Preparing Your Photos and Memorabilia for Scanning

Preparing your memorabilia can be as easy as putting it in a box to carefully sorting them chronologically. There is no right or wrong way to do it.


How to organized printed photographs

How To Prepare Your Items for Scanning

Preparing a lifetime of photos can be a huge and overwhelming task but it doesn’t have to be.  Follow the steps below and work through your collection bit by bit.  Enlist the help of family or friends.  Or, bring it in to us, and we can do it for you.  

Whichever way you choose, just do it!  Your photos and videos are such an important part of your legacy and you want your family to be able to enjoy them.

We can do the prep work!

Our photo archiving experts will safely and happily unbox, sort, organize, prepare and label your materials prior to digitizing them. Handling fees apply.

Custom Requests

Because we are local, you can talk directly to us about any special instructions for your project.  Have a wild idea but not sure how to make it happen? Talk to us!

Printed Photographs

Photographs ideally should be loose to digitize. (See albums below for pictures that aren’t loose.)  Remove all staples, tape, sticky film, paper clips or notes from the photographs. Arrange all the loose prints “photo side up”. It is helpful to group like sizes together and temporarily sort them in a large envelope, bag or box so they don’t become a mess from your house to our lab.

  • We can scan the backside of photos if you would like – please make notes to let us know
  • Damaged prints can still be digitized by hand and with care by our archiving experts
  • Sorting services are available (fees apply)
  • We can remove prints from albums or frames (fees apply)

Curate Prior to Digitizing

SORT your prints into piles based on event, subject, person , year or whatever method makes sense to you. Temporarily store each pile in a plastic tote or envelope. Label the container as to how you would like your digital file folders labeled.

ELIMINATE duplicate photos, poor quality photos and pick the best shots from the same event. Share extras with friends and family. Don’t feel guilty about throwing away photos that don’t make the cut.

START. If you have thousands and thousands of printed photos, begin with a small project in mind eg digitize one bin as a Christmas gift or for a 40th birthday.  Or decide to sort through the photos and get all of your favourites done.

Here are some helpful tips to help organize your printed photos and to help store your printed photos.

Albums and Scrapbooks

If you have albums or scrapbooks that you don’t want the photos taken out of, we can scan the album pages directly. You can decide to have the entire page as a digital file, or each photo as its own digital file. We can also remove the prints from the album if you request.  Additional fees apply.

Decide on how you are going to use the digital files and note any special instructions for organizing and labeling each album or scrapbook so your digital files can be labeled appropriately for you to use.


We recommend always storing negatives in their original sleeves or protective sleeving to protect them from dust and scratches. If no sleeving is available, carefully separate each negative or negative strip with parchment paper and transport them in a small plastic bin with a sealed lid.  Note that this is a temporary solution, not long term storage.

Label the sleeves (not the negatives!) with any information you want on the digitized files. Group together any negative sets you want grouped and labeled together.




For the easy going: If you don’t know what is on the slides, or don’t care about the order they are in, just bring them in. We will label them by the carousel that they are in.

For the moderately organized: If you vaguely now what is in each carousel, label it with a short description which we will use to label the ditital file folder.

For the super organized: If you know what is in each carousel and have multiple events in each one, label each carousel eg #1, #2 etc.  Keep a main list on a separate piece of paper with a description of what each carousel contains.  You can then rename and organized them into folders once the slides are digitized.


Put the slides all in the same direction and orientation and store them in a narrow box to keep them in that position. Usually you know which is the front of the slide as it will have either a date or number printed on it while the back typically has the brand name. If the slide says “this side toward screen”, that is the back side of the slide.  If there are no markings on the slide, the dull side is the back, and the front is the shiny emulsion side.

We can also organize your slides and label groups for you.  Handling fees may apply.


Documents and Artwork

Recipes, artwork, certificates, printed documents and dimensional artwork can often be fragile. Separate each item with parchement paper and carefully stack your documents on top of each other for short term storage to transport them to us.  They can be placed in a protective plastic bin or box.  

Video Tapes

VHS and other video tape formats can be placed in a box or bin or sturdy bag. Whatever label/name you have on the video tape is how the digtial file will be named.

Movie and Film Reels

This is the one item that we send out to a trusted provider. Label your 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm movie reels how you would like your digital folders named. For example the year it was filmed or the contents of the reel.  Make sure the film strips are secure and pack the reels in a  box or bin to avoid shifting while you bring them in.

Tips to help store negatives, slides and movies.