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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Before Embarking on World Travel, Family Preserves Precious Photos

Charlotte Kaufman and her family are preparing to embark on a self-manned sailing cruise around the world - how exciting! But before they leave, they're getting their affairs in order. Naturally one of the most important items on their list is preserving all their precious photo memories. 

She's recently had thousands of her photos scanned and digitized by the experts at and she loves the results! Read her rave review on her blog, Rebel Heart, re-posted below, and follow her pre-sailing blog for updates on their upcoming travels: they're planning to set sail in mid-August. We wish her family safe travels!

What do this photo:
Detail of a gargoyle at the Benedictine Palace in Fecamp, Normandy, France
And this photo:
Charlotte and Marco with Lucerne, Switzerland in back groundAnd this photo have in common?
Morrisette family in Murfreesboro, TN, circa 1982Answer: they were all digitally scanned by Scan My Photos, International. Scan My Photos is a photo and slide scanning service based out of Irvine, California that helps people preserve memories, time, and money by digitally scanning the hard copies of their photos and creating backs up on discs or external hard drives in order to preserve those memories forever. 
As we prepare to leave for a world cruise one of the biggest issues we have faced is how to safely preserve keepsakes, like photos, so we don't have to worry about them while we are gone sailing. Some cruisers rent a storage space and leave treasured photos behind. Paying for a storage space is not in our monthly cruising budget. Others leave important items with family and friends. I have done this before when I lived in Europe and came home to find my boxes placed on the dirt floor of a basement, soaked through with water damage.
Needless to say, I have been looking for a way to ensure that my memories won't be ruined while I'm gone.
Enter Scan My Photos. I contacted them to see if they'd like to work with me to get my memories safe and secure before we leave for our world cruise. I'm so happy they agreed! In case you are curious about how the process works, I've outlined it below based on my own experience. 
I was a little skeptical when a large, thin envelope showed up in my mailbox. For some reason I figured that I would received a big box, but inside the envelope was a pre-addressed, flattened box that I just needed to form and then tape securely before sending back. I was also impressed with the detailed instructions that came with the order.
I already had a memory box of organized photos set aside for this project and it fit snugly right inside the box that Scan My Photos sent me to ship back to them.
The photos in my memory box were organized by life event but after watching this video on how to pack my photos I realized I also needed to organize them by size. Scan My Photos also recommended making a paper cover for each stack of pictures so I could organize them once they were sent back to me as digital files. 
Out came the handy-dandy paper cutter:
Once everything was packed the way they suggested, I sent off my box of memories and crossed my fingers that everything would be alright. Don't get me wrong, working with Scan My Photos was a smooth experience every step of the way. Still, to put something precious like that in a box and hand it to postman can make you cross your fingers that your pictures come back safe and sound.
And then I waited.
And within two weeks...POOF! The box was back!
I quickly ripped it open to make sure everything was included just like how I had sent it.
Everything looked great. Now I have a box of organized photos AND two discs full of high-resolution images of my memories. Awesome.
I also have classic photos like this:
Morrisette Family circa 1983And treasured photos like this:
Me and my little sister, Sariah, circa 1983And all of these memories are backed up digitally. I didn't stop at just having the photos on disc though. I uploaded the photos to an external hard drive and will be mailing that hard drive to my younger sister (picture above :) for safekeeping while we travel. I also uploaded all of the photos to my Picasa Web Albums. Now I have the photos triple backed up. And that makes me breathe a sigh of relief.
A couple of final thoughts on working with Scan My Photos:
- I loved that they are based in and do all of their work in the USA (some of their competitors ship your photos overseas to scan them).
- They offer great options like 'Photo Soap' that automatically "fix" a lot of the imperfections of older photographs for you.
- Check out this link for all of the additional services they offer (like image rotation and a photo index book to help you quickly find what you are looking for.) 
- Even if I hadn't been preparing for a world cruise, I would have wanted to get this done anyway. When I went through my old photos I had to peel them out of yellowing photo albums which would have eventually destroyed the photos. Now I can share the pictures I uploaded online and have my family collaborate to tag, date, and identify everyone in the pictures. Brilliant!
- And if all of these reasons don't convince you that it is time to get your photos scanned, check out this piece that KTLA did on Scan My Photo's services and remember that a natural disaster, or home fire can happen to almost anyone and that if you aren't prepared, you are really going to miss all your pictures!
Scan Photos, 35mm Slide and Negative Scanning, Photo Restoration, Digital Printing -