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This past Sunday was Mother’s Day and I’ve been so fortunate to have had the most amazing mother in the world and equally as lucky to marry a woman who is just as loving to our kids.

Sadly, my mom passed away in 2000 from colon cancer. I was just getting started with my website at the time but I had learned the miles and points game years prior so I had some miles in the bank. When my mom was first diagnosed, I knew it was time she finally go on her dream trip. So I cashed in most of my miles to fly her First Class to Europe. We saw where her father was born in Denmark, took in a show in London and visited Paris, where she would have worked and lived after earning a full scholarship from Parsons School of Design. However, her plans got sidelined when she met my father. When my siblings and I questioned her about why she gave up that trip to Paris, she told us: “I chose to design a family instead of clothes.” She was truly one of a kind and you can read our eulogies to her here.

I only tell you this because I ended up taking my mom on two back-to-back summer European trips before she died. Back then, we only had cameras with film, which were a pain to keep track of (and keep safe from airport x-ray machines), not to mention, the film was expensive. Then we had to wait to see how the photos turned out and spend a lot of money to get them printed … and extra if we wanted them in hurry, which I always did. And then … the photos sat around in boxes.

I put the best ones in photo albums, which are now in storage bins. I scanned some of the best ones using my printer/copier, which was a long and tedious project. It would seriously take a couple of hours just to scan a handful of photos: Place the photo face down in the scanner, close the lid, wait for the scanner’s bright light to painstakingly slowly inch its way across the photo and then start the process all over again. Then I had to crop the photos in an editing program.

If you have 50 photos, it’s easy to do but if you have hundreds or thousands like me, it’s a total time suck, time which can be much better spent with my family, working, playing sports, watching sports or honestly, watching paint dry.

When I stumbled upon a huge box of old photos while organizing my office, I DM’d my buddy and tech guru Rich DeMuro and asked him where he recommends I send the old photos to get them digitized. He wrote right back and said: “The best place is ScanMyPhotos.”

I’ve heard of ScanMyPhotos before so I wasn’t surprised by his recommendation but I just wanted to be sure since these photos are some of my most prized possessions. The photos are from growing up, college and my trips to Europe with my mother – none of these can be replaced so I didn’t want to hand them over to just anyone or spend the time scanning them myself.

It turns out, started out in 1990 as a boutique retail photo center in Irvine, California. Originally named 30 Minute Photos Etc., they offered fast and affordable photo processing for local customers. Today, ScanMyPhotos uses cutting edge technology and a team of trained professionals to offer photo, negative, and slide scanning, video and film transfer, and photo restoration services to millions of customers around the world.

I logged on to their website, chose my package and placed my order. Full disclosure: They gave me a deal on my order but they’ve also agreed to give readers 25% off on every one of their digitization orders, plus any add-ons. Just use promo code JOHNNYJET.

I watched their video on how to box up the photos and sent them off. The most difficult part for me was organizing the photos into piles of up to 200 with photos of all the same size. For some reason, I had photos of  various sizes. Then, as instructed, I took a note card of the same size (or cut it down) and wrote what each pile was about to make for easier organizing.

I sent in 2,000 photos and used their concierge service so I would get updates about when my box was delivered, when they started to scan the photos (they even send a video of them actually being scanned) and when they were on their way back via FedEx.

Once the photos were scanned, I received a link within minutes with the whole download. Just like that, I had all of the photos on my computer, which made it easy to share them with my siblings and keep them safe if, God forbid, there was ever a house fire, a flood or we got robbed. I’ve also backed them up on multiple external hard drives.

Their service, quality and care has been great and I’m now motivated to get even more organized. ScanMyPhotos also preserves slides, film negatives, VHS cassettes and home movie films so I’m going to send some of those in next.

As they have written on their website: “To go time traveling and rediscovering past vacations, family reunions, and special memories, has the technology to transport you back to the future. They are like a magical time machine to revisit your childhood, remember long-lost relatives, beloved pets, and nostalgic adventures. Getting digital copies of your archives is how to turn back time to see your family as they were – to take a trip down memory lane.”

I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

3 Comments On "The Easiest Way to Digitize Your Old Photos"
  1. Michelle Tabler|

    I used ScanMyPhotos some years back to scan 50 photo albums worth of photos – 15,000 photos! I had started scanning them myself, but soon realized it would be a full-time job. The price (I ordered boxes when they ran specials) was reasonable and well worth the saved time and effort. The hardest part was pulling the photos from the sticky backs of the older albums without tearing the photos! And yes, then organizing them by size with index cards for dates in front of each stack. Now other family members have the DVD’s. At some point I will transfer all the DVD’s onto thumb drives – the next step in technology!

  2. Charlie|

    I got their email today saying “America’s Travel Expert wrote about ScanMyPhotos!!” :-) Nice!!!

    I can vouch for them. Great service and good prices. They also scan negatives including the APS format stuff. I’ve used them numerous times and have always been happy. If you sign up for their email list, they also include specials too in that.

  3. Derek Hydon|

    I can also vouch for this company, we digitized 10,000 photos from the whole family 13 years ago. I used handwritten index cards to sort, Worked a dream, we immediately threw away all those originals except a few treasured ones and we’ve looked at past pics way more often than looking at the originals. Highly recommended.

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