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Saving your priceless memories

Organizing boxes of old snapshots is a daunting task. That must explain why so many of my snapshots have remained tucked away in one of our closets. It’s been about five years since I have worked on this project, and now, I am ready to work on it again and finish it up. Of course, with technology, the waiting game seems to have paid off. The cost of hard drive space keeps going down, and there are a lot of great options for cheap online storage like Google Photos, Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox and Amazon.

The easiest part of the equation was organizing and packing up a box of photos for a return trip to ScanMyPhotos in Irvine. Their basic package costs $149 and includes scanning approximately 1,800 photos, which includes return shipping. It’s a simple and quick process.

According to Mitch Goldstone, president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos, his company has scanned over 300 million photographs. “There are plenty more to go,” he said. “There are 3.5 trillion analogs photographs, slides and negatives left that people have tucked away in their closets, attics and shoe boxes which need to be scanned before they fade away with the ravages of time or get lost.”

“There are so many new ways to share your pictures once they are digitized. ScanMyPhotos solved Google Photos and other photo-sharing apps’ biggest problem. If people are only uploading recent photos from their mobile devices, what about all those decades of old, nostalgic photos? How do you get them up to cloud storage like Google Photo and Dropbox? The challenge was how to get everything digitized. That’s where ScanMyPhotos came in. We have made it super easy.”

I was ready to complete the process with about 2,000 photographs. I tried out their standard one-box $149 package and used one of their 20% off coupons, available on their website at the time.

It was easy to get the photos ready to be scanned by sorting them into groups of about 100 horizontal or vertical photos each for consistency. I used rubber bands to keep the piles together. You can label note cards to each group to keep your organization on track.

Now is a great time to follow through with the process of making the family photos more accessible and organized. I always have such grandiose plans, but anytime a backup strategy is involved, my head starts to spin.

The process at ScanMyPhotos is quick: About 1,000 photos per five minutes at 300 dpi. There are plenty of upgrades, which cost extra, including 600 dpi or higher resolutions, color correction, extra DVDs or flash drives.

The company carefully packs the return box with your snapshots along with the digital images on DVDs or flash drive (depending on your order) and return them. It offers walk-up service by appointment only.

It’s certainly a process you can do yourself if you have a flatbed scanner and a lot of spare time, but honestly, most people just want to get this project done as quickly as possible. ScanMyPhotos or other scanning businesses are not going to get lost in reminiscing about photos. They get them in and out, and it’s painless.

Next on the agenda is deciding on the best option for cloud storage: iCloud, Google Photos, Dropbox or Amazon. Researching this will take longer than getting my photos scanned. Most of the plans are free for the lower tier of storage. It’s a good place to start before moving up to a higher-priced plan. Don’t underestimate the importance of backing up your irreplaceable photographic images.

Photos are scanned and checked on a computer monitor, above, and digital images are returned on DVD or flash drive, depending on the order.

robert.lachman@latimes.com

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