My Inspiring Photo Scanning Progress Report for April 2012

by Curtis Bisel
updated: February 9, 2024
Curtis Bisel
February 9, 2024

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.

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 it will only be 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 each morning, which turns out to be about 30 scans. 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 who tells you how you should scan your own photos but then sends all of my own to a photo scanning service to do the work for me.

I have absolutely nothing against these services. In fact, I love them! But, I want to prove not only to myself that I can do this but also, more importantly, to you how almost anyone can scan and organize their own photo collection!

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

My Scanning Progress for April

Alright, so here’s what I was able to accomplish with my photo collection in the 30 days of April.

My Scanning Progress — April 2012
Date Total Scanned Type Time Spent
Apr 01 26 Prints 39 mins
Apr 02 37 Prints 65 mins
Apr 03 32 Slides 65 mins
Apr 04 32 Slides 76 mins
Apr 05 16 Slides 45 mins
Apr 06 47 Prints 53 mins
Apr 07 75 Prints 82 mins
Apr 08 24 Prints 54 mins
Apr 09 32 Slides 65 mins
Apr 10 32 Slides 75 mins
Apr 11 17 Slides 44 mins
Apr 12
Apr 13 32 Slides 65 mins
Apr 14 32 Slides 64 mins
Apr 15 17 Slides 51 mins
Apr 16 35 Prints 51 mins
Apr 17 51 Prints 68 mins
Apr 18 32 Slides 64 mins
Apr 19 32 Slides 77 mins
Apr 20 11 Slides 30 mins
Apr 21 32 Prints 62 mins
Apr 22 55 Prints 98 mins
Apr 23 32 Slides 72 mins
Apr 24 32 Slides 65 mins
Apr 25 10 Slides 28 mins
Apr 26 32 Slides 82 mins
Apr 27 32 Slides 86 mins
Apr 28 31 Slides 71 mins
Apr 29 32 Slides 73 mins
Apr 30 28 Slides 52 mins

29 Days of Scanning!

For Love of the Game (1999) Theatrical Poster
Copyright Universal Pictures

I was so excited to see the results for April because I really thought I had scanned all 30 days of the month. That really would have been an achievement I would have been proud of.

Then I saw it —  I had only scanned photos on 29 days. I missed a day. I missed one stinking day!  Oh no!!!

What happened on April 12th!?  Why had I missed that day? Oh right, I see here in my notes I spent my “free time” that morning finishing up a post for this site so I could get it published.

Well, I suppose that was important and worth missing out on a Perfect Month.

(I just put it in capital letters trying to convince myself scanning a Perfect Month is as important as a baseball pitcher pitching a “perfect game.”)

Which by the way, speaking of a “perfect game,” does anyone else love the movie “For Love of the Game” as much as I do?  Yes, make fun of me if you choose — I just never get sick of watching that one even though I know how that game is going to end! That movie can make a grown man cry. I mean almost cry sort of.

Okay, so maybe next month I won’t miss a day of scanning. I am going to really try hard to make that happen.

April Subtotals

So here I am going to break down all of these numbers a bit more to give you a better idea what your schedule could look like when you scan your own photo collection and how much you can expect to accomplish.

Photos Scanned:

Photos Scanned – April 2012
Type This Month Last Month Difference
Paper Prints Scanned 382 269 +113
Slides Scanned 546 545 +1
Totals 928 814 +114

That’s pretty impressive — I am very happy with scanning 928 photos in one month. I thought 814 last month was really good, but I just beat that.

Imagine if your entire collection was only a couple thousand photos, you would be done scanning in just a couple months if you were on this schedule.

In fact, I just sent emails back and forth in the last few days with J. Zenock who is new to this site and asked for some advice on how to start scanning his 2,000 photos collection. He was thinking about using an inexpensive scanning service near him, but after our correspondence, he decided scanning them himself was the way to go.

So J. Zenock, if you are reading this, know that you can get her done … and in just 2 months if you set your mind to it!

Total Time Spent Scanning:

Total Time Spent Scanning – April 2012
Type This Month Last Month Difference
Paper Prints 9 hr 32 mins 6 hr 27 mins +3 hrs 05 mins
Slides 20 hrs 45 mins 23 hrs 03 mins -2 hrs 18 mins
Totals 30 hrs 17 mins 29 hrs 30 mins 0 hrs 47 mins

Considering that I scanned 114 more photos in April than I did in March, it makes sense that I put in some additional time.

