snapfish. I am wondering about the prints I have that are too dark or something. I thought it was my cheap camera but maybe it's them. Now I am kind of wanting to reinvest in getting the negatives put on CDs, and then I can reprint at Shutterfly as I want to. I have always liked Snapfish's service, but to my mind this is extremely serious. This is not just one roll or a few pictures. It wasn't a majority of pictures, but it has been a large chunk of prints with color that was severely off.
So this is where I am at. I did copy the images off the CDs onto my EHD and will but them on Shutterfly at some point as an additional archive. My plan was to toss the negatives, but now some of these sets of negatives have a few pictures that were not scanned. I did look at these negatives, and if they had photos on them I thought I could live without, I just tossed them. But several sets are missing pictures I consider important.
I am wondering if one of these other services or Wolf Camera would be able to scan them. Even at the higher price, I could afford to do a few.