Digitize Photos to Preserve Veterans’ History

Today is Veterans’ Day. Today, we honor the brave men and women who served in the military, and for many Americans, this means reflecting on the legacy of family members who served many years ago.

This date was chosen for a reason. In other countries, November 11th is celebrated as Remembrance Day (Canada and the UK) or Armistice Day (New Zealand, France, Belgium), and these all relate to the date that the armistice was signed to end the First World War. However, that day occurred in 1918, and there are now no longer any living veterans of World War I.

African-American soldiers in WWIThis means it is even more important to preserve their memory. Since the veterans of that war are no longer with us, we must take care to save the memories they have shared with us. Do you have a First World War veteran in your family? Have they left photos of that time? These photos may be almost 100 years old!

Photography was used during the First World War for both military and personal purposes. Many individual soldiers took photos (even after this was banned in 1915), since for the first time, portable personal cameras were now widely available. Many veterans came home with photos, so that their families could begin to understand their experience. Official photos were also taken, as well as press photos that were published in newspapers on the home front. Of course, individual, personal photos best illustrate the war as it was, since official and press photos were subject to censorship and restrictions.

At Play It Again Video, we can digitize photos for you even if they are 100 years old (or older!). But remember – we do not have an age limit, but your photos do. Photos have a shelf life and can start to fade or even fall apart after several years. If you have First World War era photos in your family, please don’t delay digitizing them. We would be honored to help preserve the memory of the veterans in your family.

Best Family Photos – 7 tips for amazing vacation photos

Smartphone vacation photos
Get a close up of the picture
People often times like to take a picture of everything that they see with their eyes. But what they don’t realize is that eye sight is so centered that they might only be focusing on one object. Taking a close up picture of the object brings a meaningful center to the memory.

Backgrounds can make or break the photo
While you spend some time thinking about the center of the photo, also take the time to consider what the backdrop should be. Plain backgrounds are great for portraits, but if you’re on vacation at the beach then use the ocean, sand, or other sights to introduce a sense of location and purpose.

Focus (blur) on the right things
Many cameras, smartphones included, have a very simple way of adjusting the focus (the amount of blur) of the picture. Take a moment to think whether you want to see every little detail of the moment, or just the expression on your family’s face.

Family Vacation Action Shot

Take action shots
In the grand scheme of things, photos are a means of storing memories. The stronger the emotion at that time, the stronger the memory will be. The same goes for photos. Taking photos of people in action will help capture the excitement and feeling of the moment, greatly preserving the memory for years to come.

Use filters that don’t distract from the photo
If you are living in the modern world then you have probably heard of filters. Filters are quick and simple editing tools that you use immediately after taking the photo. Correctly using them will enhance the atmosphere, while using too much or the incorrect one can ruin the photo. Err on the side of lightness and use filters to accentuate key details.

Smartphone cameras are legitimate as well
Here are a few tips for those of us who use smartphones as our cameras of choice. While the smartphone lens is usually pretty small, using the below suggestions as well as the above, can help bring the memory to life.

  • Take many photos in succession. There are a lot of apps out there that allow the smartphone to take multiple photos at a time, allowing you to find that perfect one.
  • Crop don’t zoom. There are a few advantages but the main reason is to not limit the use of the small lens in the camera.
  • Avoid flash. Smartphones are notorious for red eye and the flash itself will mostly detract from the picture.

Enjoy the moments as much as taking memories
Last but not least. Whether you are taking the picture or are getting your picture taken, remember to enjoy the moment and that the point of the photo is to preserve it. Don’t force a photo and keep a good sense of humor, this will help preserve the emotion and feeling and will lead to a great photo, not to mention a great memory.

Digital photos are the way of the future and for those of you who haven’t yet adapted, now might be a good time. Hard copies of photos are a great way to keep them in plain sight but not a good storage method. They crinkle and tear. And if you leave them alone for long enough, then the moisture in the air will get to them. It’s time for those memories to enter the digital age where there is no risk of deteriorating quality.

It’s not difficult to find a photo scanning service in your area.

Need photos scanned or restored? Want to hear what others have to say?
Scan photos to a HD and share them with family.
Restore photos back to their original quality.
Watch testimonials from people all around Boston.

101 Memory Gifts Ideas

After you digitize your old photos and slides, videos and audio cassettes to digital formats, you can do so much more with them such as creating photo iphone cases, music video montage, etc.
Photo Puzzle
We put together the best 101 Memory Gifts ideas to get those creative juices going. They are grouped in price ranges. We are not affiliated with any of the vendors. You don’t even have to go to the vendors on the list. Just get the idea and run with it.

