Washington Post Q&A Interview with ScanMyPhotos

Grateful to Jura Koncuis for inviting ScanMyPhotos to her weekly Home + Design Guests Talk program. Click here to follow along.

Q&A: Mitch Goldstone at ScanMyPhotos on how to unclutter old photos

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Nov 07, 2019

Mitch Goldstone is the president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com. He has been a pioneer in the field of photo imaging since 1990. The e-commerce photo-imaging company has digitized 600 million pictures and is located in Irvine, Ca. If you have shoeboxes and tattered photo albums full of old family photos, this is your chance to get some tips on how to get your photos under control.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. She and weekly guests, whether Martha Stewart, Marie Kondo, the Property Brothers or Amy Astley, editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest, answer your decorating, design and decluttering questions. Jura is always happy to whip out her paint chips, track down a hard-to-find piece of furniture or offer her seasoned advice on practical living and organizing. For more than 20 years, our Thursday Q&A has been an online conversation about the best way to make your home comfortable, stylish and fun. We invite you to submit questions and share your own great tips, ideas, and gripes. No problem is too big or too small.

Mitch Goldstone is president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com. He has been involved in photo imaging since 1990 and his Irvine, CA company helps customers preserve memories. His work digitizing snapshots is particularly important in this era where fires and floods are destroying irreplaceable family photo archives. Ask him your questions about your own issues with preserving your boxes and albums of photos.

Mitch Goldstone

Hello Jura, I am delighted to be here with you and discuss this important topic to declutter those decades of family photos. No more procrastination as it’s no simple and extra affordable to finally digitize and safeguard all photo memories at ScanMyPhotos.com.

While there are loads of pointers from our experiences and knowledge from having digitized 600 million photos, the timing is extra relevant.

Last week in California, billions of irreplaceable family photos were destroyed by the wildfire firestorms, and the losses keep occurring — from hurricanes to just the ravages of time. 


If your shoeboxes of family snapshots and infrequently visited photo albums are covered in dust it’s time to bring all into the digital age to safeguard and share those precious memories.  


Mitch Goldstone, CEO, ScanMyPhotos.com   

I was lucky to purchase not only my wedding photos (30 years married!) but all of the negatives (35mm film) I’d love to digitize but no one seems to handle 35mm film? Can you refer to me? THANKS!

Good morning ... WOW 30 years that is GREAT.  It's also great that your photographer allowed you to purchase both your photos (make sure you do have a copyright release from your photographer for your photos) and your negatives (35mm).  

While it is quicker, easier and more economical to digitize photos you will get a better quality scan from negatives and we do scan 35mm as well as 120mm negatives.
You can follow this link for information on 35mm film scanning: https://www.scanmyphotos.com/negative-scanning/35mm-negative-scanning.html

What a timely topic! I have a zillion slides that I’d love to have digital versions of instead of physically storing them all. That would be prohibitively expensive to have done. Is there a DIY alternative? It needs to be one that is faster than loading one at a time into a manual scanner unless it has an auto-feed mechanism.

Slide scanning is very tedious, while there have been some auto-feed solutions we have found them not to be very reliable and can damage some of the slides.

The simplest way to digitize loads of 35mm slides is at this link for ordering fill the box service.  We do all the work:


I have a TON of photos (both prints inboxes and digital). I could kick myself for not doing a better job managing negatives (like, labeling!), tossing duplicates (whether prints or digital), and categorizing so I can find what I’m looking for Where do I start?? THANKS for the topic of this chat!

Knowing how to start a project like this is probably the most difficult part of the process.

Best is to take a deep breath and start by sorting through and separating your negatives from your photos and then trying to categorize them my year/event etc.

After that, you will then have a better idea of what your next steps should be.

Here is the link to our site:


I have thousands of digital images from trips and family functions. What should I do with labeling and storing these? My printed photos are in scrapbooks with captions, but these are all labeled with a number.

