Archive Ambition
Frequently asked questions

Should I fear sending personal memories to you?(Return)
Unless you process your images, format your pages and print them yourself, then yes, someone will see them. You should be careful when sending photos or album pages to just anyone.
  Text - At ArcAm, your text is an automated entry - we don't retype it. We are simply too busy to read your words, except those of a spell check, but we do take care with the overall appearance.
  Images - Any image is acceptable, don't be embarrassed. If it depicts anything strictly illegal, we simply won't print it.
  Privacy - Your privacy is important to us. We feel honoured and privileged to help document your memories. We will sincerely honour our pledge for privacy regarding your material and contact details. We hope to gain your trust as we progress with your project.

How secure and private are my project pages and supplied images?(Return)
Very secure. No-one is going to correctly guess the numbers in your project web address. We do not provide a link to your project pages anywhere, except in email messages to you only. Your pages are not search engine listed to appear in Google and other searches. Above all, you have the comfort of password protection.

Why is a deposit taken?(Return)
A deposit is taken to show your commitment to a project. It will lock in current prices too, so you won't be affected by price increases. A deposit is only refundable if no work has commenced on your project. A deposit will enable us to quickly return any material you have sent to us for scanning.

How soon must a project be started and completed?(Return)
From when a deposit is taken, there is no time limit to start or complete your project. However, if there is a three month period of inactivity, your project will be hibernated to save clutter. Simply ask to have it reinstated if you want. We realize that for a great archive, it can take months to organize everything. If you wish to do some of your project now and more later, then that is fine too. You must understand though that if your project is reinstated, any changes to our price structure will take effect (see our terms and conditions).

What is file back up storage?(Return)
We store all your files highly encrypted with a password of your choosing as your backup should your files and or printed albums go missing. We will delete the password in all our records once you confirm you have it secured. It could be that we attend to your archive again sometime if required, and you will need to provide us with the password.


How do you charge for scanning and photo fixing?(Return)
Our prices for scanning and photo fixing are set by the average time taken to do it in the past. Our photo fix system is not automated. More discerning care is taken by astute eyes and the wonderful results are shown to you as we progress with your project.
  Level A fix - is a process of colour correction, shadow highlighting, essential cropping and obvious rotation to your images.
Our photo/document scan price includes our level A fix.
Images from your digital camera can have the level A fix as well (your option).
Your project page will show both the original image and the fixed image side by side for comparison.
  Level B fix - Our optional Level B fix is sometimes suggested for extended work such as repair of tears and blemishes, desired cropping and where scissors have removed a portion of the photo (white match needed in that area). Your project page will show all three images side by side for comparison (original, A fix and B fix).

  Level B fix refund: 10% of the cost of level B fixes to images that are subsequently selected for an album and shown therein is deducted from the cost of your printed album.

All original files and fixed files will be delivered to you upon completion of your project.

What dots per square inch do you scan at?(Return)
Scans of photo prints and other documents are saved as 300dpi TIFF files.
Scans of negatives and slides are saved as 1200dpi TIFF files.
All fixed images are saved as JPG files.
Those settings and file formats are warranted and well advised for our work in albums and elsewhere generally.

Do you rename my digital files?(Return)
Yes, we add a number to the start of each file name to maintain the order of appearance of your images. We do however maintain your original file name as well, so that you can copy the text for captions if need be. Also, an alphabetical letter is attached to the new number to indicate if the image is the original film (F), digital (D) or the fixed A, B or C image. The new file numbers will appear in your album in smaller size text as reference to the particular image in your stored files.

What images should I show in my album?(Return)
Look to include images that you think other people would be interested in and not just a lot of scenery views for instance. You can watch those on your computer anytime and we are happy to fix them too. Select images of important places and people mainly. An example of grandma's writing, your child's first drawing, achievement certificates, newspaper clippings or short stories can be included. You can even photograph objects to include (or we can for you) of special paintings or precious artefacts. Shoot some photos of around the house. Good memories if you ever move.

Which is better scanned, photo prints, negatives or slides?(Return)
We have found that slides have held their colour and contrast well over the years. Negatives lose a lot of rendition and their photo prints are actually better all things considered. We believe that if you have kept your photo prints in pretty good order, they will enhance far better than their negatives and you have probably kept the prints that you like anyway. So submit those rather than the negatives. And besides, if we scan and number all your negatives and prints, you will get double images of many of them which could be a headache for you to sort through. It is probable that you haven't printed many if any slides so certainly consider slides more so.

What software do you use to treat images?(Return)
We use Adobe Photoshop software together with added features to scan, analyse, crop, rotate, colour enhance and shadow highlight your images to high quality.

How do I prepare and send photo prints, negatives and slides to you?(Return)
If you have prints placed in old albums then remove them if possible. Place all prints in the order to be scanned bound with strong rubber bands and a bundle number on paper at the start of each bundle (1, 2 etc). If you have prints in albums that are hard to remove or are adjacent to written captions that you want to keep them with, or you have images cut into odd shapes, then leave them in the albums and we will scan them from there. However, be aware that the extra work to do this will incur a 'scan extra' fee to each print.
For big prints, newspaper clips and certificates etc, place them in an envelope of appropriate size.

Sending a parcel to ArcAm(Return)
Wrap material such as slides, negatives and printed photos in a plastic bag in order to protect them from moisture during shipment. Pack the entire order in a sturdy box (not a letter envelope). Pad the photographic material with crumbled newspaper or packaging material to prevent it from sliding around.
  Important - Let us know before sending your material so we can be ready to receive it.