Average Time Spent Scanning:

Average Time Spent Scanning – April 2012
Item Avg. This Month Avg. Last Month Difference
Time to Scan a Print 1 min 30 secs 1 min 26 secs +04 secs
Time to Scan a Slide 2 min 17 secs 2 min 32 secs -15 secs
Time Spent Daily 1 hr 3 mins 1 hr 8 mins -5 mins

It doesn’t appear at first that these numbers changed that much this month. It might almost seem like I am already hitting a plateau where my scanning time is about as fast as I can make it.

But, notice I was able to shave 5 minutes of time off the average time I spent scanning daily. Five minutes compounding daily can really add up over time!

And, understand I am not rushing in any way. I am not about cutting corners which would then compromise quality. What this tells me is I have become more efficient and my “muscle memory” is improving in the process of dusting slides or wiping photos “clean”, numbering photos (labeling them), moving them in and out of the scanner etc.

Additional Photos Added:

So I added this chart to my progress report because I learned that my original count of total photos in my collection was going to fluctuate through the process.

Either I determined my wife and I were off a little bit with the original count we did (no one’s perfect when counting 9,000+ photos in a few days), or I found or was given additional photos from family members.

Additional Photos to Collection – April 2012
Type This Month Total Collection
Paper Prints 38 3,546
Slides 2 5,812
Totals 40 9,358

So in the process of scanning 546 slides in April, I had a few little slide boxes I had miscounted. In two of them I was short. One had 4 more and another had 7 more than I had originally counted. The third was actually over by 9 — I must have been watching television when I counted that box! So, in total the slide count averaged out that I was only off by 2.

White slide box marked as a count of 80 slides inside
Here’s the top of one of our many little boxes full of slides to be scanned. Notice how I marked this box containing 80 slides from my original count. (It actually has 84!)

Look a Special Package of New Prints for My Collection!

Padded envelope on table with photos inside
Look what showed up on my doorsteps April 21st… more photos for my family photo collection !!!

With my paper prints, I was blessed this month by a gift from my Aunt Karen who sent me a small yet also “huge” package through the mail!

My Aunt was aware of this website and how much work I was putting into my family’s collection. And this led to conversations about what it was like for her and my Dad growing up.

So one day, kind of out of the blue, she told me she had started gathering up some photos she has from her and my Dad’s side of the family that she thought I would really like to have in my collection.

She didn’t mention when she might try and send them to me, but she was very sweet and made me aware beforehand not to get my hopes up and expect like a huge crate full.

My shipment is very small. You may be disappointed. There are, however, a few shots that you may really be “tickled with”.

Then, not too many days later, I opened our front door and found a small padded envelope on the front steps. I don’t recall it taking very long before I had opened it up to see what she had passed along for me. 🙂

Looking through photos just mailed to me in package
This is actually me looking through my Aunt Karen’s photos for the first time that she had just mailed to me.

My Aunt was right that there weren’t that many. But, I certainly wasn’t at all disappointed.

Of the 38 photos she sent, about half of them were of events I was present for growing up. I am in many of them, looking happy yet awkward as most anyone else does at those ages.

But, the other 15 or so shots were much older — before I was born. They were of her and my Dad when they were little kids, back when photos hadn’t found their way to color. I had never seen either one of them this young before! Nor had I seen any of my Grandparents (their parents) this young as well!

Amazing! What a thrill! What a day!

If you’re reading this Aunt Karen… thank you again so much! 

I want you to know that  — if you want and allow the positive to occur — one of the best parts about scanning a family’s worth of photos is as you share your endeavors, it becomes more than just you and the photos. Your family and friends will begin to become invigorated when they hear about and see what you have done. And then your project that felt so “just you and a lot of work” will start to take on a life of its own.

I mean, who knows what will come of it for you!

Editing Count:

The editing count is the number of scanned photographs I have taken the time to “correct.” This could be anything from straightening, cropping, removing additional dust and scratches, and color correcting the photo. Some photos may need a lot of editing, while others may need next to nothing at all.

If you choose to do any or all of these corrections on your photos, you can either do some or all of them right away in your scanning software, or do like I am doing and do them later in a piece of editing software — such as a “non-destructive” image manager.

Photos Edited – April 2012
Type This Month Last Month Difference
Paper Prints 0 1 -1
Slides 0 6 -6
Totals 0 7 -7

You can easily see I didn’t do any editing this month. Like I said in last month’s progress report, the editing isn’t as much of a priority for me right now as the scanning, organizing and labeling. And, it’s really helpful to do this while my family members are still with me and can help, so I’ve decided to put most of this off until the end.

Final End of Month Counts

So now, since we’re almost finished here, I want to present you with where my photo collection stands after finishing up three months of scanning.

These totals are what I now focus on. They really let me know how far I’ve come, and how far I have left to go.