That’s the magic number, the average order size we get are for about 5,000 photos.

Our favorite app for sharing and letting your family view, narrate and comment on all those pictures is https://keepy.me the Keepy App

Also, you can store your photos on sites such as  Google Photos

I have a large collection (think boxes and boxes) of family slides. Is there any simple, cost-efficient way to put them in a digital form? I would like to save the images but I can’t imagine that in their present form that they will last longer than I do! Thank you.

Where get this question a lot as well as with negatives and 8mm movie film.

For slides you can start here at our Slide Scanning landing page:


This should answer most of your questions.

Shouldn’t you keep the originals of really old photos – like back from the 1920s?

Many older photos have family history handwritten notes on the back. We always suggest keeping those in an acid-free archival box.

When having those older pictures digitized select front and back scanning so that the historical accounts written on the back are digitally captured too.

Remember those old cameras that developed photos that popped out in seconds? Do those scan well?

Yes, we do remember those as that was a fun way to see your “instant” memories … just like our smartphone pictures today.

We do scan them (as long as they have not been mounted on cardboard).

I took a quick look at your web page, but I am wondering: I have maybe two dozen photo albums, the kind where all the photos are attached to pages in the album. Would we have to remove all the photos before sending them to you for scanning?

Yes. Always remove the photos from albums. And you can use index cards to write categories and subjects them bundle those attached by rubber bands.

I have a non-photo question I hope Jura can help with. I had a sofa and chair reupholstered a few years ago, and the stuffing in the cushions is compressing so much that I need to put throw pillows on the seats and backs. Is this something that can be remedied w/out total reupholstering again? The pieces are old (40+ yrs) but in very good shape.

It’s a shame that whoever reupholstered these for you didn’t offer to plump up the cushions. Forty-year-old stuffing isn’t too buoyant. I’m afraid there is nothing you can do besides get large decorative pillows to layer on top.

What kind of flowers should you send? We asked top floral designers to weigh on the meaning of flowers an what’s the latest thoughts on flower etiquette. Read my story here. 

If you do put photos in albums, what are the best kind? And what kind should you avoid?

Look for albums that pass the P.A.T. (Photographic Activity Test).
Make sure it’s archival rated and acid-free. Look for Photo safe
Acid-free, Lignin free, and PVC free.

I may not have made myself clear – the stuffing was new with the reupholstery ( about 4-5 yrs ago). It’s not the original fill material. ( and I’d had the pieces redone before, with all new stuffing, and never had this issue).

Complain to the upholsterer.

This is such a great topic! My question is can you share some ways to present digital photos to family members? For example, I never really made photo albums for my two sons. Should I just give them all the photos on a thumb drive or is there a nicer way to present without having to make several photo albums?

Great idea. By distributing digital copies of all the photos to everyone in your family also helps to safeguard everyone g by having off-site backups. Provided DVDs or thumb drives.

During thanksgiving, we recommend showing all the family photos on your TV and ask everyone to share their favorite music to get everyone involved. As the photos are displayed the music is included too.

“Also you can store your photos on sites such as Google Photos” My question is who owns the photos once I upload them to Dropbox or Google Photos or other sites? I don’t want to give a company the right to distribute them.

Great follow up question. One really needs to read the terms and conditions of each site before they use/subscribe to one, most but not all are just sites where you store your photos for your use and only your use unless you explicitly give permission for others to have access to your files.

It is sad to think of how many photos have been lost in the recent fires. Thanks, Mitch for giving us ideas and tips for getting that photo archive saved. Next week sign in for blogger Joy Cho talking about building your dream house.

Many thanks for all the smart questions. We are grateful to have this dialogue and to see so many are planning ahead. Last week here in CA the wildfires were an urgent reminder to finally digitize and save your memories.

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A personal narrative as billions of photos were destroyed by wildfires

What happens when you are told to evacuate without notice?

From Mitch Goldstone, CEO at ScanMyPhotos about the “Getty Fire.”