How do I prepare and send digital images to you?(Return)
Gather all your digital images, including those from Facebook and Dropbox etc, into your computer. If you can number them in chronological order (a sort by date picture taken can help), then all the better for you eventually. Send or deliver them. An external USB 2.0 Flash Drive (memory stick) is probably the best way to do so. If you like, we can send one to you to then return to us containing a copy of your files.


Archive album or photo book. What is the difference?(Return)
  Archive album (adjustable) is not only presentable; it is forever adjustable in the future. There is no need for a total reprint of the archive album if something needs to be included, removed or adjusted in the future. The paper sheets are a thick double sided 178gsm flat matte finish archival paper. The colour and contrast is exceptionally good. The pages are well protected when inserted into the archival quality copy safe and acid free polypropylene pockets of the album, especially from grubby fingers and atmospheric conditions. However, if a page is damaged, worn or even stolen, we simply replace that page sheet with a new one.
  Photo book (hard cover fixed) is also popular. It is a hard cover book and nicely bound. Such albums are popular for special event archives like a wedding album, yet are equally popular for family archives too.
  For a hard cover book, the 100gsm acid free pages are great quality as well.

What size and style of album pages do you produce?(Return)
While we believe the result is appealing, it is also archival here, orderly, straight forward and practical. An A4 portrait size album is what we produce, either as an adjustable style album or a fixed hard cover photobook with a variety of colours and title page designs (read more).
Content on white album pages is centered both vertically and horizontally across each page.
Images appear at a size that displays important features quite clearly. A poor quality image may need to be smaller and a striking image can be featured a little larger. A group of images from the same 'event' can be a bit smaller and effective if placed together.
Content is not crammed into pages. Turning pages regularly is appealing.
The header can have "Compiled by (your name)" and "Printed date" in grey unobtrusive font on top of each page. You'll read elsewhere why those quotes can be important.
We check for spelling and grammatical errors and we check with you regarding any duplicated images.

What paper do you print on for the adjustable album?(Return)
Epson Double-Sided Matte Paper 178gsm
Product description: "Double-Sided, heavyweight inkjet paper with a flat matte finish. This paper is ideal for two-sided printing required on brochures, flyers, newsletters and photographic portfolios.
Archival quality: 24-26 years lightfastness."

What paper do you print on for the hard cover photo book?(Return)
Fuji Xerox Colotech Idol Carbon Neutral 100gsm (Out of stock)
Product description: "Ideal sheet for producing high quality, vibrant, luscious colour on a bright, heavier weight, super smooh surface. It will add panache to your presentations.
Whiteness: CIE 172
Archival quality: up to 200 years."

How many pages will fit into the adjustable album?(Return)
The adjustable album comes in two main sizes that works best, a 60 page folder and an 80 page folder. That means they have room for 30 and 40 double sided sheets of paper respectively. Albums with the same title can add a subtitle like "Book 1" "Book 2" etc.

Tell me more about the album hard cover photo book(Return)
Cost includes a one line title on the front cover and spine.
When it is time to order your album, you will be taken here to select your style and colours.

Do I need to download and install special software?(Return)
No, we don't use such software. Here, we format the album for you in a simple but effective fashion.
You probably already have Microsoft Word installed. That is all you need for an ArcAm project (though not actually compulsory). If desired, you and even your children when they grow older can update the archive with commonly available software. You can even have the albums printed or reprinted anywhere. You are never bound to us because of special software.

Family tree, what are the options?(Return)
If you order an archive album or photo book, you can include a simple three generation family tree showing your one wife or husband, both your parents and your children. You are provided with a form to complete. You can see the form in our sample project.
If you wish to include your children and parents of another partner, a separate family tree is required. We can simply produce many family trees this way for different family members.
If you order the archive album, then a big family tree can be produced and paper folded to insert into say the first transparent album pocket.

What is on-line display?(Return)
On line display of your album pages is extra and separate to the one in your project pages. It can be useful for two reasons. You have your album(s) nearing completion and you would like a few people like family to add or correct any details before finalizing your project. They can advise you. However, more importantly, you may also like to display your albums after your project is complete, so that close family and friends of your choice perhaps living far away can enjoy them. Each 'viewer' can be given access with a password. You can change, remove or add more passwords if you like to help keep control of it. Since others may request a copy of your great archive, and we'll gladly print extra copies for you, you may prefer this on-line option. It's your work, your pride and joy. They should be happy to see it online if you so choose.

Album formatting. What does a 'mini layout' and a 'full layout' mean?(Return)
We show you the generated album pages in your project on-line.
  Mini layout
You will first see a 'mini layout'. This shows all the text you have supplied in the order of appearance, together with thumbnail images also in order. You can at this point check that everything is correct or needs adjusting for another generated 'mini layout' check. If you want, this is where you can seek input from others that can preview a similar page we can set up for you.
  Full layout
When you are completely satisfied with the mini layout, we then generate a 'full layout' where images are brought to the most effective size. Image size depends on importance, image resolution to avoid blurriness and images together for one event (one caption). We are mindful that images should not be too small where ever possible and it's not to sell you more pages. We want the best effect for you. It is then that you can advise us of final adjustments you want made before the project is completed. Our example here shows a full layout.


Sometimes you refer to music and videos/movies. What can ArcAm do?(Return)
You may have special music or movies like home movies that you would like to play in a browser window, either on-line with us or privately on your computer using our Flash based player. Keep in mind though that Apples iPhone and iPad may not play them. However, HTML 5 format can be considered instead of Flash. We can discuss the transfer of film and analogue to digital. Hurry though since they are deteriorating in quality fast now. Captured images from movies are possible to display in your archive album too.