Digitizing Older Memory Items: Hiring a Professional vs Doing it Yourself

If you are over the age of about 30, you probably have some of your life recorded on non-digital media like VHS tapes, slides, printed photos, etc. Digitization allows for preservation of these items in a format that is easily accessible, shareable and can last for years to come. When it comes to digitizing older memory items, there are two options available: hiring a professional or doing it yourself. There are advantages and disadvantages to either option, so how do you decide? Read on for some ideas of things to think about.

Hiring a Professional:


  • Experience and expertise: A professional service will have experience in digitizing older memory items, including knowledge of handling delicate items and using specialized equipment. Make sure that the company that you hire knows what they are doing and has experience working with older media.
  • High-quality results: A professional service should have access to high-quality equipment, allowing for a higher quality of digitization that may not be possible with personal equipment.
  • Time-saving: This is perhaps the biggest advantage of hiring someone to do your digitization! Digitizing older memory items can be a time-consuming process, and a professional service can take care of it for you so that you can spend your time telling the stories that go with your photos.
  • Additional services: Some professional services offer additional services such as restoration, color correction, and editing to enhance the final product. Those types of additional services usually take time and skill, which you may not have. Hiring someone else for these types of extra services can save you lots of time and frustration!


  • Cost: Hiring a professional service will cost money. You are paying someone for their time, expertise, and special equipment.
  • Location: To hire someone to do your digitization, you will have to give them your media. You will have to trust that they will keep your photos and videos safe while digitization is happening. However, your older media are actually MORE vulnerable sitting in that box in your house, so you will have to weigh the risk of deterioration while they stay in your possession, or the risk of handing them over to someone else.

Doing It Yourself:


  • Cost: Doing the digitization yourself usually costs less money. Once you have purchased or borrowed the equipment you will need, you are only spending time.


  • Equipment limitations: Using personal equipment may limit the quality of the final product, depending on the quality of the equipment you purchase or are able to borrow.
  • Lack of expertise: Without prior experience or knowledge, digitizing older memory items may result in subpar results. As with any new activity, there is a learning curve. You will have to learn how to use the equipment and how to get the best results.
  • Time-consuming: Digitizing older memory items can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large number of items to digitize. This is probably the biggest disadvantage to doing the digitizing yourself, it takes a LOT of time. Unless you schedule the time and stick to those appointments, it will never get done by yourself.

Both hiring a professional to digitize your memory items and doing it yourself have their advantages and disadvantages. Hiring a professional service can provide high-quality results and time-saving benefits, but may come at a higher cost. On the other hand, doing it yourself can be cost-effective but may result in subpar results without the necessary expertise or equipment and will take a lot of your time. Ultimately, the decision to hire a professional or do it yourself comes down to time vs money. Which do you have, and which are you willing to spend to get your precious memories into a digital format so that they can be preserved and so that you can enjoy them again?

If you would like more information about digitization, please reach out to me! I am always happy to answer questions and help you find solutions for your memory-keeping.

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