Scan Mine Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Preparing for your appointment

December 31, 2018

Before the mobile office arrives:

1. Gather all your photographs that are to be scanned.  Be sure to include all the albums, loose photos, photos in baby books and yearbooks, framed and unframed.

2. Remove photographs from albums and frames. Hint: Take photos of your pages prior to removing the photos so you can put them back as they were. If you put a small number on the back in the bottom corner they can be put back in order after scanning.  The more organized you are the smoother and the more cost effective the process.

3. If the photos are dirty,  moldy, stained or sticky, special steps need to be taken.

    Are you going to clean them?  See my blog on cleaning photos.

    If I am going to clean them, my hourly rate applies.  

4. Determine whether your photos will all be scanned into one electronic file (fastest) to be sorted later by you or if you want several different files utilized at time of scanning (this slows the project).

     a) If you want more than one file, determine what names you want for the files       and write them down or email them to [email protected] such as:

     Conrad Family Photos, Griffis Family Photos, 1960s, 1970s, 1980, Grandpa           John, Granny Lee etc.

     b) Keep in mind that electronic files are extremely easy to sort and sorting the 

     pictures after they are scanned will save money. 

5. Sort the photos:

    a) First by chosen file names

    b) Then by size (largest to smallest)

    c) Polaroids can be scanned but due to thickness must not be mixed with other      photos

    c) Be prepared to give them to the Scan Technician in an organized manner.

If you take these steps your cost will be very reasonable.  

Scan  Mine is Regional

February 2, 2019

The following is a map that roughly lays out points that are approximately one hour or less from the base point of crossroads of SR63 and I74.  If in doubt, do not hesitate to call, text (765-585-3713) or email [email protected]:

How to Clean Photographs

February 4, 2019

     This photo is of one of my relatives stretching lace curtains for drying in the sunshine.  I have memories of helping my Grandmother Madeline do this very chore when we spring cleaned her house.  The purpose of this article is to help you walk down path of memories but sometimes those paths are strewn with dirt, mold, ink or unknown issues. 

     Some damage can be corrected and some cannot.  When we begin to preserve our photographic heritage we cannot expect every photograph to be in pristine condition.  Some families were lucky to even have a few photos to keep due to financial difficulties or other tragedies.  Some photographic collections have been lost to fire, flood, tornado, mud slides, hurricane, a three year old's creativity or other disaster. 

     When we salvaged my daughter's family photographs from their home fire, they had escaped flames but the fire departments hoses had drenched them.  We carefully separated them and hastily laid them through out my home to dry.  I have photos of our project to salvage their memories. We had no idea what we were doing.  It was quite a sight. We saved a lot of them.  Some framed family photos that were on the walls were lost.  We were truly grateful that everyone, including the pets, survived and the photographs lost were truly the least of their loss.  This terrible event made us so aware that our precious photos can be up in smoke in minutes.

   What to do if you have damaged or dirty photos to scan? 

  • Treat them gently, the goal is to not create additional damage.  If in doubt and the dirt is not loose, scan the photo first using a flatbed scanner and then attempt cleaning.  If the surface dirt or mold is loose, it can be further loosened using canned compressed air, then using a soft (camel hair) brush or microfiber cloth remove the debris.  Make sure the photo is secure prior to using compressed air.  When you use the microfiber cloth, do not apply pressure, excess dirt and debris can cause further scratches.  Remember always the goal is not to create additional damage. 
  • If the above procedures do not work you might want to use an emulsion fluid like PEC-12.  PEC-12 is a solvent that is flammable and must be used with adequate ventilation and gloves.  PEC-12 (  is designed to remove non-water based damages such as finger oils, grease pencil, tape residues, mildew, smoke, soot and most inks.  A little goes a long way.  Try a test area in a non-essential portion of the photo.  Follow the directions.  Again you should scan the photo prior to cleaning and maybe multiple times during the process.  The beauty of the scans is they can be deleted if everything goes well but are an insurance policy if something goes awry.  Of course you could always hire a professional and should if the photograph is considered fine art or one of a kind. 
  • What I do not recommend:  Some sites will tell you to soak a photo in water.  I do not recommend using water on a photo unless you have several photos that are stuck together or a photo stuck to glass.  Take a new photograph of what you have before you make any attempt to remove or separate them and at each step of the way.  If you have a stack of photos that are stuck together you can try soaking them in room temperature distilled water (no chlorine or chemical treated water).  Use the appropriate size container so you can use as little water as possible and change it often if it looks dirty.  Do not pour the water directly on the to photos.  Be patient and gentle as you separate the stack.  This can be quite time consuming.  Again be patient.  As you separate them, rinse them with clean water, then gently blot the excess water, lay them flat and allow them to dry out of direct sunlight. If they look as if they are going to curl you may want to weight the corners.  Remember any that you save is more than you had while they were stuck in a pile.  You can use the same process for a photo stuck on glass.  Again patience grasshopper. 