Have fun. Mother’s Day is coming, Father’s Day, memory gifts make priceless precious momentos.

The link (share them with your friends):

101 Memory Gifts: http://www.playitagainvideo.com/101memorygifts

Can you remove my ex from the photo or video?

Your old photos capture a point in time that you have moved from. 

Remove ex from photos

A point in time when your kids were little, and now they have kids of their own.  A point in time when your mother pushed you on the swing, and now she’s not so mobile.  A point in time when you were married, and now you’re not.

So once in a while, when customers bring their photos to scan to digital images, they asked us if we can remove their former spouses, former boyfriends, former mother-in-laws (never former children yet, thank goodness!).

Of course we can!  Our photo restoration experts can do anything.  But we try to talk them out of it.

Your former EXes are part of your history.  And your history is part of what makes you who you are today.  Celebrate your history.  There are gifts to be found.

My own wedding photos lasted longer than my marriage.  Instead of dwelling on the death of a marriage, I celebrated the Gifts of a marriage in this video.

Related Links

Photo Scanning: http://playitagainvideo.com/47/scanning-photos/

Slide Scanning: http://playitagainvideo.com/44/slides-to-digital/

Cropping Photos without Software: http://playitagainvideo.com/howto/357/crop-photos-the-easy-way/


Man Connects Long-lost Vintage Photos to Owner

A facilities manager at a nursing home discovered bags of old vintage photographs while cleaning up the center in 2005. After 8 years of dogged persistence and resourceful sleuthing, he tracked down the family’s living relatives. “I just couldn’t throw them out. My interest in genealogy started when my grandmother passed down a photo album from the 1860s.”

Read the full story at:

Related Links

Photos, VHS, Film to Digital – 5 Memory Gift Ideas for Father’s Day


With Father’s Day coming up soon, I bet you’re wondering what is the best way to show Dad how much you appreciate and care about him. This year, don’t get another tie for his collection. Do something special for Dad and give him the gift of memories. It is sure to be a gift to be remembered forever.

Here are 5 ways to give the gift of memories this year for Father’s Day:

DVD present-dad

1. Convert home movies to DVD Somewhere in Dad’s closet is his pile of VHS tapes of all his most valued memories. However, less and less people have working VCRs anymore. Also, what Dad may not know is that it’s not doing the tapes any good to be stored for too long. VHS tapes have a shelf life and slowly degrade over time, even if the tape is only 10 years old. This year for Father’s Day, what better way to show Dad how much you love him then by converting his old tapes onto DVDs. He will now be able to easily enjoy the DVDs with family and will know that the footage is saved from degrading any further.

2. Converting old photos to digital Along with Dad’s collection of VHS tapes, there most likely is a huge collection of old photos that takes up more and more space over the years. Whether the photos are stored in big albums, or kept loosely in shoe boxes, it can be stressful and simply not fun to deal with. Luckily, there is a much better option to this that will let Dad enjoy every photograph completely stress-free. By digitizing Dad’s old photo collection, you have many different and unique options on what to do with them. You can make a slideshow that plays through the photos with Dad’s favorite songs playing in the background, put them on a digital photo frame for all to enjoy or even have a coffee table book published with all of Dad’s favorite photos printed beautifully together.


3. Photo restoration Photographs are a very fragile thing and can be easily damaged especially the ones that were taken many years ago. Photos will fade, stain, and rip. What if Dad’s favorite family photo has been damaged? Don’t give up on the photo and throw it away. Photo restoration technology will let you take a damaged photograph and breathe life into it and make it like new again. It can be electronically stitched back together if ripped into 5 pieces, restore its original colors if faded, or have stains removed if stained. Imagine what Dad’s face would look like if you took Dad’s favorite photo he has given up on and had it digitally restored, printed and framed.




4. Digitizing Dad’s favorite vinyl record to CD –

Although many records are now distributed on disc format, there is the occasional LP that is unavailable on any upgraded format. This can be stressful to Dad every time he wants to enjoy his favorite songs because he must set up all the equipment to play the record. By digitizing to CD, he can easily enjoy his favorite music in his car and at home without that bulky equipment and oversized record.

