Archive for the ‘preserving family photographs’ Category

Preserving Your family Photographs Promotion

This month I am running a promotion on Preserving Your Family Photographs. Get your copy today for 20% off using coupon code: 2NP8BZDW

Enjoy and have a great day!

Why I Love my Flip-Pal

I generally don’t brag about products and services, but I just can’t stop talking about the Flip-pal scanner.  Here’s why.

When I opened the box I was surprised to the brightly colored packaging. I don’t know what I expected to see, but the whole appearance was so friendly looking.

I removed the package from the shipping container and thought “ Oh No, it’s one of those impossible to open plastic boxes.”  Not so.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily I could remove the scanner from the container.

I love the weight and size of the scanner. It’s small enough and light enough to carry in a large handbag. Since there are no external cords, it’s perfect for travel. I took it with me to an event last night and scanned a photo on the spot in about a minute. 600 dpi jpg in a moment.

Lifted up the lid and saw the sample photo. Great reminder of just how large the scanning surface is.

Once you’ve scanned an image you can preview it on the tiny screen near the buttons and menu that let you select resolution, set the date, and other things.

When I want to upload images, I use the memory card (like the ones found in digital camera’s) and insert it in the USB drive.  Upload is easy-peasy.

You can scan larger images using the stitch feature. Remove the cover and flip the scanner upside down on the oversize print. The see-through base lets you see what part of the picture you’re actually scanning. No guess-work.

Now that cases are available, I bought one. This little gem is going with me everywhere!

Don’t expect it to work like a dedicated bigger scanners such as the Epson in my office.  It reads the glass in cased images rather the daguerreotype or ambrotype, but for most types of images this is perfect for the genealogist on the go.

Did  I mention the price? $149.99.

Digital Photo Suppliers: Top 3 Questions to ask

With all the companies jumping into the digital photography market, it is important to vet the suppliers before trusting them with your photographs.

Here are 3 important questions to ask:

  1. How do they process your film and make images accessible online?
  2. Can you download images from their site?
  3. How long do they store the images?

If you have any questions or need advice about online photo storage or digital photography, please email me at or fill out the request form on my website


The Digital Age: Photo CD/DVDs

Initial testing of the first CDs gave them a life expectancy of only 5-10 years maximum. Today, manufacturers are creating CDs, that according
to estimates, will last between 30 to 100 years, or as long as 300 years depending on the type of disk.

Longevity depends on a few factors–proper storage conditions, careful handling, and limited exposure to light. In addition, the dyes used in the manufacture of the disks can affect their longevity.

The larger issue with CD/DVD technology is the retrieval of the material written on them. Again, the question is whether the equipment will be around to allow you to look at the files in five, ten, or twenty years. Even if the material lasts to the outside date of 300 years, will anyone really be able to look at your photo disks?

Libraries and archives are very concerned about digital preservation. The Library of Congress has an informational page ( which describes saving everything from email to digital photos.

If you have these same concerns, Preserving Your Family Photographs goes over steps for planning for obsolescence. I also talk about proper storage, handling and labeling of CDs and DVDs to minimize the risk of losing your precious photos.


In 1975, an engineer at Eastman Kodak used a camera with image sensor chips that weighed 8 pounds and took 23 seconds to capture the scene. While a digital camera was used at the 1984 Summer Olympics and during the first Gulf War, the first commercially successful digital cameras didn’t debut until 1990. The technology has come a long way since then. Now we have cameras small enough to carry in a pocket.

Digital photography has become most popular recently. However, according to photographic conservator, Paul Messier,, digital photography has all the traditional issues of preservation – chemical, biological and physical, but electronic files add a new problem—obsolescence. This has 2 components, file format and hardware obsolescence.

Discussion of these issues as well as solutions are covered in Preserving Your Family Photographs. You can get your copy HERE to access the information.

Movie Film

While home movies are not technically photographs, they are often part of a family photograph collection. In fact, it would be difficult to find a family without at least one reel of 16mm or 8mm color movie film.

Movie film first became available in the same 35 mm formats used to make early commercial films. If you own any 35mm motion picture film, please contact the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute at the American Film Institute, 2021 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027, Telephone (323)856-7708. Since nitrate film was produced from 1889 to 1939, most of the early movie film is unstable and should be transferred to safety film.

All color film, both still and motion picture, fades. You should follow a set of guidelines to slow the deterioration of your home movies.

For more information on those guidelines and caring for your movie film. See Chapter 7 of Preserving Your Family Photographs or email me at

Film and Glass Slides

There are basically two types of slides, those on glass and the film slides we have today.

While copies can be made of both types of slides, the image quality will not be the same as the original because it is a duplicate.

Glass slides are often confused with glass negatives, but two important differences exist. Also called lantern slides, glass slides, are a positive image and a standard size. The positive image on each lantern slide is sandwiched between two pieces of glass. These slides include a paper mount and taped-sealed edges. Glass negatives come in a variety of sizes and are negative images.

Lantern slides remained popular from 1850 until approximately 1950 and these slides are still used today in many academic disciplines. The introduction of inexpensive film slides in the 1950s replaced them.

Contemporary slides consist of the image and a mount.

There are three types of mounts currently available.

  • Glass
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic

Guidelines for handling slides and for storage can be found in my book. Or, feel free to email me.

Cold Storage

Cold storage of color materials has been around for a few decades. The leading authorities on cold storage of color photographic materials are Henry Wilhelm and Carol Brower. They found that cold storage discourages the fading and deterioration of color photographs.

Supplies needed for cold storage include:

  • Freezer (frost free)
  • Ziploc airtight polypropylene storage bags
  • Disposable examination gloves
  • Metal storage boxes

A lot of people like to store photographs at home. Instructions for cold storage can be found in my Preserving Your Family Photographs book.

Don’t want to do this at home? You can rent space from a commercial cold storage facility called Hollywood Vaults (800) 569-5336.

Queries and Answers:What’s the Worst Photo Album?

Whenever I present my lecture on Preserving Family Photographs I’m asked the same question, “What the worst type of photo album?” The answer is magnetic photo albums. They aren’t really magnetic, but the glue strips or dots on the acid paper pages acts like one. Your photos STICK to the page and you have trouble removing them. Over time the glue will stain your images.

While I don’t advise taking apart family photo albums, when confronted with a magnetic one it’s a different story. Purchase a new album with acid and lignin free pages and non-pvc polyester overlay then carefully remove all your images from that nasty magnetic one and recreate the order of the images on new pages.

I know..the next question is “How do I remove them?” You can gently slide a piece of dental floss between the image and the page or you can purchase a microspatuala from a library supplier and try using that to remove the images. Just be careful. It is possible to tear a photo with the floss or the spatula.

Make me a promise. No more magnetic photo albums, no matter how cheap they are on sale. Stick with the good stuff. Look for acid and lignin free models with polyester overlays. They will last.

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