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.

Featured in

Kiplinger's Personal Finance logo

Want Someone Else to Do the Work For You?

Just type in your zip code or city in the box below to find the individuals and businesses in your area ready to care for all of your photo needs.

Type in your ZIP CODE or City

 

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.

flatbed image scanner graphic

Scanning Photos

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

box of 35mm slides graphic

Storing Originals

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

computer monitor with 6 picture icons graphic

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

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
A 70-Year-Old Silver Surfer Scans Her Entire Life!

A 70-Year-Old Silver Surfer Scans Her Entire Life!

Being a man of action as well as words, my son Mark bought me a slide scanner and taught me how to use it. I scanned in the slides of the Holy Land without much difficulty. I was delighted to be able to view them on my computer with the same ease as I could view the digital photographs that I had started taking in 1999.

The remainder of the slides came first. Then I started work on the prints in the photograph albums that I had lovingly curated over the decades. The physical albums had started to deteriorate to the extent that some of them were falling apart. Scanning the prints was an ideal way to remedy this. I also scanned in all the prints that had not made the cut for the photograph albums but I had kept nevertheless. I also spent several months scanning in approximately 4,000 negatives. All in all I must have scanned nearly ten thousand photographs in one form or another.

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…

I was really busy the last days due to spending all of my free time reading ‘Scan Your Entire Life'. I really enjoy it.

It has been really good for me to learn from you how to systematize, to scan and organize my old photos and negatives. You really gave me the confidence and courage.

Friadon Kader
Aarhus, Denmark

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 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'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

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

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 am 74, a former Air Force (AF) pilot, and only recently got my first camera, so I never captured most of my life on film.

Consequently, I have begun seeking photos from my past to digitize and I have managed to solicit some images by email from AF friends that document our careers in the Air Force. I recently visited my sister and convinced her to relinquish most of her print albums and loose prints and negatives.

Curtis, I read nearly all your posts at least twice if not three times. I learn more each time I read them. You are doing ground breaking work never done before. Maybe one day there will be a standardized naming convention called the ‘Bisel Standard'.

You give us all the incentive to overcome that inertia that prevents us from ever tackling a complicated task such as this. I'm better for having discovered your web site. Thank you again.

Will Rudd
Shalimar, FL

This is a fantastic site. I have been wrestling with all these issues and your site is by far the best of any information that I have found – you are answering exactly the same questions that I have. Thank you!

Peter Fuller
Karori, Wellington, New Zealand

Thanks for your help and guidance. Now that I know of your site, I will start here when I have such a question.

Jodi P.

Hello Curtis, I've been looking for you without knowing it!

Was thrilled to discover your website and recognize that there is a name for what I have been trying to do. Beyond that, you have seven distinct phases that I can access to name and tame my efforts. I have spent time in each of them without a cohesive plan so I recognize them all.

I've been working away hit and miss on my images since I retired in 2010. Luckily for me, my own photos and my inherited ones were never put into albums so scanning is an easier handling task. My first motivation was collection and back-up and then I became obsessed with tagging to create a searchable database, and then I tried consistent naming, and then, and then, and so on.

What's changed those efforts to compel me to push your I'm Serious button? I'm now a granny and have become motivated to tell the family story in a permanent way as a chronicler.

So I anticipate the next step in the journey with guidance from your experiences.

Kudos for a very well-done site and service.

Sandra

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

I am so elated I found this 3-part series of assist articles before continuing the scanning process for my family. I am easily becoming the family ‘Archivist’ at this rate, and I have only just begun the scanning process.

Thanks for the process review, I needed it, and will likely use a similar naming method. (I’m only about 130 photos into the fray, too.)

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

Huma
Wadood, TX

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

You are the most genuinely humble person I have come across in a very long time… your website is a blessed OASIS to those of us who are panic stricken as we face 1000s of family photos that need archiving.

I am amazed by your benevolent spirit and the gift of the time you take to give us precise details as you empower us to tackle these overwhelming photo collections with a wonderful master plan!

You are a very, very generous man… I don't think you realize the impact you have on so many of us who want to properly honor our family legacies. Thank you.  

Elizabeth Mayhall Simoneaux

“Thank you so much for taking the time to share your photo management experiences online.

I'm just starting a family photo digitizing project and the info here has been really helpful to me.

I know how much effort it takes to put this all down in a sharable form and I'm very grateful to you!”

Chris N.

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'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

I am 74, a former Air Force (AF) pilot, and only recently got my first camera, so I never captured most of my life on film.

Consequently, I have begun seeking photos from my past to digitize and I have managed to solicit some images by email from AF friends that document our careers in the Air Force. I recently visited my sister and convinced her to relinquish most of her print albums and loose prints and negatives.

Curtis, I read nearly all your posts at least twice if not three times. I learn more each time I read them. You are doing ground breaking work never done before. Maybe one day there will be a standardized naming convention called the ‘Bisel Standard'.

You give us all the incentive to overcome that inertia that prevents us from ever tackling a complicated task such as this. I'm better for having discovered your web site. Thank you again.

Will Rudd
Shalimar, FL

I am so elated I found this 3-part series of assist articles before continuing the scanning process for my family. I am easily becoming the family ‘Archivist’ at this rate, and I have only just begun the scanning process.

Thanks for the process review, I needed it, and will likely use a similar naming method. (I’m only about 130 photos into the fray, too.)

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

Pin It on Pinterest