Today’s message is one nobody wants to encounter.

The ominous life-threatening alert came without warning to my relative’s home at 2:15 a.m. on Monday. The unimaginable struck my family.

pic5 300x200 - A personal narrative as billions of photos were destroyed by wildfiresTHE CALL: With seconds to spare, from deep sleep to racing from their house there was just enough time to grab their two young children. Their house atop Tigertail Road in Brentwood, California was encircled by a hundred-foot wall of flames and an 80 mile-per-hour windstorm.

There was no time to collect their possessions. The call to immediately evacuate meant dashing towards their car and driving down the steep, single-lane curving road through a firestorm of embers. My family and their neighbors escaped down the darkened road aglow by flames and smokey ash raining down.

fire preventionTHE PLAN: We have written many profiles in the past from people we knew in peril due to hurricanes and wildfires. Our reminder was always to plan ahead and prepare. Focus on the “three-P’s,” people, pets, and pictures. Yet, with seconds to spare, there was no time to find those photo albums of nostalgic memories in their darkened homes.

After heading to an evacuation center, it was nearly evening when my cousin learned his house was spared. His neighbor’s fate was less fortunate. Many lost everything.

LIFE OVER PROPERTY:  Whether it is the viciously destructive wildfire season affecting millions in California, to hurricanes and other natural disasters, please use this experience to plan ahead. Never stay behind searching for your family memorabilia. The family treasures are the last thing you should think about if all were digitized and backed up off-site.

fire1 300x157 - A personal narrative as billions of photos were destroyed by wildfiresWe hear from too many after calamity strikes. The time to prepare is now. If you already had your memories protected, we are here to help others. From scanning everything to ordering online our e-Gift certificates sent to relatives, please share this message to inspire many to also safeguard their photo legacy. Before.

Reach us if your pictures were affected by smoke or water damage. These tips will also help recover those memories. “8 Ways to Fix Water Damaged Photos – Don’t Panic!.”

Be safe!


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Holiday Photo Scanning Gift to Unclutter, Preserve Pictures

Need a Unique and Emotional Holiday Gift? Surprise Everyone on Your Gift List With Their Lifetime of Newly Digitized Photos From ScanMyPhotos.com


ScanMyPhotos.com eGiftCertificate

IRVINE, Calif.–ScanMyPhotos.com, the e-commerce photo digitization service which scanned 600 million pictures, today introduces Egift Certificates.


Like a snowflake, a photo is something rare and special. It’s a moment caught in time. Unlike a snowflake, a photo won’t melt a few seconds after you touch it – but it could be lost forever if not properly cared for. Now an easy to order online Egift Certificate helps digitally preserve those treasured memories to last a lifetime and more.

ScanMyPhotos.com digitizes photo snapshots, 35mm slides, and film for clients around the world. When you give a ScanMyPhotos.com Egift Certificate to your family and friends this holiday season, you’re giving them much more than just another present – you’re helping them enjoy, share and preserve their memories for generations to come.


The best part? It takes seconds to order ScanMyPhotos.com Egift Certificates online – completely avoiding long lines and crowds at the mall and the anxiety that comes with wondering if a gift will arrive on time. Simply place your order, and seconds later you’ll have the Egift Certificate in hand or sent to each lucky person on your list.

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Each lucky recipient of these unique and emotional Egift Certificates then visits ScanMyPhotos.com and selects from several popular services, from photos, 35mm slide, film, and other picture formats to digitize. A game-changing low price for bulk photo scanning, where you fill-the-box costs $145 and holds about 1,800 standard pictures, plus free 3-way S/H and 5-10 day scanning. Free shipping includes your returned digital media. If you want your pictures returned too, it’s $19.95 extra per box.scanning.


All work is performed on-site in days at the ScanMyPhotos.com corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA. All original photos, 35mm slides, negatives, or videos will be shipped back, along with an archival-quality DVD. You can also order USB thumb drives and other popular extra services.

