Insuring Your Photo Collection Is Impossible!
Traditional insurance is generally not available for your family photo and movie collection. Some homeowner policies might extend restoration coverage to water, fire and smoke damaged photos. However, having been involved in more than a few of those claims, I would recommend not counting on any meaningful help without a lengthy and expensive legal fight.

Instead, there is a much easier way to protect yourself from the loss of these items. A solid and well-thought out digitizing plan not only provides eternal protection of these items, but also provides a format for the sharing, using and enjoying of your family legacy for years to come. Couple your plan with a data back-up strategy and you will find complete peace of mind over your photo collection, even during moves and downsizing.

To get from “boxes of stuff” to an organized, digital record of your family memories and history, there are four basic components to the process: Organizing, Digitizing, Integration and Backup and Protection. We will cover each briefly here. If you decide to dig in a bit more deeply, please call our office and one of our professional media consultants will help you in greater detail.

After successfully organizing thousands of photo and movie collections, we have discovered that a well-organized digital collection begins with a roughly well-organized physical collection. Roughly generally means that you have separated the items by category of media (photos, scrapbooks, negatives, slides, videotapes, film, audio, documents, etc). Then, each of the categories get sorted by date from oldest to newest. We always log these items into a spreadsheet and assign an inventory number. This keeps everything in chronological order and also provides an inventory list.

When an item is scanned, it becomes a digital image and is tagged with the date and time of when it was scanned. If you have organized everything in date order and scanned them in that order, you can always sort the digital files by the date scanned and – voila! – all of your digital files are in date order, too! There are other tricks and other considerations, of course. But,t his will get you 80% of the way to where you want to go.

Here comes the tricky part. Before, you had a physical photo collection and a digital photo collection. Now, after the digitizing work is completed, you only have one collection. But, they are hardly organized. In fact, your newest digital files will actually be your grandmother’s earliest photos! The process of integration is how you strategically combine your newly scanned images with your modern digital collection. Fortunately, Apple Photos and Google Photos both have a tool to change the date of your scanned image to the actual date or year the photo was taken. If you take our advice on the organizing and digitizing steps, the integration can usually be completed in 3-6 hours. The end result will be seeing your entire photo collection, going all of the way back to 1880, in date order on your telephone!

Backup and Protection
Like most things worthwhile, all of the above steps will equal a meaningful investment in time and money. Now, it is important to protect that investment. In the digital world, there is a saying, “If it doesn’t exist in three places, it doesn’t exist.” We agree and recommend at least these three specific places; one set of archival quality DVDs, one reliable hard drive or flash drive, one cloud back-up. Fortunately, all of these are simple and relatively inexpensive. Throw in a few copies for the kids and you will have plenty of layers of back-up to protect you.

In the end, all of this is far better than insurance and usually a lot less expensive. Most of our customers spend less $1500 to $4000 for the organizing, digitizing and back-up of their entire family photo collection. Any insurance premium, if such coverage were available, would cost far more over a lifetime. At least with a digitizing and back-up plan, everything will always be safe to pass along to your family’s future generations.

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