Yesterday I reviewed the Doxie Flip scanner, a great tool for converting your print photos (and other items) to digital files. I have already converted all my print photos to digital files, but I’ve done this over a number of years. My aunt, on the other hand, has thousands and thousands of family photos, slides, and negatives in addition to newspaper clippings, legal forms (such as wedding licenses), drawings, and much more. She’s got the time to scan all of this stuff and is willing to do it as the family historian, but what if she didn’t have time and/or interest?
Scanning is definitely a time-consuming activity. Speaking only of photos, you’ve got to place the photo, scan the photo, examine the photo inside the scanning software, perform any edits required, and then save and name the file. Repeat. Again. And again… and again.
Print photos aren’t indestructible. They don’t do so well with fire or water, and many photos will fade over time due to the chemicals used so many years ago in film processing. You’ve probably heard a number of stories over the years about individuals surviving fires and floods who are able to replace things such as TVs, phones, computers, and furniture. But it’s always the personal items that bring the tears. I remember one news item recently from one of the many fires out west that showed a woman sifting through the remains of her home and pulling up a metal frame that contained a photo of her entire family. The photo was completely destroyed, and the woman said something about losing all her family photo albums and such. This is heartbreaking stuff. And fortunately, with today’s technology, it just doesn’t have to happen anymore.
You may have a large collection of photos that you’ve been wanting to scan, but maybe you lack a scanner… or the time… or just the desire to do it. If that’s the case, and you really want to ensure the survival of your photos (and some other things), I’d like to point you to ScanMyPhotos.com.
Similar services exist all over the place, but this one has been around for a (relatively) LONG time. Since 1990, ScanMyPhotos.com has performed backup services for over 300,000 people, and is fast approaching 200,000,000 scanned images. In a nutshell, they send you a special box in the mail, you fill it with your photos and send it back (postage paid), and they scan the images to DVD and return both photos and DVDs to you. (BTW, they’re in Orange County, CA, so if you’re a local you can make an appointment on the website for a walk-in scanning session!)
Here’s a video that offers a basic explanation of how ScanMyPhotos.com works, and you’ll get to hear from Mitch Goldstone, the owner. I’ve spoken with Mitch on the phone, and I could tell he shares my interest in backing up the valuable things in our lives.
They have different sizes of boxes, and they have multiple box deals (one being six large boxes capable of holding 10,000 photos!). The entire process takes around 4 weeks or so, but they do have pricing options if you are in a REALLY big hurry. You choose between 300DPI (fine for display on digital screens) or 600DPI that is recommended more for archival purposes or reproduction.
ScanMyPhotos was featured in a Weather Channel piece, and you can see just how fast these folks can get your photos scanned. And the woman who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy just breaks my heart in this video:
In addition to photos, you might also be interested in their other services — they convert slides, negatives (35/120mm), VHS tapes and 8mm, and even perform photo restorations. Do you have a bunch of those special APS (Advanced Photo System) cartridges that were around in the ’90s and have since gone away? They can grab the photos from those cartridges as well and put them on DVD.
I’m not getting paid to promote ScanMyPhotos. I’m just that sold on the service they offer as well as their reputation. Check out the website and you can see dozens and dozens of companies that rely on ScanMyPhotos as well as a number of news items that have been done that have referenced the company. Their free 3-way shipping is a smart business decision, making it as easy as possible for people to back up their memories. Just pack it, ship it, and wait for the DVDs to arrive (along with your originals). If you’ve been considering backing up your photo collection, don’t delay… no excuses. Get those items scanned! (And, of course, make a copy of a copy of your DVDs and try to place one copy in two or more locations — my in-laws and my parents both have a box containing DVDs full of my family photo backups.)
Finally, I’d like to thank Mitch for offering up a great contest giveaway to one lucky US resident commenter. ScanMyPhotos will provide one winner with its standard Prepaid Photo Scanning Box (300DPI) — squeeze in as many photos as you can! One winner will be selected at random from all valid comments that respond to this request: Describe a photo you have that is irreplaceable. All comments must be submitted on or before 11:59pm PST, November 14, 2013. The winner will be alerted via email and must provide a mailing address to ScanMyPhotos.com.