Category Archives: Blog

It’s been a while!

 

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Whew, it’s been a busy few years since our last blog post!  We’ve dropped the ball on keeping up with the fun and creative blogs, but NOT on our great digitizing services we offer to our clients.

Our hope is that as technology is changing, we can keep you up-to-date with everything you need to know when it comes to digital archiving and how to make the most of it.

Stay tuned for useful, short posts that will be informative and maybe a little funny too!

Until then, please let us know if you have any questions about our services.  We’re happy to help! Contact Us Now

 

VistaPix Media Team

 

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Photo Scanning – How Does It All Work?

Our Photo Scanning Process

It’s a leap of faith to send your cherished photos away to a photo scanning service that’s not in your local town.  That’s why we try to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible by providing 3-way shipping service, confirmation emails when they arrive as well as when they are on safely on their way back to you.

So, what happens from the time you place your order until your photos are returned to your doorstep?

Empty Box is On the Way!

As part of our all-inclusive scanning packages, we will mail you an appropriately sized box based on the package quantity you ordered.  It will arrive within 5-7 business days to your doorstep with a pre-paid FedEx return label and all the paperwork you will need to pack and ship your photos to us.
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If you find that the box we send doesn’t fit the size/number of photos you have, you can use any box that works and still use the FedEx label we provided to take care of the shipping.

Once you have packed your photos and enclosed the instruction sheet, you are ready to ship your box to us.  Drop it off at any FedEx office or location that accepts FedEx.  We’ll email you when they arrive to our facility with the estimated turnaround time for your order.

Turnaround Times

Turnaround times vary based on workload.  When your box arrives, we will email you with the estimated time frame we expect to have your order done (usually between 3-4 weeks). After your photos arrive, most of the time spent here will be waiting for your “turn”.  There will likely be several orders ahead of you waiting to be scanned, so once yours is up, the scanning technician will scan, edit and prepare your discs/USBs all within 1-2 days depending on quantity.

Scanning Process

The assigned scanning technician will remove your box from the pending order shelf and open it up, look for the instruction form, and perform a general assessment of your photos.  If you’ve organized your photos into reasonable groups, it will make it much easier for the technician to begin the scanning process.

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The first step of the scanning process is to rotate the photos to the correct orientation before scanning.  Each photo will be hand sorted (in the same order you arranged them) to determine landscape vs. portrait orientation.  This also will help the technician determine if there are any fragile, curled, sticky or small photos within each group that they will need to treat with care.

Next, a small group of photos (25-50) are loaded into our Kodak PS80 scanner.  The SLOW auto-feed feature allows photos to be scanned at a pace that the technician can watch each one go through to ensure they are scanning correctly, about 30 photos per minute.

 

Once all photos are scanned, the editing begins.  This includes Kodak Perfect Touch, which color corrects older, faded or discolored photos, reduces dust/scratches and enhances contrast.  The technician then views each scanned image to ensure rotation, cropping and overall quality is as perfect as it can be based on the photo quality that was in the order.

The files are then renamed sequentially (ex: IMG_001.jpg) and placed on a disc or USB flash drive.

Ready for Shipment

If you happened to have any overage or special handling fees, those will be collected upon completion and before shipment.  Your photos, disc/USB, and any other accompanying items will be shipped in the same box they arrived in to avoid as much shifting from container to container as possible.  We return everything via FedEx Ground unless otherwise noted on your paperwork.  We’ll email you when your order ships along with a tracking number so you’ll know exactly when to expect your photos safely back in your possession.

 A Word About Timelines

We try very hard to stay on time with an accurate turnaround time.  However, if you include more photos in your box than originally ordered, the turnaround time can be affected by a few days.  Additionally, if other media is included (slides, negatives, video tapes), turnaround times will be affected as each type of media is processed in a separate department of VistaPix Media.  We will let you know if we anticipate a significant delay in processing times and will always try accommodate with quicker turnaround times when possible.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about our processes, please let us know!
Contact us at: 866-227-3401 or email: info@vistapixmedia.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Revitalizing & Restoring Your Wedding Photos