5. Transfer Dad’s old media to a hard drive DVD’s are perfect for watching or making copies for loved ones but what if Dad wants to do more with his old media. By transferring to an external hard drive, his possibilities are endless. You can store photos, slides, film and audio files in a very accessible and organized way. After that, using different types of programs, you are able to edit the material to whichever way you’d like. You can make different cut points to make a certain section of a tape or film its own file, add music, burn DVDs of the footage you choose, and even send small files to friends all over the world. You can even put all the different types of media together and create a beautiful slide show using film footage, slides and add background music of the audio cassette you digitized. Even though Dad may not be familiar with using editing software, who knows, it could end up being his new favorite hobby!


Dad will be sure to love any of these ideas, and will be able to enjoy it for many years to come. This year, don’t add to Dad’s tie collection. Give him the gift of memories.

Thousands of Photos Scanned to Digital, Then What?

When you have a favorite photo to share, you can turn it into a poster board, a canvas bag, personalized greeting cards.  What if you have hundreds or thousands of photos to share? After all, the reason you dug out your aging photo albums and shoe boxes of photos out of the closet and scan those photos to digital images is so you can view and share those old memories easily.

Below are 3 easy ways to share those years of happy memories:

1. Digital Photo Frame – These frames used to cost hundreds of dollars.  Now, you can find large 15-inch digital photo frames for $100 or less.   8-inch frames can be had for less than $50.  You can get plain frames that just displays your photos or sophisticated ones that also play videos, have motion sensors, turns into digital clocks when no one’s close by.

2. Photo sharing sites online – You can’t email hundreds of photos to your cousins across the country, but you can upload the photos online, then share a link to your online photo library.  Some of the popular online photo sites are: ShutterflyFlickrSnapfish, and Photobucket.  Your family from anywhere in the world can view the photos, even order prints.


3. Photo books – There are many online photo book creators.  If you have a lot of photos, like hundreds, the one I recommend is Blurb.com for pricing.  Pricing is similar when you are making a 20-page book.  But when you go up to 100 pages, Blurb.com remains affordable ($48 for hardcover, additional pages is 20 cents).  A page can fit anywhere from 1 to 10 photos.  $48 gets you a coffee table book to display hundreds of photos, now that’s a good deal!


Recently, Shutterfly bought out Mypublisher, a popular photo book publisher.  I expect the integration between your online photo library and producing a hard coffee photo book will become even easier.

There really is no excuse for you to hoard your family’s treasure of photos in the dark closet.  Bring them out into the sun, get your photos scanned to digital images and share them with your friends and family using any of the suggestions above.


Photos to Digital – Photo Scanning Resolution Matters

When you decide to digitize your photos, there are a few options to consider first. Different types of photo scanners offer unique features which produce different results. It is important to understand them before you drop your pictures off at the Photo Scanning Center so that you get the scan quality that you want.

Using a scanner that is dedicated to scanning photos makes a huge difference. Do not purchase or use a document scanner that you may find at a Staples or other office supplies stores. These are usually used for scanning black and white text documents. A dedicated photo scanner will allow you to capture your photographs in their original detail and vibrant colors and will allow you to chose different scanning resolutions which will affect the overall quality and sharpness of the photo.

Each resolution is appropriate for different situations and intended use. The specific resolution you are using refers to the digitized photo’s DPI (Dots Per Inch). The DPI indicates the amount of pixels found on the digitized photos per inch. The higher the DPI, the more pixels in the image, and resulting in a bigger file size. More pixels give a more detailed image.

These are some of the most common DPI settings. At the low end of resolution and quality is 72 DPI. This resolution is suitable for online viewing. It results in a very small sized photo which is beneficial for sharing online with friends or sending through email but not for printing.

The next step up, 300 DPI, is used when you are printing your photos. Although printing is capable at this level, it still may not be as sharp as you’re hoping for.
600 DPI is also used for printing, but at a much clearer and detailed resolution. This is the standard for printing photos and suitable for enlargement. Photo labs typically charge extra for scanning at resolution because the process takes longer, but it’s worth it. Here at Play It Again Video, 600 is our default scanning resolution and we don’t charge extra for it.

The last commonly used resolution, but far from the maximum is 1,200 DPI. This is usually used for pieces of art made by professional artists. Any type of historic material like an old family document might be scanned at this highly detailed level.

Before you drop off your photos to be scanned, think about the different choices and which resolution fits best with the outcome you are trying to achieve. It is important that you choose at least 300 DPI, but preferably 600 to get a sharp and clear result. The most important thing to find out from the scanning center is that they are using a dedicated photo scanner instead of an auto-feed document scanner.