Total Scanning & Editing Counts as of April 30, 2012
Type Current Scanned Count Current Edited Count Scanned Count Last Month Edited Count Last Month Total Collection
Paper Prints 1,024 1 642 1 3,546
Slides 1,633 11 1,087 11 5,812
Totals 2,657 12 1,729 12 9,358
This Month Last Month
Scanning Scanning
28.39 % 18.56 %
Editing Editing
0.13 % 0.13 %
Entire Project
14.26 % 9.34 %


I’m closing in on 3,000 scans under my belt and … wait does anyone ever say “under my belt” anymore?

… and I am now a little over 28% finished with the scanning.

That’s starting to really feel good. I’m sure once I cross over the 50% scanning hump, then it will really feel good! But, I say this still feels as good as fingernails on a fresh mosquito bite. Come on, you know that feels good!

Your Newly Scanned Photos —The Fruits of Your Labor

Even though personal photos can rarely mean anything to someone outside of one’s family, at the end of my Progress Report posts, I like to share with you the best part about scanning your photographs — the reward — the “fruits of your labor”.

I can’t possibly share with you all 928 photos I scanned in April, nor would you ever want me to!

But I would like to leave you with a few (unedited) photographs that have a lot of meaning to me and just might — I hope — resonate in one way or another with you too.

If you haven’t digitized your own collection yet, then just wait! I bet you’ll find photos with similar importance just like these!

It’s so extremely rewarding. 🙂

Thanks for reading this report! And after you check out my photos — if you haven’t already — go make your photo collection a priority in your life!


Post-It Note note with a message "Here are a few very special ones I want to share just with you :)"

Blue dune buggy in front yard grass

Photo #01760

For me, seeing this photo for the first time is like seeing a “long-lost” brother I never got to meet. See, my Dad bought this dune buggy before I was born, and then sold it before I was old enough to have a memory of it!

Today, he doesn’t speak very fondly about his time with this little guy. Maybe it’s because the soft top made it excruciatingly loud or leak water inside when it rained. Or possibly it was because the manual transmission was tough to shift.

All I know is that he was an architect living in a land-locked state where sand was nowhere nearby and yet he still owned a dune buggy for a short period of his young adult life. I think that’s pretty cool!!!

Aunt and Dad posed outside on the sidewalk

Photo #02409

I especially treasure any early photos of my family members older than me because there really just aren’t that many of them. It was a time when photos of your children growing up were more of a luxury than a necessity.

This is one of the 38 photos my Aunt Karen sent me this month. I don’t think I had ever seen a photo of her or my Dad when they were this young until now.

So far, I’ve found very few photos of my Dad’s early years in our collection. What a blessing it is to finally have some. Thanks so much Aunt Karen!

Little girl dressed up posing on front sidewalk

Photo #01771

Isn’t this the cutest thing — my Mother dressed completely up from head to toe and posed on the front sidewalk like she’s hittin’ the town!

My Mom still almost looks just like this now, but here she’s just shrunk down even shorter if that’s possible!

Three guys sitting on carpet putting Sunday newspapers together for paper route

Photo #02376

Okay, this is probably a historical photo to the “iPad generations” — anyone born in say the 1990’s and later. My brother and I had paper routes growing up so we could afford to buy our Michael Jackson records and play arcade games at Champ’s Rollerdrome.

So, this is what Saturday evenings looked like in our family room. Two parts of the Sunday newspaper arrived Saturday afternoon and we had to collate them together. Then, at 3:30 a.m. Sunday mornings, the front-page “news” section arrived and then we had to add it to the first two.

My Mom’s poor 80’s brown carpet, it must have just been saturated with black ink! I look back now and wonder how and WHY in the world I ever did this job! (You can see how enthused I look to be doing it there in the foreground! hahaha) I hope my sticker and comic book collection was worth it!

Above ground children's treehouse being built

Photo #01921

Ah this is such a wonderful memory. I guess I don’t really ever have the right to feel sorry for myself because I grew up with not just one treehouse… but two. And what child didn’t want a house to call their own.

This photo is the construction of our first one. Since my Dad was an architect, it wasn’t too much of a stretch for him to design this “no tree” treehouse and have my brother and I assist him while he built it. I doubt I was much help since I was so young. (That’s me up high on the right) I probably only hammered in a nail or two here and there and held his “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug of soda pop.

But, I can certainly say I enjoyed the heck out of this little house of ours. I remember one time my neighbor friend and I convinced our parents to let us sleep outside in it and we woke up the next morning to delicious bowls of Pac-Man cereal. Childhood memories — you can’t beat them!

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.

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