Blog Archive

Should You Bother Scanning Your Duplicate Photos?

I've read the average family photo collection, made up of prints, slides and negatives, is about 3,000 photos. And of all of those photographs, there's a good chance a portion of them are duplicates.

Back when we created paper prints from our developed rolls of film, it was common to pay a little bit more to have some extra copies, or at least a duplicate set. These were either stored away as a backup, or most likely, shared with someone else in the family.

And now, as you are going through your collection of prints, getting them ready to scan or send off to be scanned, you will find yourself faced with this important question.

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45 Questions You Should Know the Answers to Before Choosing a Photo Scanning Service

You’ve considered scanning your collection of photos but for some reason or other, possibly because you don’t want to invest the time or money in buying a suitable scanner and learning how to use it properly, maybe because you don’t have the time to do the job, you’ve decided to hire someone to do the scanning for you.

How do you decide which of the various companies who offer this service you should choose?

Here is a list of 45 questions you should ask any vendor (scanning service company) you might be considering trusting your precious original images to.

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How to Change a Photo's Date in Picasa to When the Photo Was Taken

It's very likely there are a bunch of photos in your Picasa photo collection that are displaying the incorrect date and time when the photos were actually 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 folder or album and it constantly tries to use 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 paper prints or film negatives and the dates are still incorrectly reflecting the date you did the scanning.

Either way, you'll be happy to know as of version 3.5 of Picasa (changelog), you now have the ability to easily correct the date and time of your pictures and videos using the following steps.

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All My Pictures in iPhoto Disappeared! How to Safely Get Them Back

iPhoto is so good at protecting your precious photos, that in those very rare times when something actually does go wrong, it's hard not to just freak out and think you really have lost all of your photos!

Luckily in situations like this, you are able to recall some clues that could make you realize your photos are actually still on your computer. It's just that you can't figure out how to get them to show up again in iPhoto.

This is exactly what happened to Abdullah and his iPhoto collection.

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How to Write an Autobiography: The Secret Tips to Finally Get Started

Something unusual just might happen to you when you start working with your family's photo collection:

You may suddenly get this urge to start writing about what's happened to you in your life and why it meant so much to you.

And what's even more surprising, you may also have an overwhelming desire to ask your loved ones to start writing the same about their lives!

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The Benefits of Recording Your 35mm Slide's Exposure Number

Did you ever notice those little 2-digit numbers printed at the top of your 35mm slides?

I have to keep in mind some of you reading this may have never even touched a roll of film in your life!

It's scary for guys like me to think that's even possible, but it really is since we live in a time when digital cameras have been affordable since about 2000.

For the uninitiated, [cough] when you shot pictures that would be developed as those little plastic or cardboard slides you later projected onto a large screen for family viewings, you used a special roll of film in your camera.

One of the choices you had to make when picking out a box of film was how many exposures you wanted.

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How to Get iPhoto to Store Your Photos Inside or Outside of the iPhoto Library (Managed vs. Referenced)

If you're an iPhoto user, have you ever wondered to yourself where your original photo files are actually stored on your computer?

I mean, you know they're stuffed in there somewhere. You just honestly haven't really seen them with your own eyes in a long time.

I can't think of anything that should be more important to an iPhoto user than knowing where they are really saved.

In fact, it's so important that I decided to put together a nice little tutorial video explaining these basics.

This is the foundation of how iPhoto works.

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How to Date Photos When Even Your Family Can't Remember Them!

Q&A: A couple of years ago, I started organizing my digital photos the way you showed in your naming scanned photos post, instead of by subject, etc.

I'm just now starting to archive all the photos my Mom has. As we are taking them out of the albums (which, by the way, I hate those old “magnetic” albums–the photos stick to the pages), she is telling me who is in the pictures, etc.

Most of the ones we are doing now are the real old ones–her family photos and my Dad's family photos. Some are dated and/or have captions to help identify them, but several don't.

The problem is she can't always narrow down the date enough to come up with a year. So that's causing me to have a lot of photos with '19xx-xx-xx' as the date. There aren't really any other family members who will know the answer so I doubt if the dates will ever be completed.

Any suggestions as to how to handle situations like this so I don't have a long list of '19xx' photos?

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What Would You Take?

This is a guest post by Trevor Rumsey.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the November 19th, 2012 issue of People magazine which talked about some of the stories of rescues and survival around the recent superstorm Sandy that hit the Eastern seaboard of the United States.

