Blog Archive

Aiming for the Stars to Hit a Cowpie — My Enlightening Scanning Journey

As a Wyoming farm gal, I was raised with the phrase “It’s better to aim for the stars and miss than to aim for a cowpie and hit.” Well, that’s great advice … unless your goal actually is to hit the cowpie.

My scanning goal really was that simple, but for some reason, aiming at the cowpie just wasn’t working. So I changed strategies and aimed for the stars. The result? Read on to find out. And hopefully, by sharing my scanning journey, it will help you on your scanning journey.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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The Scan Your Entire Life Holiday Gift Guide – 2017

Welcome to my first annual Holiday Gift Guide!

Whether you need something techie for your Dad, meaningful for your mom, big for yourself, fun for your close friend, or a gift card idea for someone you know is going to send you a gift card, Scan Your Entire life is here to help.

My Holiday Gift Guide is full of ideas handpicked by yours truly, all for those who have a love or an appreciation of scanning analog photos and the close topics to it —such as digital photography and genealogy.

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His Journey to Scan 1,978 Photos Began By Just Taking the First Step

A success story from a Scan Your Entire Life reader who offered to share with us his experience and workflow scanning and labeling his personal photo collection.

“It can be done. I know because I've done it. Anyone could be forgiven for feeling intimidated when confronted by the prospect of digitising an accumulation of multiple lifetimes' worth of prints, negatives and slides. However, I recently successfully completed a project to digitise nearly two thousand items despite working a demanding full-time job. In this article we'll look at why I did it, how I did it and how you can do it too.”

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Epson V800 vs V850 — The 5 Differences and Which You Should Buy

So you’re ready to buy a very high-quality flatbed scanner to digitize your analog prints and film, but now you're having a hard time deciding between the Epson Perfection V800 Photo and the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Photo Scanners.

Whether you or an avid hobby photographer, a true professional, or just want to get all the quality you can out of your prints and film, either one of these models is going to give you exceptional results. But, I want to help you feel confident you're going to make the right choice.

Below, in plain English that will make it very easy to understand, I've written out and explained in detail, the 5 differences between the two models.

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How to Batch Change Titles and Descriptions in Photos for macOS

Have you ever wondered how to batch change the name and even the caption of multiple photos at a time in Photos for macOS, to the same information for all of them?

For example, you would want to do this if you had a group of photos all taken on the same day, during the same event, and you want to label them in a very similar way — if not the exact same way.

This is a very common need, and knowing how to do this in Photos is not as easy as it was in its predecessor, iPhoto.

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Q&A: How Do I Add Photos Already On My Storage Drives Into Picasa? (Video)

A lot of people have photos stored in folders on their storage drives, so it makes sense that if you’ve never used a photo manager before, they can seem a little daunting as far as understanding how they interact with your photos already being stored on your computer.

In this Q&A style tutorial video, I answer a question I received from a reader of Scan Your Entire life on how Picasa fundamentally works to select which photos on your internal or external storage drives are used inside of the application.

Basically, I feel what's in this video is the most important thing to understand in order to get the most out of Picasa.

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Photos For Mac: The Good, The Bad, and What iPhoto and Aperture Users Will Miss Most

In June of 2014, we all learned that Apple had been building a whole new photo managing program called Photos for Mac OS X. Later in the same month, Apple dropped a bomb and declared they were also ceasing future development of both of their current applications — iPhoto and Aperture.

Apple did however say they would update iPhoto and Aperture to run indefinitely with Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite. So, as long as you are willing to run 10.10, you could in theory use iPhoto or Aperture for as long as your heart's content.

For the rest of us, we were left sitting there last year, befuddled, with the assumption that Apple must intend for us to eventually move our previous photo libraries over to their new Photos application when it's released sometime “next spring.”

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One Method to Add Photo Captions Visually Below Your Digital Photos

This is a cool way to add captions to your scanned photos without having to rely on embedded metadata. In other words, this way would allow you to have the written caption as a part of the JPEG or TIFF file itself. The main advantage to this idea is not losing your captions over the years (possibly even centuries) should an application “accidentally” delete or write over the metadata contents.

