Know the Challenges and Solution for Digitally Storing Old Photos, Videos

Person holding a VHS tape
Photo by Gabriel Petry on Unsplash

Imagine the peace of mind if you knew your photos and all your other memories were totally organized and stored for safekeeping. Wouldn’t that be nice?

If you look around your house, you may think that’s impossible.

Do you still have old slide shows? If you’re an older parent, you likely have a collection of VHS tapes and mini-DVDs.

Just think of how difficult it is trying to play DVDs. Newer laptops don’t have DVD drives.

The answer to safeguarding your memories is converting and storing in a digital format. But there are also downsides to the process that we’re going to look at.


The Benefits of Converting Media to Digital

Print photos are fun to hold and pass around, much like a print book. You can still have them, but to truly have them last you need to convert the print photos to digital files so you can store them safely.

There’s a nice listing of benefits:

  • Your media is easily accessible from any device
  • All photos, slides, and videos are shareable in a private family network
  • They can be housed in one digital home
  • They’re easy to see
  • Future generations can access the files for decades to come

But before we go further into converting and storing, I want you to think about organizing your media—this is the first step I take in helping my clients.


A Word about Organizing Photos

It’s no secret that we take dozens, hundreds and thousands of pictures in the course of weeks and months. And then we have video clips on top of that because our phone’s cameras are sophisticated and powerful.

Remember when 8 GB of storage was adequate on a phone? Then 16 GB became the standard—and now 32 GB won’t handle everything. Some of us still need removable SD cards so we have the space we need for all our images.

How do we sort through those pictures and video clips and decide what we want to keep and what we should toss?

One tip is letting your emotions decide.

You want to save the most important photos—the ones that make you tear up or make you smile when you see them.

Another tip is deleting duplicates or almost duplicates. We often take pictures in bursts, just like those sports photojournalists covering a game. Even they have to delete their photos.

You can read more about organizing on my blog post How to Relax When Choosing Photos to Keep and Organize.


Converting Your Photos

There’s a cost to converting your original files to digital. Consider that this is your life’s story and represents who you are and the path your family has traveled.

The question is, do you do it yourself or hire a company?

As a photo coach, I offer my clients a complete photo scanning and photo storage service. But let’s look at what it takes to do it yourself.


Scanning photos yourself

Many families have scanners as part of a multi-function printer like the popular Brother models. But to convert your photos you’re going to need a high-quality scanner. Here’s a link to a list of scanners on

You can see that the consumer grade Plustek ePhoto scanner runs $199.00 while the Epson Perfection V600 scanner is only $69.00. But professional scanners can run into the many hundreds and thousands of dollars.

And then you have to factor in your time for organizing and uploading to a digital storage system.


Using digital storage systems

You might think of social media platforms as places to store your photos, but that’s not the case.

Instagram and Facebook use the rules of Facebook. The same goes for Twitter, Pinterest, and even Google Photos. You own the images and videos you upload, but they can also do what they want with your content as mentioned in their Terms of Service.


Read the TOS from Facebook (I italicized for emphasis):

(7) Facebook TOS

Specifically, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, and worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). This means, for example, that if you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store, copy, and share it with others (again, consistent with your settings) such as service providers that support our service or other Facebook Products you use. This license will end when your content is deleted from our systems.


A Lasting Solution

Do you want Facebook being free to share your content with others, even if it is consistent with your settings?

A company like Shutterfly may seem better but they can terminate their relationship with you at any time. And, poof, there go your images and memories.

You can hire companies to do your scanning, but they sometimes subcontract with firms outside the U.S. to do the actual scanning. People have also received their files back on DVD or USB drives. The problem is they can’t extract their pictures.

I’ve been a photo coach for 26 years and I’ve always helped my clients find the best solutions for their needs. I offer a cloud storage system to convert your media and store your memories for a lifetime, plus 100 years.

Contact me and I’ll be glad to listen to your needs and share more on how to help you safely save and store your memories.

Get in touch for a free, initial consultation.




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Safeguard Your Memories

At Safeguard Your Memories, we go beyond mere photo storage. We empower you through personalized photo coaching, guiding you through the process of photo digitization, organization, and creative printing solutions.

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