You have your entire family's LIFE in photos. SOMEWHERE.

Now lets get them all organized in just

ONE PLACE.

Join us and I'll show you how to get all of your fading prints, slides and negatives into your computer and then combine them with your newer digital camera photographs to make one perfect collection you'll be proud to hand down.

Scan Like a Pro

From Home

Our online video training course will teach even the most technologically-challenged person the basic steps for scanning their photos and documents.

Gain confidence to make all the right scanning choices.

Hi there!  Welcome to Scan Your Entire Life.

I'm Curtis Bisel — the overly serious looking guy in the photo.

Since August 8th of 2001, I've been working to perfect a workflow to scan and organize my family's 10,000+ analog photo collection made up of prints, slides and various negatives.

From this website and my email list which I encourage you to sign up for, I release insights, tips, and best practices for doing the same with your own photo collection.

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Topics Covered Here

three photo albums stacked vertically graphic

Organizing Originals

Bringing all of your original photos together in one place. And if desired, creating a suitable order for them before being scanned.

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Scanning Photos

Scanning your original prints, slides and film negatives with a photo scanner and scanning software suited to your own goals.

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Storing Originals

Best methods how and where to store your original prints, slides and film negatives so they are archival safe.

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Organizing Digitals

Learning how to label and organize your digital masters either manually in organized folders, or using the best photo managing software for your needs.

image editor software on screen graphic

Restoring Digitals

Learning the easiest ways to bring your images back to life, by correcting shifted and faded colors, scratches and dust using your photo editing software of choice.

three photo albums stacked vertically graphic

Backup Digitals

Bringing all of your original photos together in one place. And if desired, creating a suitable order for them before being scanned.

Latest Blog Posts

Scanning All of Our Family Photos … What's the Actual Point?

Scanning All of Our Family Photos … What's the Actual Point?

For anyone with children, or with other family members such as nieces or nephews, the answer to whether or not we should scan our old family prints, slides and negatives may seem quite obvious.

But, when I received this email from Jennie, asking me why she should go through all the trouble of taking on such a big scanning and organizing project when she doesn't have younger family to pass it on to, I was struck with the thought that many of you might be asking yourselves the same question. Maybe even for some of you who actually do have family to pass your scanned collections on to!

If you don't have or know anyone that will truly cherish your scanned photo collection once you've passed, is there even a single reason to scan any of your old family photos?

read more
Announcing the Scan Your Entire Life Membership and Training Course!

Announcing the Scan Your Entire Life Membership and Training Course!

Today is the big day! This is easily the biggest day for Scan Your Entire Life since July 5, 2010, when I had finally built up enough confidence to post the first article on this brand new website.

Now, almost 8 years later, I’m extremely excited to finally make the first public announcement on this website of my brand new membership and training course.

This online training course with professionally-produced video lessons, and some that are text-only when most appropriate, will teach even the most technologically-challenged person the basic steps for scanning their photos and documents. Gain confidence to make all the right scanning choices.

read more

WE DON'T CARE HOW GOOD YOU ARE WITH COMPUTERS,
JUST HOW MUCH YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR PHOTO COLLECTION.

What People Are Saying About…

Curtis, Love your site! What really sets yours apart from other sites that cover scanning, is that you always weigh the effort and future proofing of things.

Ronald McCarty

I lost my photos in iPhoto and I was so sad as my sons just left for college and I thought the photos were lost or gone for good. Then I followed your advice step-by-step and fortunately recovered my photos in just a few key strokes.

Honestly, your directions were very easy to follow and it worked! Thank You!

I am so relieved because the photos bring me so much joy. Thank You Again.

Nancy C

I love your website, and find it incredibly useful!!

I have a constant annoying worry, that I might lose every picture I have taken…they are the story of my life and my 4 daughter's life too.

Sophia Oris de Roa

I love your blog. You do such a nice job explaining complex topics in a clear conversational tone.

I work at an advertising agency and my last client was working so hard to explain banking topics in this same exact manner. If you were an expert in banking they would have wanted to scoop you right up! (And they're a big bank!)

I just wanted you to know that you're nailing this blog.

Regina
Massachusetts

Your website ROCKS!!!

Rick Ballantyne
Seattle, WA

Thank you for a very informative detour while I was browsing for a solution to posting comments in Facebook.

Your URL name was interesting so I came by and your content was so nicely laid out I stayed for awhile. You made me think about our family photo collections and their preservation and gave such practical tips!