One article entitled “Found in the Wreckage” (pages 58-59) caught my attention. The article spotlighted eight different families whose homes were destroyed by the storm.

It showed each of them holding the possession that they grabbed as they frantically abandoned their home to escape the storm and save their lives.

As I was reading the article I started to put myself in their place and to think about what would I take if I only had enough space and time to grab one or two things?

As I thought on this it didn’t take long to come up with the answer.

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Could This Be the Most Ingenious Way to Scan the Backs of Your Photographs?

When I started scanning my photo collection, I had no plans to scan the backs of my prints.

This is even considering that maybe 60% of my family's prints have handwriting on the other side. It's either a date when the photo was taken, the names of people in the photo, or sometimes — like in the photo above — a lengthy description.

But, over the last several months, I've really been considering digitally capturing the backs of my photos and archiving them away too.

Here are three reasons why.

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Are 99.9% of Your Photographs Just Not Important Enough To Save?

If this was your entire photo collection sitting in this trash can in the photo above, would this make you actually feel relief … or utter panic?

What if I added to this scenario. What if to the best of your knowledge, all of your photos sitting in the trash were already scanned and safely backed up on a couple of your hard drives.

Do you now feel relieved … or still utterly panicked?

From everyone I have talked to about this scenario, it seems safe for me to say that I believe the world is in somewhat of a divide whether it's actually okay to throw away your prints and slides once they have been scanned and digitally preserved.

And for some, hopefully not too many, I am sure they would say it's okay to throw away many if not most photos before they were scanned and preserved.

Yes. You heard me.

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Behold! The New SYEL Design and Why I Changed It

As you can probably see, I made some big changes to the look and feel of the site this weekend.

I didn't hate the old design, in fact, I am still quite proud of it. It was really the first website I have ever done all of the design work (CSS “coding” & layout) myself from top to bottom.

It was a labor of love — and one that I spent way too much time tweaking!

I learned a ton in the process. So, even though I probably should have spent more of my time writing posts for the website, I can't say I regret any of it.

But, it's been a couple years now, and we are all accessing the internet in new and different ways. We aren't always surfing on a nice big laptop or desktop screen anymore. Now it's smart phones and tablets, and my website always needs to grow and adapt to the ways in which you would like to access it.

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Best Photo Slide Box to Safely Archive Your Slides — Logan Slide File Review (Video)

If you’re looking for something to store all of your 35-millimeter slides in, you should consider checking out the slide file made by a company called Logan.

It’s a very nice all-metal box with a hinged lid, two metal clasps to keep it shut and a little handle to carry it by.

I bought three of these because I actually couldn’t find what I thought I was looking for, which were these small, little cardboard boxes that hold maybe 70 or so slides that my dad had been using for many, many years to keep his entire slide collection in.

The Logan Slide File is about US$29.95 a piece. When I bought mine they were $26.95 so they’re not cheap. But almost anything slide-related seems to carry a premium right now in the digital era. But from every slide container I found, this seemed to be the best.

I was very happy to read that this slide file box has been made for about 40 years now and for those who like buying US products, you will be happy to know that they’re all made here in the United States in the City of Bartlett, Illinois.

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My Inspiring Photo Scanning Progress Report for May 2012

Welcome to my fourth monthly progress report covering the month of May 2012!

Last month was a fun month for me. Not only was I this close (holding two fingers close together) to completing a personal goal of mine to scan every day of an entire month, but I also received a package from my Aunt Karen with a bunch of amazing old photos of her and my Dad when they were kids that I had never seen before!

This month, was… not so fun.

For me, this month was insane! So read on, I'll tell you all about it.

Every month, I am posting a detailed report — just like this one — sharing with you how far I have come with my goal to scan and restore my entire 10,000+ family photo collection.

By doing so, I hope to inspire you to do the same!

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Itoya Art Profolio Marker — Photo Safe Archival Pen Review

When I first started scanning my photo collection, I starting out writing on the back of my prints with a fairly dull pencil. However, I pushed down extremely lightly though as to not etch through to the other side!

But, you know, I just really hate using pencils now.

I'm an adult now. I already had my fair share of NFL pencil sets in the 1980's. I feel like I have moved past pencils in my life.