Photos to Digital – 5 Cool Things to Do with Your Photos

Here are 5 websites (3 of them free) where you can turn your photos into cool creations your friends and family will not believe you made yourself.

1. At Big Huge Labs there are a variety of different ways to take your photos and turn them into something extraordinary. You can add all kinds of effects to your photo, from changing it to black and white or by making it look like a photo sketch. One of the most unique features at this site are the different things that can be done to the photo beyond changing the effects. You can turn your photo into a customized jigsaw puzzle, put your photo on a badge that says FBI, or make trading cards with your photo on them to swap with your friends. Besides photo editing tools, Big Huge Labs offers other services such as a word processor, information about the World’s best cameras and a random photo generator of photos that other users have created. Best of all, it’s free!








2. Animoto,another awesome free website, combines your memories into a video that will never be forgotten. At Animoto, you can combine photos and video clips into a beautifully made video with custom music and in a style of your choice. Now, in case you are not experienced with computers, don’t get overwhelmed, the process is very simple. Once your photos are digitized, all you have to do is upload the pictures to the website, choose a song to play through the video, and finally pick a style for the video. There are many styles, which can be anything from a simple black background to beautiful seasonal scenery. You can even add text to specific parts of your video in a customized font which can break the collage into categories, or add titles to your old photos and videos.







3. One of the most effective ways to improve a photo that you took is to crop it properly. At Cut My Pic, a free photo editing website, they have dedicated a site to that exact purpose. Cropping makes a regular photograph into something that looks professionally taken with perfect borders surrounding what is featured in the photo. It can make a photo that was taken by a child into something that could have been taken by a professional and is ready to be framed. Cut My Pic also offers other photo editing tools like corner rounding, tone changing, and adding drop shadows. There is even an app for it if you are an iPhone user!






4. Do you have old photos just laying around that you want to do something with? Or maybe you feel that a certain set of photos deserves a better home instead of a typical, boring photo album. With My Publisher, you can finally give these photos the attention that they deserve. You can take photos of your baby, or of a vacation you’ll never forget and publish them into a beautiful photo book that is customized to your style and preference. The best feature of the process that this website offers is how simple it is to create an impressive and long-lasting collection of your most important memories. Once you have digitized your photos, it’s up to you how you want them to appear in the book. You can add words and artwork, making certain pictures stand out in different ways. This service, although not free, is well worth the small price it takes to have your memories stored in a unique, organized, and breath-taking way.


5. Have you ever seen a life-size cutout of a popular movie star or pop culture icon? This is one of the many different services that Photo Cutouts offers. Cutouts are custom made photo sculptures created from a simple photograph. In additional to the commonly seen life-size cutout, you can make key chains, ornaments, magnets and even wall mounts from a portion of a photo such as someone’s face, or the entire photograph. The owner, Al, who has retired from 30 years as an IBM field service technician describes his business as an extreme photo service. He has a genuine love for photography and says that his cutout business feels like it’s not even work, it’s just plain fun!








There are no limits on what can be accomplished with your photos. You can crop them to make them look more professionally taken, add effects, create Christmas ornaments from them, make a slide show or a photo book. Many of these fun and amazing services are free to use, however the ones you pay for are definitely well worth the money!

Photo Restoration

Here at Play it Again Video, a photo scanning lab in Newton, we have so much fun with our photo restoration service. It’s like magic how we can transform a stained, faded, ripped photo into a vibrant wedding couple again, or remove the yellowish tinge that coats old photos and make the faces pop up again. Then there’s the extra fun projects of restoring hair, taking off 30 lbs, or swapping heads. You know how you like the face in Picture A but like the body in Picture B, that’s swapping heads. We also alter history by adding an out-of-town Uncle in a family photo. After you’ve worked here a while, and helped customers with their photo restoration/alteration requests, you’ll never trust the photos you see at face value anymore. Ok, that’s beside the point, I digress, sorry.

My point is that, if your precious photo is ripped, or torn, or you spilled coffee on it, or someone folded a deep crease on it, don’t despair. We can make it like new again, examples below.

Photo Restoration - Age Stain
Photo Restoration Damage Stain
Photo Restoration Torn Ripped
Photo Restoration Add Color

Before you can restore your photos, you need to first turn your photo to a digital format. Click here for Photo Scanning Services in the Greater Boston area.