Unidentified or orphan photos

March 18, 2019

     My brother Ken and I are regular auction attendees. My husband and I love to haunt little out of the way antique and unique shops. Quite often at both locations we see a plethora of family artifacts but the photos always tug at me. Sometimes they have names or locations but generally not.

      In our office my husband and I have framed and hung several photos of individuals or families photographed with their pride and joy, their automobile. Since we are a “car” family, these are easy additions to our collection. One really fun photo that I purchased is of a garage that we believe was in Danville, IL (though we can’t prove it). There are several cars parked it this large building with big windows with 20 cloudy panes each, reminds me of my Dad’s old shop. There are two guys next to a 1916 Touring Cadillac. They are clearly the mechanics; the dirty coveralls make that clear. The guy with his foot on the front tire and other hand on the hip may be their supervisor. He’s definitely cleaner and dressed in open collared shirt and pants. Then in the back is a guy leaning against another great old car, dressed in a suit, tie and hat. Possibly he is the owner or a well to do customer. We may never know the true story of this picture but we love it.

     Recently we spent the weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. The flea market at the Exhibition Center was the day’s entertainment for me and my youngest daughter. She is a nurse and while at the flea market we found a great old photo of a nurse. I talked her into starting a collection of nurse photos for her spare room wall. I picked up two great wedding photos and plan on creating a collection wall in our master bedroom. My dining room has a great collection of black and whites from my and Jerry’s family. I love them all.

     Collecting “orphan” ancestors from thrift stores or other places is its own niche hobby. My favorite Facebook group, “Weird Second Hand Finds that just need to be shared” has members that quite often share a “second hand find”, that they have adopted. The really fun thing is that quite often they name the people.

     If you have great ancestral photos, by all means display them in your home but if you don’t consider adopting a few the next time your see some “orphans” in a thrift or antique shop.

NOTE: The photo featured with this blog is from the website of orphan photos discovered and shared in hopes of connecting with someone who will cherish the find because it is a relative.  This lady is from Perrysville, IN and her name was listed as Barbara Atwood. 

Give your family the gift of childhood memories for Christmas

October 27, 2019

Exciting new services have been added to Scan Mine. 

We can now digitize your 8mm and Super 8mm videos.  Our pricing has changed so please check out the cost page.  

Book between now and December 15 and receive a 10% discount on any order over $200.00.

How in the world do you figure out how many photos or feet of video do you have?  Well here are some guidelines:

1" stack of photos = estimated 100 photos (unless they are polaroids)

If you are weighing boxes: 6-7 lbs = estimated 1000 to 1200 photos


3" = 50 ft

4" = 100 ft

5" = 200 ft

6" = 300 ft

7" = 400 ft

fire, flood, picture, photos, tornado, hurricane, preservation, preserve, save, protect

Reasons to Digitize

February 4, 2020 

The Number One Reason

Preservation is the number one reason, in my opinion, to digitize your photos and videos.  No one wants to experience a destructive event but they do happen.  Do you know someone who has lived through the loss of their home to fire, flood, mudslide, hurricane, tornado?  Chances are, if they had any warning at all, they made sure the family and pets were safe then grabbed the family momentos, generally the photo albums. Heck, I know people who have lost photos to the destructive actions of an ex and even a toddler with scissors and a marker. 

Beyond destructive events, just age can diminish our photos and videos.  They are fragile and with age they fade or turn funny colors, they get scratched and scraped, torn, folded, crack, flake, get stained or written on.  Videos are rapidly degrading and may not last many more years, depending on how they are stored.

Make a plan to digitize today.  Save them while you can.  Once photos/videos are digitized they are much easier to arrange, sort, share and protect.