What I really wanted was a decent ink pen that I could feel safe using on photos and slides. And if I had to make a list of the qualities I was looking for in particular, it would look something like this:

My Dream Photo Pen Criteria:

Photo safe, Non-toxic, Permanent ink, Fade resistant, Dries quickly, Will not smear once dry, and Won't bleed through.

Did this one pass the test?

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If You Don't Add This to the Filename of Your Scanned Photos, You'll Probably Hate Yourself Later

Whether you keep all of your scanned master (original) image files in folders on a hard drive, or you allow an image manager like Picasa, iPhoto or Aperture to manage them inside a library file, you will still be required to give each photo a filename.

It could be as simple and non-descriptive as “photo-1.jpg” or maybe even simple yet somewhat descriptive like “mom at the beach 1984.tif”.

But, it's actually a very important part of the process of scanning photos, that if done with a little bit of forethought, can save you a lot of time and headache later.

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My Inspiring Photo Scanning Progress Report for April 2012

Welcome to my third monthly progress report!

Last month I covered two complete months of scanning, but I learned that was just too much to talk about!

So this time is only one month and it'll be a lot shorter.

What This Progress Report Is Really About:

Every month, I am posting a detailed report — just like this one — sharing with you how far I have come with my goal to scan and restore my entire 10,000+ family photo collection.

By doing so, I hope to inspire you to do the same!

In my first progress report, I set a goal for myself to do a little bit of work on my collection every single day. I shoot for about an hour a day which turns out to be about 30 scans a day. And I am going to record and detail each one of them so that you can learn from my transparency.

I don't want to be “that guy” — a guy that tells you how you should scan your own photos but then sends all of my own to a scanning service to do the work for me.

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13 More Reasons Why You Should Already Be Scanning Your Photo Collection

Guest post by: Art Taylor

If you've been reading the post comments on this website in the last month, I'm sure you've seen 1 or 7 detailed comments from a man named Art Taylor.

I haven't met someone in some time who is as passionate about preserving photographs as he is. And since he's been so generous sharing his scanning experience with others, I couldn't help but take him up on his offer to write a few guest posts for us.

Art has been an amateur photographer for over 40 years, taking close to 50,000 or more slides and negatives on film. But, what really got my attention was his love for trains. Even though I can't say I have ever ridden a real train — just miniature ones in amusement parks — I just love them. Most of Art's photo collection was taken of trains and railroad-related subjects.

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My Inspiring Progress Report for February – March 2012

Hey, welcome to my second progress report!

Every month, I am posting a detailed report just like this one sharing with you how far I have come with my goal to scan and restore my entire 10,000+ family photo collection.

By doing so, I hope to inspire you to do the same!

In my first progress report, I set a goal for myself to do a little bit of work on my collection every single day, and I am going to detail each one of them so that you can learn from my transparency.

I don't want to be “that guy” — a guy that tells you how you should scan your own photos but then sends all of my own to a scanning service to do the work for me.

I have absolutely nothing against these services. In fact, I love them!

But, I want to not only prove to myself that I can do this, but more importantly, I want to prove to you how almost anyone can scan and organize their own photo collection too!

It's not impossible. It's just about putting in the time, energy and devotion.

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How to Get Your Photos Out of iPhoto With Your Titles and Descriptions Intact

A reader writes, “Hi, Firstly, thank you for your tips about adding descriptions in your post ‘The Best Way to Add a Description (Caption) to Your Scanned Photos.' I tried what you suggested with iPhoto (’11), but the description was not exported to Preview and it wasn’t included in emailed photos.”

Hey Carol, thanks for your comment! And you know I bet there are a lot of people having this problem, so let me try and shed some light on this.

You bring up a shortcoming that I think iPhoto has — well really, a lot of the image managers and photo editors. I mean Apple makes it so easy to change the titles (names) of your photos and add descriptions (captions) to them, but it seems anytime you want to do something with these titles and descriptions, well… you can't.

The problem is iPhoto and a lot of photo managers appear to be a little stingy with the information you type into them. It almost seems like they are afraid that at any moment, you are going to consider jumping ship and leave them for a different photo manager, so they make it harder than it should be for you to get all of your hard work out from it.

The good news is there are ways to get your photos and descriptions out, you just have to do it in the few ways iPhoto allows you to. It's basically the equivalent of as asking, “pretty please?”

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