Is it time to create your photo estate?

Is it time to create your photo estate?

Many of us have received photos, photo albums, boxes and/or scrapbooks from our parents and grandparents.  Back in first half of the 20th century not many pictures were taken and the ones that passed on were treasured, that is if you knew who was in the picture.  Fast forward to the present where we are taking pictures at breakneck speed.  The problem isn’t too few pictures, but too many. 

Look at your shelves of the dozens of albums or boxes of photos and think about what really is important to pass on to your loved ones that tells the story of your life.  Trust me, no one looks forward to inheriting 30 photo albums from their parents, however, they will cherish a smaller, curated collection.

Start thinking of our photo (and media) legacy now.  If you plan on passing on any of your photos, videos and film to our children or other relatives, I can guarantee they don’t want everything.  However, they do want something. 

My colleague, Mollie Bartelt defined a photo estate nicely in her book “A Simple Guide to Creating Your Photo Estate.

“A photo estate is a collection of photos, film, video, documents, and memorabilia organized in a manner that allows another person or person to view the photos, learn about the lives documented, and be impacted by the legacy of those people.”


 Don’t be overwhelmed by the term.  The concept of a photo estate or a legacy collection is simple, find the important stuff that tells your story, digitize or preserve it, and share it with your loved ones.

Gather everything together

Here are 8 steps to help you create your Photo Estate

  1. Gather together all of your media – including, photos, slides, videos, film, and memorabilia together.
  2. Organize your media.  This is a good time to eliminate duplicates and bad or unimportant photos and slides.
  3. Scan your important photos, slides and documents and convert video and film.  After conversion, you can also sort out bad video and films from the collection.
  4. Combine your scanned items with your existing digital collection (assuming that is organized).
  5. Add the stories to your photos and other media.  What is important about this photo or video?  This can be added to digitally to photos through the metadata saved to each picture.
  6. Back up your digital collection using  the 3-2-1- method
  7. Preserve your original media in archival storage containers. Yes, don’t throw photos and film away.
  8. Share your digital collection via a cloud service and/or create photos books of the most important photos to share with loved ones.

I will not tell you this will be easy or quick.  No doubt about it, this is a long-term project.  It also may be the most rewarding one you take on.

May Scrapbook Scanning Sale!

May Scrapbook Scanning Sale!

Burnham Creative Group is Celebrating International Scrapbooking Day on May 2nd by offering a Scrapbook Scanning Special for the entire month of May!  If you are a scrapbooker, this is a great opportunity to scan your pages to back up your priceless albums or do it to create a second copy of your book.

For those of you with older scrapbooks, we can scan the whole page as well as individual pictures. This is a great way not only to create a backup of these precious photos but allows you to share them with your family. At Burnham Creative Group we use a DSLR Camera Scanning setup that allows us to easily scan the most delicate albums and photos.

During this time of Covid19 we offer Contact Free Pickup and Dropoff.* How does this work? We can come to your home and pickup your photos in your designated location. We will take them to a safe location in our studio while they will “rest” for 3 days. At that point we can start processing your order. Orders can be delivered via Dropbox or on a flash drive (for a small additional charge.)

Here are our Scrapbook Scanning Sale Prices May 1 – May 31, 2020

Pages up to 8,5.11 Unbound: $0.88
Pages up to 8.5×11 Bound: $1.23

Oversized Pages including 12×12 and 11×14 Unbound: $1.25
Oversized Pages including 12×12 and 11×14 Bound: $1.60

Individual Photos in Scrapbooks: $0.55 

We also offer Photo and Slide Scanning

Standard Print Scans $0.29
Fragile and Thick Standard Size Prints: $0.59
Standard 35mm Slides: $0.99
Others sizes of Slides: $1.19

Take advantage of our sale and finally get those Scrapbooks digitized!

.*Local Pickup in Batavia and nearby Communities.  Minimum Order May apply for Drop Off and Pick Up service.