Getting married is one of the biggest milestones you can experience and the special day is definitely one to remember. All the preparation that goes into weddings can take months and even years to plan which makes it even more special because it takes quite some time to get everything the way you want it. Every couple who has gotten married over the years can remember the time it took to plan but when looking back at the photos and video, it was worth every minute. However, are those wedding photos and videos in jeopardy?

wedding photographer camcorder shutterstock_1056366Taking a look back at technology just from 10 to 15 years ago, we were at the cusp of the digital transition and professional photographers & videographers were still heavily relying on film-based devices. This means all those wedding photos that predate the digital evolution are more than likely the only copies you may have and overtime, they can deteriorate. It’s the same situation for VHS tapes, too! Instead of hoping your wedding photos and videos last, it may be time you consider the option of revitalizing and restoring them.

Photo Restoration

Don’t let time jeopardize your wedding photos because restoring and revitalizing your wedding photos could be the best idea yet to preserve their sentimental value. When you restore old photos, you can expect to see faded colors come back to life, fold marks & dirt eliminated and the brightness, contrast and sharpness retouched for the perfect picture. Imagine being able to access your wedding album on a computer and having an infinite amount of copies available – it gives you the assurance that you can always look back on your special day.

Gift Ideas

In addition to the fact that you’ll have a limitless supply of your wedding photos, you can also craft them into fantastic anniversary gifts! But of course, just having them restored and converted into digital copies could be a gift in itself; you can take it another step further with some creativity. Take one of your most favorite photos that feature both of you and frame it as an anniversary gift. Or combine all the wedding photos and videos together for a slideshow! The options can truly be whatever you envision which makes the gift even more unique.

However, your spouse isn’t the only one who can be excited to receive a gift like this because you can also share your wedding photos with the people who were in your wedding. Send your friends, who were in the wedding party, a few print-outs of the group or pass out copies to family members. On top of that, you can share your wedding photos online through social media to let others relive the day.

Are you ready to restore your old wedding photos?

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Living the American Dream!

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Just 3 short years ago, my husband and I started VistaPix Media in the basement of our home with the hopes of making a few slideshows for clients to celebrate the special people or events in their lives.  Within one year, we doubled the goals we laid out in our business plan, and again, two years later. Now, at year three, we fulfilled yet another goal of moving to a facility large enough to handle the growing needs of our customers.

To our many clients over the years who continue to come back, refer us to others, and leave wonderful feedback, we thank you for being such a big part of our growth.

919 Hospital Drive isn’t just an address, it’s a dream come true.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Vista Bartholomew
Owner, VistaPix Media

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Keep Your Memories Alive: Why it’s Worth It to Transfer Your VHS Tapes to DVDs

Thanks to advancements in technology, capturing special moments and preserving memories has never been easier. Whether it’s your daughter’s wedding, your son’s college graduation, or a surprise 50th birthday party, you can conveniently record the moment using your cell phone, iPad, iPod Touch, tablet or other device, and effortlessly store and share it.

tapesBut it wasn’t always that simple. Before all of this easy-to-use technology debuted, video cameras were used to capture everything and then the footage was saved on a VHS tape. If you remember those days, you probably have some VHS tapes still stored in your home – maybe even boxes upon boxes of them. While the days of VHS tapes are gone, you’ll still want to be able to preserve your recordings and watch and share them in the future. Fortunately, you can do just that by converting them into DVDs.

Benefits of a DVD

When compared to VHS tapes, DVDs have a heap of advantages. VHS tapes usually have a shelf life of about ten to fifteen years. Each time you watch a VHS tape, the ribbon wears a little bit more and eventually it completely degrades. DVDs, on the other hand, not only have a much longer shelf life (they may be able to last as long as 100 years), but they can also handle a much higher quality video than a VHS.

In addition, VHS tapes require more storage space, which is why you probably have them boxed or piled together in a room. However, long-term storage is actually harmful for VHSs, which can be easily damaged by temperature fluctuations and dust accumulation. DVDs don’t take up as much space, even when kept in individual cases, and can be easily condensed by placing them into a CD folder. DVDs are also incredibly resilient when it comes to damage, as it takes some drastic heat or cold to even affect them, they can be easily dusted, and water doesn’t do anything to them – the only thing that will usually damage them is scratching.