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Why Keepy App is the #1 Best Way to Preserve and Share Family Memories

We are raving fans of the Keepy App to share your family memories, add voice messages to narrate the stories and even ordering magnificent and unique photo gifts.

From our 30 years as pioneers in the photo imaging industry, there have been many highlights. Externally from the smartphone, GoPro and cameras on flying drones. Internally our new one-cent photo scanning has changed the way pictures are preserved. But, we are excited to share what is the smartest find yet. You can even tag and add your voice to narrate.

What next after your memories are digitized?

Keepy does the magic of taking the photos and turning them to memories by adding voice and video narration from everyone in the family including parents, grandparents, extended families and friends.

Read what Keepy wrote about ScanMyPhotos.

Why ScanMyPhotos is raving on and awarded Keepy our FIVE STAR SEAL OF APPROVAL?

download 2 300x89 - Why Keepy App is the #1 Best Way to Preserve and Share Family MemoriesKeepy is an app with loads of wonderful feedback by its user’s to preserve your memories. It is an ingenious way to better organize, save, privately share, enrich, and treasure everything, from your kids’ art and memories as they grow. It also is the new home for cherishing all the 600 million pictures digitized at ScanMyPhotos.com.

The Benefits:

  • Share the story behind each photo to enhance the memory.
  • Invite family and loved ones to be your kids “fan” so they can access your wonderful memories on their phone or the web.
  • Keep your precious memories forever with photo books, printed canvases and much more.
  • Parents, grandparents and loved ones can leave voice, video or text comments on each memory to enrich it with love.


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Hazel Thornton, creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection, NAPO member and one of our favorite bloggers is the publisher of “Organize for Life, Less Clutter. More Life.” shares her review as a fellow Keepy fan.

Excerpt from “5 Ways To Organize Your Family History

Benefits of Keepy:

(from my organizing and genealogy perspective)

  • Parents can preserve memories in a way that frees them up to ditch the physical paper clutter that inevitably piles up over the years. Thank you, Keepy!
  • Comments can be added in written, audio, or video form, allowing families and fans — think grandchildren and grandparents — to stay in touch and give each other positive feedback. Fans need the free app if they want to make audio and video comments, but not if they simply want to view their memories and make text comments.
  • Memories can be automatically synced (backed up) – we’re talking original, full-resolution images — to your Dropbox account (which can also be free, depending of course on how much storage you need and want).

But Keepy can be used in other ways, too! I figure (and Offir agrees) that the more ways people start using it, the more likely the app is to be upgraded and customized to accommodate those different uses.

5 Ways To Organize Your Family History

Keepy is very easy to use, especially for grandparents and people with limited tech experience. It is so easy and fun to use.

What is the Keepy Store? What can I do there?

The Keepy store is where you can turn your favorite Keepy memories into print magic. Magnets, coasters, framed photos, Photobooks are just a few of the great creative treasures waiting for you at the Keepy Store.

How much does Keepy cost?

There are several economical pricing plans. For your local pricing please check the App Store or Play Store.

Is Keepy private? Who can view my “Keepies?”

Privacy is a top priority for us, so we are proud to say that Keepy is a totally private platform and only you and your invited fans can view the memories you save and organize with it.

Click to get started to save kids art and family photos to share, preserve and turn into magical photo gifting items

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How to Prevent Photos from Sticking to Glass

photos from sticking to glassIf you’ve ever put a photo in a frame, then you understand how that can leave you in a sticky situation. Over time, moisture from the air can creep in between the frame and the picture, fusing the chemicals and ink of the photo to the glass in the frame. This often results in ripped or damaged photos when the picture is attempted to be removed.


We’ve seen it happen dozens of times and have helped customers restore their badly damaged photos. However, this entire scenario can easily be prevented with a little foresight.


So, before you start that big framing project consider a few of our tips to help you keep photos from sticking to glass:

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