It’s Time to Digitize Your Slides and Scrapbooks

It’s Time to Digitize Your Slides and Scrapbooks

Many of us have some slides, many have thousands of slides that are shoved away in storage and haven’t been viewed in 30 or 40 years.  It is time to let those slides see the light of day and digitize them so you and future generations can enjoy them!

Not only can we digitize photos, but we can also digitize your slides and scrapbooks. We digitize your images using a high-resolution DSLR, high quality macro lens and a light source behind the image to scan your slides.  (Note that this picture is taken with an overhead light source so you can see the equipment.) 

This type of scanning is referred to as camera scanning.  Here we can completely control light and exposure of each image by scanning them using our Camera and Adobe Lightroom.

The finished scans can be quite amazing. Below is an image from 1972.

Scrapbook Scanning

We originally set up our camera scanning system so we can more easily scan scrapbooks and other delicate media.  Here we don’t have to try to fit our photo or scrapbook on a flatbed scanner, but can handle it more carefully.  Below is the setup for scrapbook scanning using the camera scanning setup.  This configuration allows us to carefully control light and individually adjust for each image.

Not only do we scan whole pages but we can scan individual photos on each page.  This can preserve individual photos of albums you do not want to take apart or are glued to pages and cannot be removed.  I recently scanned some photos as small as 3/4″ from the 1930s and the reproduction looked phenomenal.

I know a lot of people that currently make scrapbooks and they can benefit from digitizing them  So much time and work are put into each page of each book, this is a way to “backup” your books and even possibly make additional copies for others.  Below is a scan of one of my pages when my daughter was about 1 year old. 

I know if something were to happen to this album, I could reproduce it.  If there is a fire or flood, these scrapbooks are irreplaceable.  Scanning the scrapbooks can preserve them.

Think about working on one of these projects in the new year.  I promise you won’t regret it!

6 Steps to Prepare for Scanning Your Photos –  and what you need to know before you get started.

6 Steps to Prepare for Scanning Your Photos – and what you need to know before you get started.

Photo Scanning Equipment

As a photo organizer, I typically help the client through each of these steps.  However, it is good information for do-it-yourselfers or for people to understand the process of scanning photos before you get started.

About Scanning equipment and file resolution
Typically scanning services will have at least one of three types of scanning systems for scanning photos.  A high-speed scanner for standard prints, a flatbed scanner and some may also have a camera scanning setup for larger or odd sized prints.  If you have photos with writing on the back we can also scan both sides of prints quickly with our high-speed scanner.  At Burnham Creative Group we can scan up to 1200 dpi and can also do tiff files for those that want them.  Tiff files are used by libraries and institutions as it is considered a more archival format.  However, the file sizes are substantial.  For most people, photos scanning photos as jpg files is preferred.  Our standard scanning resolution is 600 dpi that allows for printing 8×10 pictures of 4×6 files.

  1. Organize your photos.  Sorry, this is the most time-consuming step.  If they are not organized your scanned photos will not organized. 
  2. Choose the photos you want scanned.  I am not a proponent of scanning everything you have.  One way or another you need to take the time to pick your favorites.  Either you will take the time before you scan and you are selective, or after when you have thousands of digital files to sort through that you have paid to have scanned.
  3. Remove your photos from albums or boxes and label the spaces they came from.  Some people use twincheck labels.  Another simple method is to use small post-it notes.  Number your post-it-notes sequentially.  Attach a post-it-note to the album/box location it came from.  Please note that you should not put the post-it-note on the front of the photo.  Use a soft leaded pencil and put the number from the post-it-note on the back of your photo.
  4. Make sure your photos are clean, with no trace of adhesive. If photos are glued or taped to anything else put them in a separate pile.  They will be scanned separately from your other photos.  Consider wiping photos with a microfiber or lint-free cloth prior to bundling.
  5. Bundle photos in the order you want them scanned.  You may wrap them in a rubber band.
    • Separate them with 4×6 index cards and write the sequence number on each one if you want them scanned in order (if your index cards contain dates, that works too). 
    • Make sure the rubber band is not touching the front of any pictures, but your index cards instead.
    • Feel free add additional information on index cards that will help with organizing the files later.  They will be scanned with the photos.
  6. Decide how much information you want added to the file.  This is called metadata and applying this data properly is the best way to ensure access and sharing to these photos for years to come.  Information includes:  Name and date of event, location of the event, people in the picture and more.  You can even add a description and memories of the event that is part of the data of the photo! 
Use these index cards for scanning your photos