Watch Your DVDs from Anywhere

If you wanted to watch a VHS tape, where would you go? It’s very rare today to find a VHS player in homes, or even sold in stores. However, standalone DVD players are readily available and many desktop computers, laptops, and gaming systems come with a player built in as well. It’s easy to watch a DVD just about anywhere.

Easy to Share

By converting your videos to DVD, you can share them with family and friends in a number of convenient ways. For starters, you could simply make a copy of the DVD, or send a file to recipients via e-mail. You can also upload it online to your preferred social media sites, personal website or a picture-sharing site.

Get Creative

Not only can you watch your DVD content from anywhere and easily share it, but you can get creative with it, too. DVDs make a great gift for friends and family on just about any occasion, and you can even create a unique cover for the video. Another fun idea is to have your family over one night to watch the DVDs and reminisce. These DVDs are also ideal for teaching your children about your family history, which can be especially helpful if they have a school project.

Turning old VHS tapes into digital DVDs is no small undertaking, especially if you have decades of footage. At the very minimum, you’re looking at hours of conversion and recording. The good news is that VistaPix Media offers comprehensive video transfer and photo scanning services to help you avoid all of that work. Get started on preserving your memories by calling us today at 1-866-227-3401!

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Top 5 Reasons to Scan Your Favorite Photos

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Our photos hold our memories of our most special moments. We can always look back at our pictures and remember the most precious milestones of our lives. While pictures are important, they are very susceptible to damage and, over time, they begin to fade and become discolored.

The best way to protect your favorite photos from wear and tear is to scan them. By scanning your photos and storing them online, you will have endless access to them. You can print more copies for your friends and family and replace your damaged copy. Best of all, your photos will never be lost.

Consider these great reasons why you should scan your favorite photos:

1. Preserve your memories – While our most special memories remain in our minds, we like to have a keepsake of our treasurable moments. Through scanning your photos, you can preserve your memories, and pass those memories down to your younger family members.

2. Organize your photos – When you scan your photos, you will receive an online image file of each photo. This makes it easier for you to organize and sort through your photos. Rather than having to sift through piles of boxes of old photos, you can quickly look through all your photos online. You can organize your photos into separate folders by date and occasion. Whereas physical copies could get misplaced or unorganized, your online storage center will be easily accessible and well organized.

3.  Give copies to your friends and family – Whether you have pictures of your recent trip to Italy or your child’s birthday party, scanning your photos makes it easy to give copies to your friends and family. With a photo scanning service, you can get as many copies of your photos as you’d like.

4.  Create fun gifts – By making your photos digital, you can great creative with your family gift ideas. You can use your photos to create all sorts of photo merchandise, including calendars, photo books, mugs, mouse pads and pillows.

 
5.  Restore your photos – When a photo scanning service scans your photos for you, your photos are retouched and colored corrected to restore them to their original condition. The scanning service will undo any damage done by fading or discoloration.

At VistaPix media, we can help you preserve your photos and your most special moments. Visit us online to learn about our bulk picture scanning and get your photos scanned today!

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Military Spouse Magazine features VistaPix Media

If you haven’t checked out the article yet (on our About Us page), take a look at the feature article about us in Military Spouse Magazine!

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VistaPix Media Featured in Family Magazine

VistaPix Media was featured in the February issue of Family Magazine.  View the full article below!

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Infographic: The History of Video

In today’s digital era, Americans spend about 11 hours with digital media every day. From laptops and televisions to smartphones and tablets, we can access all the videos and movies we want with the simple click of a button. Today, we can easily stream a video from the internet and catch millions of videos on YouTube. According to a recent study, Americans watch more video streaming over the internet than they do with DVD and Blu-ray videos combined. Regardless of the format, videos a top source for people seeking information and entertainment.

The prevalence of video shows how our society has come a long way since ancient times, when people relied on the theatre for communication and entertainment. From the Greece’s classical theatre in the 6th Century B.C. to the Shakespearean plays that dominated the Renaissance era, theatre played a major role in the history of the western world.

Cinematography as we know it today has its roots in the old world theatre. In the past, people turned to the theatre in large numbers to be entertained. While the theatre is still prominent today, people widely rely on videos for information, communication and entertainment.

View our infographic below to learn more about the history of video and to see how film has evolved over time.

