Welcome to Scan Your Entire Life

I'm here to help everyday people learn how to scan, restore, organize, preserve, and share your irreplaceable family photograph collections.

From Childhood to Profession

Hi. I'm Curtis Bisel, and I'm the guy behind “Scan Your Entire Life.” It's not easy to explain, but in addition to loving photography and computers from a young age, I have always had an unusual obsession with preserving my treasured items digitally.

Since 1999, I have been working in Los Angeles, digitally preserving moving pictures by editing television shows and documentaries about feature films. And then, in my personal time, I have focused this passion on digitizing my family's photo collection, greeting cards, childhood artwork, videos, and important documents – anything and everything that would be missed if lost or destroyed.

There's just something in me that needs to collect, group, and preserve.

Surprisingly, I didn't start the huge undertaking of scanning our family's entire photograph collection until August 8, 2001. This abruptly ended, however, before I even scanned my second photograph. Even though I deal with many of the technical aspects of digital images in my line of work, it's a bit different from archiving images in that the image only has a one-time use.

Photo of me, waist up behind a large wooden table staring at a sleeve of paper prints in front of a binder full of them.
That's me! I'm organizing some of my original prints after doing some scanning

Archiving photographs, I discovered, is a different animal.  It requires an understanding that from the time of capture, these new digital files have now become the true ‘master files' and will have to serve every purpose asked of them for years to come.

I am a bit older now – and my hair is more gray than blonde

For the eight years in between these two scans, I did a lot of research looking for the magical digital workflow that would meet my quality needs in the future but would also be fairly easy to apply over a large collection. My family's collection is huge – easily thousands of prints and who knows how many boxes of slides. It has to be easy because if it's not, it will feel like work, and I might as well send them off to a scanning service.

Why this “Scan Your Entire Life” Blog?

This site tracks my achievements in digitizing my entire life as I show you how to do the same with yours.

If you're like me – and if you are still reading this, you probably are – you have been singled out as the only one in your family that has this inner passion or ability to preserve these memories. And let's face it … if you don't do it … it probably isn't going to get done! Are you with me on that one?

Even if you have no intention of scanning anything yourself and are planning on using a scanning service, I can still help you immensely with everything you have to do before and, more importantly, after you get your photographs back.

For example, that CD or DVD you just received from the scanning service full of digital files with illogical names like “062295-01.jpg” and “062495-03.jpg” still requires a lot of planning, know-how and work to be transformed into an organized and useful digital collection.

And listen, I am certainly not at the end of the line for knowledge on digital preservation. I just happen to be someone who has thought about it a lot and has researched and experimented to know what seems to work for the average person with modest scanners, software, and abilities. I am still learning more and more every day, but I love this opportunity to share with you what I have learned along the way.

I encourage you to subscribe to my mailing list below and get exclusive scanning and photo organizational strategies that you cannot find here on the blog.


Are You Ready to Get Serious With Your Photo Collection?

Join 10,500+ people enjoying the exclusive newsletter, tutorials, occasional blog updates, and tips and tricks you won't find anywhere else on this website sent right to your inbox.