You can put in a box or an inexpensive photo box for transport.  Finally,  If you are doing all the work on your own and you have more than 1000 photos to scan, consider purchasing a ShoeBox Scanning Box for great pricing. 

12 Great Reasons to Scan Your Printed Photos

  1. Fires, flood, storm and smoke damage – it happens.  If your favorite photos are scanned and backed up properly, they will be protected from these disasters.  Who remembers all the photos that were blown miles away during the tornadoes a few years ago.
  2. Save improperly stored photos before it is too late- The process of looking for photos to scan will uncover potential storage issues that may be harming photos.  This will be a good opportunity to remove those pictures from sticky/magnetic albums or other problem storage issues.
  3. Photos do deteriorate – especially if in poor storage conditions.   Take a look at color pictures from the 60s and 70s.  Often they are faded and Yellowed.  When photos are scanned the digital image can be easily color corrected!
Photo Scanned and Color Corrected
  1. The ability to edit – scanning a photo allows the opportunity to not only color-correct, but also to crop, enlarge and otherwise restore pictures, often improving on the original
  2. Sharing – now that an image is scanned you can share with uncle Bob or your sister Sue or you can post to social media.  
  3. Listen or share stories before it is too late – as we treasure hunt through our photos, and photos of family members, it is a perfect opportunity to find the story behind the photo.  The earlier you start the process, the more likely the person will still be around to tell that great story and you can capture it in the metadata of the photo.
  4. Scanning photos now will be readily available when celebrating a special event like a birthday, graduation, anniversary.  This is also especially helpful when creating a photo memorial for a funeral.
  5. Digital photos can be easier to find – if you add file information to your digital files you can search in Windows or Finder for your photos.  Have you been to Disney several times?  Search on Disney and all your photos will be listed.
  6. In a divorce, both parties can have a copy of all the photos.
  7. If you don’t want to do scanning yourself,  scanning is now much more affordable
  8. Create a shared extended family photo collection – often over time, different family members have different photos of different events.  Families can collaborate and share their favorite family photos with others.
  9. Make photo books and all sorts of photo gifts with your new found photos. 

What is photo scanning and is it something you should do?

Photo Scanning Equipment

I was recently talking to a client and asked her if she wanted to scan some of her favorite pictures as we worked.  She asked what I meant by that.  Another question I have had asked is how to “get a printed photo” on their computer.  Sometimes we make assumptions based on the universe that we live in and realize other people might not have the same experiences. 
This is all managed in the scanning process.  When we “scan” a physical document or photo we place it on either our flatbed scanner (many people have these on their multipurpose printers, or on our high-speed commercial scanners.  It effectively takes a digital picture of the photo or document and it saves it to a file on our computer.  This is also called photo scanning or photo digitizing.  Now that the photo is scanned we can do any number of things with it. 

Metadata – photo information

First of all, we add identifying information – or metadata to it. When we scan an image it might be called image_0001 and image_0002.  I will typically name a picture with year-month-day if it is available, and at a minimum, event and location info.  Why?  We want to be able to find these files later.  An example would be  “2017-07-01 Disney Vacation 
Cinderella Castle.”  From there I save it to a file structure I have created on the computer.

Here is what I recommend.  If you have photo albums or boxes, go through them and choose your favorite pictures to scan.  If your photos aren’t organized, you will need to do that first.  If you need help organizing your photos contact us to get one-on-one help. Some people just hand them over and say scan everything, but that really can mean much more work in the long run.  There are clearly photos in your collection that will cause the most stress at the thought of their loss,  these are the ones to digitize.