Gathering your memorabilia can be as simple as tossing it in a box to carefully sorting chronologically. There's no right or wrong way to do it.

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

Have a crazy idea or highly specific instructions for your project? Great! By using a local archiving expert – you have complete flexibility!


Photographs are most easily digitized when they are loose. Remove all tape, sticky film, clips or notes from printed photos. We can still digitize prints that are stuck inside frames or mounted to album pages – however, we use a different technique. Arrange all the loose prints together with the “photo side up”. If possible, group like sizes together and temporarily sort them in a large envelope, box or bag so they don’t become a messy pile between your home and your local archiving expert’s facility.

  • We can scan the backside of photos.
  • We can remove prints from albums or frames.
  • Damaged prints can still be digitized – with care.
  • Sorting services are available by location.


SORT your prints into piles based on event, person/subject or whatever method makes sense to you. Temporarily store each pile in a plastic bin or durable envelope. Label the container in reference to the contents so your technician knows how to label your digital file folders.

ELIMINATE duplicate photos, multiple shots from the same event and poor quality shots. Don’t feel guilty about throwing away the photos that don’t make the cut.

If you have thousands of printed photos – begin with a small objective in mind. For example, work towards digitizing one bin at a time or work to complete all the scanning for a graduation party.


Your local expert will scan album and scrapbook pages individually. Work with your local archiver to determine whether or not each page will be scanned as one piece/file or if you want images cropped from within a scrapbook or album page. They can also remove prints from albums for you by request. Additional fees may apply. 

Prior to working with your local expert consider the end use of the digital files. Note any special instructions for organizing or labeling on each album or scrapbook prior to digitizing.


Before digitizing 35mm negatives, determine if specific groups of them require specific labeling. If so, group those negatives together and use a notecard or sticky note to indicate how you would like that group named/labeled.

Raw negatives are prone to collecting dust and scratches if not protected. In preparation for negative scanning, we recommend storing negatives in protective sleeving whenever possible. 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. Please note that this is a temporary solution and not recommended for long term storage.


For the easy going:

Want your slides scanned but not too picky about organizing? Bring them in! Your local expert will organize your slides by the carousel that they are in and give them a label.

For the moderately organized:
Know generally what is in each carousel? Leave us a sticky note on the box or inside the carousel with a short description. For example, if you note “1971 – Grand Canyon and Yosemite,” we will make that the name for that carousel and digital file folder.

For the super organized:
Have lots of different events in one carousel? Want to label all of them? Put a sticky note on each carousel and label it “Carousel #1,” and so forth. On a separate piece of paper, make a master list with a description of what each slide or carousel contains. After the slides are processed, you can rename and reorganize them into as many folders as you need.

LOOSE SLIDES: Attempt to position the slides all in the same orientation and direction prior to digitizing. Store them in a narrow box to maintain the orientation. Typically, you can tell which is the front side of a slide, because it will either have a date or a number printed on it. The back of the slide will typically have the processor’s mark (such as Kodak or Kodachrome). If you encounter a slide that says “this side toward screen,” that is the back side of the slide. If there are no markings at all, the shiny emulsion side is the front and the dull side is the back.

Your local slide scanning expert is happy to organize your slides and label groups of files for you. Handling fees may apply.


VHS and other video tape formats don’t require much preparation before converting them to modern digital files. Simply place them in a box, bin or sturdy bag and drop them off. If you plan to request file naming, video titles or wish to group specific tapes together – please sort and label the tapes with that in mind.


Prior to digitizing your 8mm, super8 and 16mm movie reels, you should gather them together in one location/storage bin. Make sure the film strip is securely wrapped around the reel and neatly hooked in place to avoid unraveling. Pack multiple reels tightly inside a bin/box to avoid shifting or tangling during transport.

If you know the contents or year of the footage and would like the digitized file labeled specifically – just attach a note with each reel. If you have multiple movie reels, consider a numeric master content sheet with a list of reels and file name requests.


Printed documents, vintage letters and dimensional artwork are often quite fragile. For short term storage separate each document with parchment paper and carefully stack your documents on top of each other. If the documents are small enough – place them inside a protective plastic bin or sturdy envelope for transport to your local archiver.