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

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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.

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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.

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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 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.)

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

Thank you so much, what a fun website to read, your articles had me chuckling, as I too have zillions of questions as I start a project.

It's a joy to see others think the same way. :-)  Perhaps I can consider this day 1 in the scanning process!

Lorie

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

“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.

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME AND THANKS!!! I watch a TON of YouTube How To's and you are without a doubt one of the best teachers/facilitators of DIY videos I've seen here on YouTube! Much appreciated…

Matthew Fox

“Curtis, I am so excited to have found your website at just the right time. I have been thinking about scanning my old family photos for years and every time I am about to begin I hit the naming problem and put it off. I have pursued my family history on Ancestry.com, and obtained many digital photos to add to my collection. Just reading the 3 steps of organizing has been of great value!

I also have intended to buy a new scanner for this purpose which is how I found your website. You helped guide me on that purchase and the other supplies that I needed for that. Thanks so much!! I look forward to more wonderful information as I go along.

The best thing about your website is how it is organized and communicated by answering the questions that a new scanner has and giving suggestions for those in different circumstances! Thanks again!!”

Donna Tarver

You are an absolute lifesaver!!! I cannot thank you enough for posting this solution. I had ‘lost’ ALL of my photos dating back to 2001 until 15 seconds ago!!

I have been searching everywhere (including more ‘iPhoto recovery software packages’ than you can imagine!!) for the last 3 years, basically I had given up finding them until today when I need to transfer my files to my new MacBook.

Everything has been restored and you have saved me from losing the memories from the last 13 years … If I could hug you I would! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!!

Olivia Tyler

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 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

Your website ROCKS!!!

Rick Ballantyne
Seattle, WA

Curtis, THANK YOU!! You saved my photos!! So happy!!

Kaci Pierce

You had a great idea when you started this website. There are many like us who realize the great things we can do for future generations, while also having a great time ourselves.

Tom B.
Milwaukee, WI

Thank you so much for your series of articles. I've read them all. I started out knowing practically nothing about this. But now I'm ready to review the articles and get started scanning.

You have helped a LOT of folks. And with the baby boomers hitting 65 by the thousands each week the demand for your articles can only go way up.

Clay
Southern California

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

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

You are a truly noble person for all of the people you help without charging them. You help tremendously. Thank you so much!!!

Janique Petit

Dear Curtis, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

I thought I had lost all my photos – but with your help, it was really simple to get them back into my iPhoto! Thanks again!

Marie-Louise

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 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

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