Programs change, data conversion can get lost — this way your caption is part of the photo itself and thus your written information for your photos shouldn’t be lost (the only way this could happen would be to crop it off from the photo). So years from now, people will know who or what is in your photo, and/or any other tidbit you might want to include.

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Q&A: How Should I Modify My Current Scanned Photo File Naming Structure?

Choosing an appropriate file name for the photos in our digital photo collection is something we all have to deal with. And not being able to come up with a consistent system that we are happy with turns out to be one of the biggest reasons we put off starting the entire project.

To help you get past this hurdle, I created a 3-part post series called “What Everybody Ought to Know When Naming Your Scanned Photos” that walks you through the system I came up with and use to name my own photos.

Dan Keiper had already been working his own naming method when he came upon my 3-part series. After a bit of thought, he wrote me to see if he should make changes to what he had already been doing, and to seek answers to further questions that he had.

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Q&A: Should I Store My Photo Collection in iPhoto or Elsewhere on My Computer? Or Should I Use Lightroom?

Maria Ricossa from Toronto, Ontario, Canada wrote to me with the following question:

“Hi Curtis, I have recently purchased a new camera and vowed to be better organized in the photo storage and processing department. A couple questions:

1) Someone told me I should not store my albums in iPhoto but should create picture files elsewhere on my computer. What would you suggest?

2) I am currently using Photoshop Elements to process my photos. Do you have any thoughts on Lightroom as opposed to PE?

Thanks. I look forward to reading your newsletters.” ~ Maria Ricossa.

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How Cameo Narratives Make Your Photo Captions More Meaningful

Photos are the driving force behind the story told in most albums—no photo, no story. But should it be that way?

I want to help you tell a lifestory in your scrapbooks using the events and relationships of your life, not the photos you happen to have on hand, as your primary organizing element. This ordering principle, more than any other, will help you make meaningful lifestory photo albums using photos, captions, and cameo narratives.

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How to Change a Photo’s Date in iPhoto to When the Photo Was Taken

It's very likely there are a bunch of photos in your iPhoto collections that are displaying the incorrect date and time when the photos were taken.

And this isn't just a problem when your photos won't sort chronologically. This will also be an issue for you every time you create a new Event or album inside of iPhoto and it constantly tries to identify them using the wrong date.

Maybe the date and time weren't set correctly in your digital camera before you took these photos. Or it's possible you scanned a bunch of prints or film negatives and they are still reflecting the dates and times when you actually scanned them.

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Photoshop + Lightroom for $9.99/mo. — Adobe's Limited Time Photographer's Offer

If you're a photo enthusiast who uses, or has even thought about using both Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom, you might want to at least consider this deal that Adobe is still offering — but not for long!

For $9.99 a month, when you sign up a one-year plan, you will have ongoing access to the latest versions of both Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) and Lightroom (currently version 5) via their new Creative Cloud subscription model. This is not an introductory price.

But don't spend too long deciding if this is right for you — this deal is only being honored until December 31, 2013.

Honestly, I'm thinking about signing up for this.

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More Thoughts on Choosing to Scan “Duplicate” or Nearly Identical Photos

Curtis raised some interesting points in his post about scanning “duplicate” prints and slides called “Should You Bother Scanning Your Duplicate Photos?”

How literally do you define the word ‘duplicate’? Do you interpret it as being a true, identical image, or more broadly as a third, fourth, or higher number copy of the same image? Or do you perhaps include very similar photos, such as slightly different studio portrait shot poses?

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How Two Lucky Grandparents Were Given Free Restored Photo Treasures By This Internet Thing

I came across a story by Anne Sewell on Digital Journal (via PetaPixel) the other day that caught my attention. Anne found an interesting 7-minute video that had just been posted on YouTube the day before.

It's a fun “time-lapse” video of someone's computer screen while they were doing digital restoration work on a fairly damaged older photograph of a pretty lady and set to a nice piece of up-beat music.

Check out the fascinating video below!

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