Thing is, I am wondering why you have not monetized your site more. I mean, it is refreshingly clear of ads and such. Perhaps the email subscription list provides the financial support or you are simply an altruistic expert? If so, thank you for that! But, if you should choose, I do think your stuff is great and you could do more to monetize (even asking for paypal donations) if/when you need to.

I really liked your content and style.

Thanks for making me think about the importance of doing this all. Who knows? Maybe I will even return some day to start a project. I have enjoyed sharing your passion for a bit and I definitely learned something about scanning and some apps!

Brett
Oak Park, IL

I found your website and after a few days of reading the various articles. I signed up for your newsletter and took out the boxes of unnamed and unsorted family photos.

Armed with your naming convention and dpi setting recommendations, I jumped in with both feet and the old family photos are finally getting organized and scanned.

I now know the joy and satisfaction of actually being able to replace an ‘x' with a numeral! Thank you so much!!

Rishawbre Rice

Curtis, you've been a true inspiration. I was totally intimidated by the idea of doing it myself, but after visiting your website I decided to give it a try. Not only is it going much faster than I thought but it is an extremely enjoyable trip through the history of my family. 

I still have many boxes to go but think I will have everything done within a year. Thanks for many great ideas and most of all for the encouragement.

‎Anne Schnoebelen

I've been fascinated by the articles on your web site. They are spot on. I rarely read something and keep saying ‘YES!' ‘YES!' every few paragraphs.

Well done, and you must think exactly like I do!

Brad Price

I ran across your site last weekend while searching for some information on best file formats and resolutions to scan photos at.

First I just want to thank you for all of the great information you have compiled into this wonderful website. I am preparing to embark on my own scanning journey after starting / stopping it several times over the past several years.

I'm 52 and in possession of many of our family's photos. My parents are deceased and most of my aunts and uncles are as well. I have a couple of grandchildren that I hope will enjoy the fruits of my labor as well as a niece and nephew.

Anyway, your website has answered many of my questions and given me inspiration to start scanning. Thank you again for all of the time, effort, and great information you have provided to the world.

Roger Hammond
Grand Island, NE

Firstly and foremost – brilliant work Curtis. A well prepared site, bristling with information!

I had actually just started scanning the hundreds (thousands) of prints we have when I came across your website.

Your information is so clear and valuable that I have actually started over. Scanning prints, no worries now thanks to you.

Nik Frame
Sydney, Australia

I want to thank you for putting up this AWESOME website! Seriously, a lot of your archiving tips really helped me out.

Dan Keiper

I'm afraid I haven't worked up the courage to get started yet! The job still looks overwhelming to me. But I read your advice, and imagine I will begin one day.

Thanks for your great website. You are the only reason I'm even considering scanning my ton of photos.

George Sumner

Your site is GENIUS. Your approaches are the most thorough I have seen. Thank you for this invaluable information.

Huma
Wadood, TX

I love your blog. You do such a nice job explaining complex topics in a clear conversational tone.

I work at an advertising agency and my last client was working so hard to explain banking topics in this same exact manner. If you were an expert in banking they would have wanted to scoop you right up! (And they're a big bank!)

I just wanted you to know that you're nailing this blog.

Regina
Massachusetts

I ran across your site last weekend while searching for some information on best file formats and resolutions to scan photos at.

First I just want to thank you for all of the great information you have compiled into this wonderful website. I am preparing to embark on my own scanning journey after starting / stopping it several times over the past several years.

I'm 52 and in possession of many of our family's photos. My parents are deceased and most of my aunts and uncles are as well. I have a couple of grandchildren that I hope will enjoy the fruits of my labor as well as a niece and nephew.

Anyway, your website has answered many of my questions and given me inspiration to start scanning. Thank you again for all of the time, effort, and great information you have provided to the world.

Roger Hammond
Grand Island, NE

I have been wanting to scan all the family photos for my kids but just didn’t have a system. I know I’ve got to categorize or have an archival system before doing the tedious work.

Thanks so much for your useful 3 part [file naming] series, really enjoyed it. Most helpful too!

Winston

I truly enjoy all of your helpful advice. My sister made a large booklet on the genealogy of my family going back to the 500s. I'm adding a part of it for our daughter on my life with her dad! Plus trying to organize all of the pictures we have. Your advice has been so helpful!!!!!

Mary Federico

I was happy to find your site since it fills a very real need many have.

Cesar

I love your website, and find it incredibly useful!!

I have a constant annoying worry, that I might lose every picture I have taken…they are the story of my life and my 4 daughter's life too.

Sophia Oris de Roa

Aren't you tired of putting this project off?

Do this for your family.

Before you are out of time...

pile of paper prints ready to fall off the table