History of Video

As you can see, videos have an extensive history and have greatly evolved over time. To preserve your most valuable videos, contact VistaPix Media about our video and film transfer services. You can upgrade your old home videos to newer formats like DVD. Visit us online to learn more!

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We’ve Been Featured on CEO Magazine!

Check out our guest blog on CEO Magazine‘s website.  It’s exciting to be featured with so many other great companies and entrepreneurs!

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Slide Scanning: How It Works

So you’ve ordered a slide scanning package and you’re wondering how to organize them to make the scanning process as efficient as possible.  Here’s some helpful information that will guide you through the process.

Packaging Slides

First, it’s important that you remove the slides from their carousels, unless prior arrangements have been made after speaking with a VistaPix representative.  In addition, if you have AirEquipt slide magazine, please remove the slides from the metal frames as this is an extra $5/per magazine fee if they haven’t been removed prior to sending to us.

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Once your slides are removed from their respective carousels, it’s time to package them up.  We recommend rubber banding them together in groups, then placing that group into a Ziploc bag with a label or number noting the order in which you’d like them scanned (of applicable).  Your order will likely be processed on 4-6 separate scanners, so if you are able to break your slides into at least that many bundles, it will make scanning very efficient.

If your slides are being stored in their original boxes, you can leave them safely inside and label the outside of each box if you know the contents.

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The Scanning Process
Each scanner is equipped with a slide template that we use to scan 12 slides at a time.

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Each scanning cycle is about 40-50 minutes and slides are previewed prior to the final scanning to insure coloration, lighting and cropping are all the best quality they can be.  Keep in mind though, if a slide is extremely under or over-exposed, there is little we can do to correct it.

Based on how you have them organized in groups, you will either have several electronic folders that are named based on the labels you’ve provided or we will scan them sequentially into one single folder if you’ve numbered them.  If there’s no logical order or grouping to them, we reserve the right to scan them at our discretion.

Scanning In Order
Unlike our photo scanning services, it is a little more difficult to keep slides in a perfect order due to the different slide formats.  There are several types of slides as shown below:

Slide Scanning Order

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, our scanners are only calibrated to the standard (and most common) 35mm slide.  If you have any other format, we have to manually crop the images out by hand and the sequential order of your slides can no longer be guaranteed at this point.  We, of course, will make every attempt to keep them in order but quality does take precedence over sequence.

Digital ICE
Our Epson V750 scanners are equipped with a tool called “Digital ICE” which stands for Image Correction & Enhancement.  All slides are processed with Digital ICE because it makes for a dramatic improvement in dust, scratch and spot removal.  Example:

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Running Digital ICE on slides does take significantly longer, but definitely worth the wait!  Even the best-kept slides accumulate some dust particles that Digital ICE can remove.  We also run color restoration to fix the color fading that can occur to slides over time.  This brings back a more brilliant color, reduces orange/green hued slides and makes skies and seas bluer.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised to receive your slide images back in better shape than you sent them!

If you have any questions about slide scanning, please contact us at: info@vistapixmedia.com or (866) 227-3401

Visit our slide scanning page at: www.vistapixmedia.com/slide-scanning

 

 

 

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5 Great Gifts for Your Family

Every time a birthday or anniversary rolls around, we often find ourselves at a loss for great gift ideas. While jewelry may be sentimental, how many necklaces, rings and bracelets does someone really need? You could always take the easy route and get your wife or grandfather a gift card, but why not choose something more special and personal?

With VistaPix Media, you can help your loved ones treasure their most cherished memories. Check out how your photo scanning and video transfer services can help you make the perfect gift!

1.       Video & Film Transfer

Chances are your family members have old VHS tapes lying around with home videos of your family’s birthday parties, graduations, holidays and sporting events. They may even have old 8 mm film that they are unable to watch anymore. Give them the perfect gift by transferring their old 8 mm film and VHS tapes to a DVD format. A DVD will preserve the quality of the video and has a much greater storage capacity. That way you don’t have to choose just one home video; you can choose several!

2.       Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration Services

Does your family member have old photos that are becoming damaged, discolored and faded? With photo restoration, you can preserve their most memorable moments. Photo restoration repairs, retouches and color corrects your photos to make them look just like the original. Whether it’s a picture of their grandparents or them as a child, this is a gift that’s guaranteed to make everybody smile.

