Organizing Your Photos: To Scan or Not to Scan

Scanning your photos yourself or getting them professionally scanned can be expensive and stressful if you don’t know what you are doing or what questions to ask. So let’s dig in …

Why Scan?

Scanning your photos is a great way to create not only a backup of your printed photos but an easier way to share your images with loved ones. It is not uncommon to hear from my clients that their kids don’t want their physical prints, albums, and scrapbooks; they only want to keep the images that are digital. So my advise to you is to invest in scanning!

The Benefits of Getting Organized before you Scan

It’s a best practice to organize your photos, slides, negatives, etcetera, before you even think about scanning. Why is this necessary? While you organize your photos you are purging what you don’t need or want, including all those blurry photos. You are also evaluating their fragility, and organizing the photos so that they are all facing forward and upright. All of these steps save time and money when it comes time to scan them. If you followed the ABCs of Photo Organizing, your entire “A” group is what gets scanned first. Since you consider group “A” photos the most important in your collection, it makes sense that you prioritize your time and money in getting them digitized first. If you still have time and room in your budget, then you can scan your “B” group of photos.

Should I Use a Service or Do it Myself?

Scanning is a service where you get what you pay for. If you decide to go with the cheapest price per scanned photo, more than likely the company is outsourcing their scanning. Sometimes that outsourcing is to a company nearby and sometimes it is to a company overseas. Ask the company who does their scanning and where. The less your photos are moved around, the better.

Understanding and asking the right questions is key in helping you confidently scan or hire a company to scan your photos. Here’s a couple of informative and actionable articles that can help you as you work on and make decisions about your own photo organizing project and needs:

Art Taylor at Scan Your Entire Life has written a great article, 45 Questions You Should Know the Answers to Before Choosing a Photo Scanning Service that covers everything from resolution, color depth, dust removal, ordering tips, confidentiality and more.

Another great article I’d like to share with you is by Cathi Nelson, Founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. Cathi says that there are three routes you can take when you decide to scan your photos for further safekeeping; you can do it yourself by purchasing or renting a scanner, ship your photos away to a scanning service, or hire someone locally to scan your photos. In the article, What to Know About Digitizing Your Photos she goes over all the steps from DIY to hiring a local scanning company to do it for you.

Hopefully, I have been able to help you understand the importance and the benefits of organizing your photos, both print and digital. I’m here for you if you need more information or assistance to make your dreams of having a system in place and your photos organized once and for all. Stay tuned for more posts on the in’s and out’s of photo organizing as we work together on getting our photos organized in 2017! Any questions or comments, let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Related Articles:

5 Common Misconceptions that Impact your Photo Organizing – Living Peace Tuesday Tip

The Ins and Outs of Photo Organizing – 9 Ways to Stay Motivated

The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Preventing Photo Disorganization from the Get-Go

The Ins and Outs of Photo Organizing: Setting up your Workspace

Organizing your Pictures: Which way is better for you, Topically or Chronologically?

The Ins & Outs of Organizing Your Photos – Identifying Your End Goal

The Ins & Outs of Organizing your Photos: Backup Everything!

Digital Photos – Backup & Storage: How Safe are Yours?

The Ins and Outs of Photo Organizing

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About Gabriela Burgman

Gabriela's mission is to empower her clients with the tools and motivation they need to get and stay organized. Prior to becoming a Professional Organizer, Gabriela worked in a photograph archive as well as several university archives, assisting offices, administrators, and retiring academics to sort through their files for preservation or disposal. She became a professional organizer in 2007 working as an independent consultant before joining Living Peace. When Gabriela is not learning new ways to organize photos or paper both physically and electronically, she is spending time on what matters most to her: visiting with family and friends, reading a good mystery book, or cooking a tasty meal.

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