Recommendations for Digitizing Family Memories

Recommendations for Digitizing Family Memories

You probably have more digital images of your bundle of joy than you know what to do with, but what about the older kids, or your own memories? Prior to the late 1990s, most of our family memories consist of yellowed storage boxes and deteriorating albums . . . how are you going to pass those on to your little ones before they become destroyed?

There’s a world of products and services available to help you preserve your family’s posterity and pass on your legacy, digitally. You don’t need a photography degree to be a professional family archivist.

For DIY-ers With Lots of Spare Time

If you decide you want to scan and upload your own images and slides, there’s no great short cut. Scanning your photos and slides is going to take you hours. If you’re up to the challenge, you will need the right equipment and copious amounts of patience.

Choose a Scanner: In 2013, there are a handful of photo/slide scanners that stand out above the rest. Photo scanners have a relatively long shelf life for electronics, but the question remains: will you get your money’s worth? If you have hours to devote to digital scanning and archiving, PC World recommends these scanners:

  • Canon CanoScan 5600F ($126.09-$149.99): The CanoScan works well for photographic prints and film. One of the few in its class that boasts the ability to scan both.
  • Epson Perfection V300 Photo ($99.00-$413.00): The range in price depends on the model and whether or not it has been refurbished, but this is the creme de la creme of multifunction scanners. The Epson Perfection can scan photos, prints and strips of film.

Find the Right Software: Photoshop isn’t always as user friendly as it seems, especially if you’re trying to restore or remove damage to your old media. You could easily get lost in a world of DPI resolution and color correction hues, that’s why tutorials and a detailed reviews of software options are recommended. Although PC Magazine points out that Adobe Photoshop is still the ultimate professional photo editing software, Tech Radar compares the best free image editing software options here.

For the Quality Seeker

If you don’t have the time or you’re not prepared to invest in the digitization equipment yourself, consider outsourcing to a company that specializes in digital archiving and restoration. For about 30 cents for print or slide scanning, you can throw your old media (slides, negatives, prints or film/VHS) into a box and send it away. When your media arrives, professionals will alert you, scan it, and upload it to an online album that you can see in real time.

  • Your images are scanned by professionals in the U.S., and each individual image is hand-adjusted by a professional. P.C. Magazine notes that the turn around time is fast and the quality is noteworthy.
  • CostCo Scanning Services: If you’re uncomfortable sending your media away, CostCo offers on-site media scanning for about 30 cents per slide/print, although they don’t offer much in terms of restoration or color-correction.

As your memories become more distant and digital media continues to take over, how are you going to pass your legacy on to your future family members?

Cover photo of volunteers scanning NASA photos from Flickr user justgrimes.