 

3.       Video Slideshow

Video Slideshow services

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Video slideshows are a perfect way for your family to relive its most special milestones. A video slideshow is a great way to showcase photos at weddings, family reunions, and anniversary and birthday parties.  Your slideshow will be captured on a DVD, so your family member can cherish and watch it forever.

4.       Family Photo Frames

What better way to show off beloved family photos than with unique photo frames? You can scan and make copies of all their favorite photos and create your own custom frame set. Click here to view great ideas for displaying your photos, including wall collages, upcycled frames, illuminated frames, wallpaper frames and more.

5.       Bulk Photo Scanning

If you’re having trouble choosing a few pictures for a family photo frame or album, don’t worry. With our affordable and professional bulk photo scanning service, you don’t have to choose just a few. Get up to 5,000 pictures scanned for a low as 9 cents per photo. What you create with your timeless photos is up to you. Use them to create a sentimental photo album, a unique photo collage or a cool photo family tree.

How will you use your photos and videos to create the most special family gifts?

 

 

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How to Prepare Your Photos for Scanning

How To Guide:

Once you’ve done the easy part of ordering your photo scanning package from VistaPix Media, the next task is to prepare your photos for shipping and scanning.  There are many ways to accomplish this, but we’ll cover the two most common methods that will make the process smooth for both you and us.

The packages we offer are for loose photos of all sizes between 2×2 up-to 8 ½ x 11.  So, if your photos are still in albums, remove them as best you can to avoid tearing or curling.  Next, you’ll need to organize them based on how you’d like them scanned.  We recommend grouping your photos together in several stacks (100 photos or more) and packaging them in plastic baggies, rubber bands, or paper bundles.  Do not use plastic wrap, foil, or paperclips.

 

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Here are some ideas as to how you can organize them:

Chronological:  Start from oldest to newest and either label your groups with a date range (i.e. 1970s, 1980s, etc.).  We will then scan the photos into individual electronic folders** on the disc/USB according to the labels you’ve given them.  Alternatively, you can simply number groupings according to the order you want them scanned (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.).  Choosing this method will result in your photos being placed in a single folder.

** A Note on Folders: If you’ve labeled any of your photo groupings with a name, date, etc., we will assume you want that group to be in an electronic folder on the disc/USB unless otherwise instructed.  We allow one (1) free folder per 100 photos with each additional folder being $1.00 (limit 50).

Size:  Although not necessary for our purposes, it can be easier to pack photos if they are all in stacks of uniform size.  Place the largest ones (5×7 and larger) on the bottom of the box to avoid bending.  If you have several small photos (wallet size or smaller), please place them at the very front of the bundle they belong to.  These must be scanned separately from standard size photos, so placing them in front where the technician can see them is extremely helpful.

What Not to Do:

Please do not go overboard on the number of baggies/bundles you use.  This makes it incredibly time consuming for our technicians to remove them, scan, and replace them back in their respective packaging.  Likewise, for the safety of your photos during shipment, don’t toss them into the box with no organization whatsoever.  Even if no packaging is used, trying your best to stack them in the box, filling empty space with paper is better than nothing at all.

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Contact Us with Questions:

Following our suggestions will expedite the scanning process and allow us to send your precious memories back to you that much faster.  If you have any questions as you pack your box, feel free to contact us.

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How to Choose a Photo Scanning Service

Check for Reviews

Would you want to trust your valued photos, slides, dvds or film to just any company before checking on what people were saying about their services?  Before choosing a professional photo scanning service, start by checking each company’s reviews.  Almost all legitimate professional photo scanning companies maintain a place on their website where customers can leave reviews for the services provided.

Photo Scanning Services

Additionally, most companies have social media sites like Facebook and Google Plus where current and potential customers can communicate their likes, dislikes and concerns.  Be wary of any company with multiple negative reviews… especially if company management hasn’t responded to rectify the issue.

View VistaPix customer reviews and testimonials at these locations  and connect with us!

