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Passing On Your Legacy:
WHY you should archive your photos

Are you afraid you won't pass on your legacy to your children? We've raised kids and they're doing well, but we have so much more to pass on which seems to get delayed time after time. I have a story to tell - we all do - and future generations need to hear it. I don't want to be forgotten - I want my legacy to live on and be valued by those who come after.

And on top of the delays in passing on my story, I'm frustrated beyond words at the way the world jumps up with something I'm unprepared for - time after time! I suspect you might feel that way, too. Who knows what tomorrow will hold? For example, will my mother be around next year to tell me her story? Will I be able to tell my story next year? It's rough to lose someone or something irreplaceable - especially when you could have preserved the legacy.

I'm talking about THE BOX.

You probably have a box of photographs in your closet or under your bed - or worse, in the attic, garage, or basement. You might have several boxes. Most of the photos are probably unlabeled, and ALL of them are fading. Fire, water and mice threaten, too.

Wouldn't it be great to have your photos all preserved for the future, in a form that couldn't fade or get damaged by fire, water or mice? With the colors restored and lighting improved? And they would all be labeled, commented and indexed, and all of your kids would have copies?

Here's what you'll get if you let us help you with THE BOX:

Your photos scanned into computer files, locally instead of across the continent;

  • Color and backlight correction as needed;
  • One full photo restoration included free with orders of over 100 images;
  • Photos scanned in JPG format at 400 DPI to allow for enlargements;
  • Dozen best photos scanned in TIFF format at 600 DPI (lossless archival scans);
  • Your dozen best photos also converted to JPG format files at 600 DPI;
  • Medium-size files (size reduced to 400px height, suitable for web display);
  • Thumbnails included (size reduced to 150px height);
  • Slideshow of your photos;
  • Comments and tags added by you and other family members via web page;
  • Indexes and contact sheets printable on demand;
  • Originals labeled with file names using archival ink, or
  • Originals returned bagged in batches of 10 so you can find the photo from the file name; and
  • Scans returned to you on CD or DVD - two copies, to allow for offsite storage.

All of this for just 37 cents an image!

And there's no guessing. Before you put down a cent I'll scan a dozen of your photos and produce the exact output you'll get with an order. You can see the quality of my work, using YOUR photos.

I will be including several bonuses as well:

  • GIMP, the premier open-source photo editing application;
  • A slideshow creator;
  • Image format and size converters;
  • Polaroid Dust and Scratch Remover
  • Sepia-toned images of all your photos; and
  • One free full photo restoration with larger orders - a $40 value!

Make a decision, though, and soon...

You see, we don't outsource our archiving work so we can only take on so many clients. And you know you've been meaning to do this for years. Be brave! Choose a dozen of your photos and let's get going on your project.

I wish I had.

I was the one who got THE BOX from my folks. I scanned a few of the photos and saved them to a computer, which died before I backed up the files. Then my cousin started doing some genealogy work so I sent him the box. Or I sent it to my sister - I'm frankly not sure where the box is now. I'm trying to get it back, but it hasn't happened yet. I know I have originals there of my grandmother holding my mom when she was a baby. The lovely young mother looks just like my daughter... and I don't have the image.

But I decided that wouldn't happen again: I learned how to properly archive family photos (to the extent of getting Library of Congress advice), and preserved my wife's box of photos. Ain't gonna happen again. And I am going to get my box back and preserve my photos properly.

I'm making this offer available to folks in my area because I don't want you to lose your photos like I did or break the chain of legacy for your kids.

So how will this offer benefit you?

  • Security of mind - you'll have your photos preserved safely, in two places;
  • Restored colors and improved lighting for your photos;
  • Copies of your photos for your kids - and theirs;
  • Your story - recorded as a legacy for future generations;
  • Digital photos you can post to Facebook or elsewhere on the 'Net; and
  • Ability to get prints - on your own or through our local custom processor.

Start on this project and you'll feel a weight lifted. Sure, you have lots of other calls on your life, but you KNOW this is something you need to do. You'll feel a great sense of satisfaction by getting this done.

And if you don't choose me, by all means choose someone, or get moving and actually do it yourself. Here are a few things you need to know (much of this advice is from the excellent website, www.practicalarchivist.com):

  • Wear gloves when you handle your photos: fingerprints will damage your prints;
  • No food or drink on your worktable, and cover your photos when not in use;
  • Scan once rather than many times: the less light you give your prints, the better;
  • Scan at 300 dpi (dots per inch) for your target print size. That means use 300 dpi if you expect to make same-size prints, and 600 dpi for print twice that size by length. We use 400 dpi to permit gentle enlargements, plus a dozen free at higher resolution so you can make bigger prints;
  • Save as a TIFF file if you have the storage space, or a highest quality JPEG file if you don't expect to do much photo manipulation. We customarily scan to top quality JPEG files, with your top dozen or so saved in TIFF format.
  • Also, note that CDs should be duplicated every five years: they do degrade - we'll remind you when the time comes, and can make another copy for you if you need it then.
  • Follow the 1-2-3 rules for archiving:
    1. Have one copy you NEVER alter: make a copy and do your photo manipulation on the copy.
    2. Keep your photo files in two places: here and at great distance so a local flood or other disaster won't wipe out the backup you have two states away;
    3. Have your digital files in three different formats: at LEAST have them on CD and on a hard drive, and hopefully in cloud storage as well. And keep an eye on technology: you may need to change formats as times change.

So how do you know that we offer a good deal, and that we're good folks to do this work for you?

  • 40 years photography experience;
  • 30 years of computer experience (hey, we didn't have 'em before then, OK?);
  • 12 years of database management and web application development for the payroll department of a Fortune 100 company;
  • Local pastors you can call for character reference;
  • Your photos stay in town for scanning;
  • Your photos are handled with gloves and vacuum lifting (to avoid bending or sliding);
  • Your photos are scanned with a new, state-of-the-art scanner with LED lighting (very low UV); and
  • You get your photos back within the week.

What you should you do next:

  1. Get some gloves: I like white gloves (archivists dig 'em), but I also use blue nitrile or yellow latex exam gloves (I can supply them);
  2. Go through your photos, arrange them into basic groups - perhaps by decade or period of one's life (your childhood, your kids, and current photos, for instance), and bag them in food-quality plastic bags (I like the quart storage bags);
  3. If you have a large number of photos, consider grouping by "scan now", "scan soon", and "scan later";
  4. Note: if a photo is of an unknown landscape or is a less-than-stellar near-duplicate of a good shot, it's OK to toss it (gasp);
  5. Set aside your best ones for the high-resolution and TIFF-format scans;
  6. See if any of your photos need restoration (we do color correction and backlight fixes as a matter of course; rather, we're looking for the one that has stains or a missing corner);
  7. Pick a dozen for a sample of our work: include a few with aging color, some with backlighting problems, and one for restoration;
  8. Call me up and we'll arrange to get your sample dozen. We're based in Floyd County and I'm in Christiansburg/Blacksburg most days;
  9. I'll scan your photos and return them to you in two days with the scans on disc for your inspection, for free.
  10. Or... just give me the box and we'll be to work!

I hope we can do this work for you... but please be sure to get going on this regardless of who you hire. Your kids will thank you.

Tim Stephenson
540 577-0933

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