Check for Hidden Fees

Not all photo scanning services are the same.  A very common tactic for some companies is to offer low package prices, but nickel-and-dime the customer with add-ons that you should expect to be included in the price.  For example, some companies offering multiple discount scanning packages charge up to an additional $31.50 per order for image rotation.  Conversely,

reputable photo scanning serviceVistaPixMedia.com offers flat rate photo scanning packages where all scanning, editing and shipping costs are included in the advertised price.  There shouldn’t be hidden fees when buying a photo scanning package.   If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  You don’t have to pay extra for photo rotation, scanning in a specific order, scanning photos other than 4×6, color correction, etc. Do your research and beware of the hidden fees that result in high costs to you, the consumer!

Where Do They Scan Your Photos

Beware of companies and photo scanning services that outsource your media, even to India!  Your most precious family memories should not be shipped around the world to be digitized.  Some companies outsource their work to save on overhead costs.  But, the reality is these companies are still the most expensive in the industry.  VistaPix scans all of our customers’ media (photos, 35mm slides, negatives, film reels and movies) at our facility in Sanford, North Carolina.

Turnaround Time

Turnaround time on your photo scanning project is also extremely important.  Again, check for company reviews.  Many companies won’t guarantee a timeframe for completion of your project without additional charges.  However, it is not uncommon to find out that a company will hold on to your pictures for 4-6 months before completing the order.    A reputable photo scanning service will have your order complete in 3-4 weeks, or less!

 

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Helpful Solutions for Organizing your Digital Photos

So you’ve had your bulk collection of analog photos scanned and converted to digital files, now what? Seeking out bulk photo or slide scanning services is an important step in preserving and protecting your old photos, but how these digital files are organized after scanning can be important, too. The benefit of having scanned photos can be undermined when files are disorganized or lost, so it’s helpful to think about how you plan to access and continue to protect your photos in the years ahead. Though customers of our bulk photo or slide scanning services will receive a CD-ROM compilation of their scanned photos, it may be wise to consider how these photos can be best organized.

  • First, consider the benefit of making additional copies of your digital photos. Though not necessarily essential (given you now have both physical and digital copies), an additional CD of photos could prove valuable in the event your original is lost. Making multiple copies of your digital photos also presents new opportunities for sharing these memories with your friends and family. The image files on your CD can be easily burned and transferred to a blank CD using the basic burning features typically included on a personal computer.
  • Digital photos can also be housed on a desktop or external hard drive for permanent safekeeping. Organization really matters when photos are downloaded to photo management software, which also comes included with most computers now. We suggest organizing downloaded images into separate folders within your image library or on your desktop screen based on logical, clearly-labeled categories. Maybe it makes the most sense to divide digital photos by time period (perhaps by year, decade, etc.), or maybe it’s wiser to create categories specific to individual family members, major life events, vacations, etc. The number of photos you can store in a folder is up to you, but for easy management, we suggest maintaining folders with less than 200 photos.
  • Additionally, when importing images to your computer it’s helpful to take the time to write out image tags. These are descriptions used to make each individual photo more easily searchable in an image library (their function is similar to that of a Twitter hashtag), so it’s wise to make them simplistic and intuitive. Something like “Grandkids Christmas 2014″ would work well for photos of, you guessed it, your grandkids unwrapping Christmas presents last year. Note that when categorizing photos by a specific date, whether in an image tag or folder title, it could be helpful to list the year first for more expedient searching in the future. We’re more likely to remember the year in which an event occurred, rather than the specific day or month.
  • Photo organization can also be accomplished through the use of some free, easy-to-use web programs. Sites like Shutterfly, Flickr and Picasa allow users to upload and organize their digital photos to a private user profile that can be accessed from anywhere. Not only does this provide another viable option for organization, it affords added versatility. Images can be viewed from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop in addition to a personal computer, and can be accessed by anyone with your login information. In other words, it eliminates the need for copying photo files from a disc or sharing them through email attachments.
  • Furthermore, the purchase of an accompanying thumbnail photo book or a USB flash drive (both of which we offer), can further streamline the photo organization process. A thumbnail book will provide convenient photo reference of which analog photos are contained on your CD, while a USB flash drive offers enhanced portability and expedited file transfers.

Ready to convert your old photos to digital files? Learn more about bulk photo scanning by VistaPixMedia.com!

 

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