How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

If you’re looking at this article, chances are that you have loads of pictures, photo albums, and scrapbooks at home filled with sweet memories from the past that have special meaning to you, your friends, and your family. You might even have shoeboxes filled with these snapshots of the past, sitting in a closet or attic or someplace tucked away.

If you want to find out how to best preserve these photos and store them, then look no further.

The absolute best way to make sure your photos are protected and kept safe throughout the years is to get them digitized. Digitization ensures that your photos are backed up onto a computer or another device so that if something happens to their print versions, you’ll always have digital qualities that are stored on your computer.

Now, you might be considering a few options for photo-to-digital transfer. The three most common methods of print photo digitization are scanning photos on a smartphone, scanning photos on a scanner, or sending photos to get digitized by a digitization service. Let’s dive into each of these methods so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your photo collection!

One of the simplest ways to transfer your photos to digital is to scan them with your iPhone. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways: first, you can take pictures of each print photo using your smartphone’s camera. This method is very easy to do, but the outcome of your “digitized” photos will typically be very low quality. Simply taking pictures of print photographs will inevitably capture unsightly backgrounds, glares, or scratches and imperfections on the photos themselves. Another option is to download a specialized photo-to-digital scanning app. There are many different apps you can use that will edit the scans and minimize the imperfections that a simple snap of a smartphone camera can’t erase. These apps, while making higher quality digital copies of your photos than if you just took pictures of your print photographs, cannot produce digital images near to the quality that other photo-to-digital methods can.

Another method of photo-to-digital transfer is to use a scanner. Scanners are typically incorporated in most modern printer models, although you can purchase stand-alone scanners if you choose. You can purchase specialty photo scanners which will scan your print images to a higher quality than a regular document scanner can if you prefer. This method of digitization is better than the smartphone method, but specialty scanners can be very expensive. If you aren’t willing to make the investment in a good quality photo scanner, this option may not be for you.

The last photo-to-digital transfer option is to hire a digitization service. Digitization services have state-of-the-art equipment for photo scanning as well as trained professionals who will handle your prints each step of the digitization process. Digitization services like Kodak are easy to use, as they pay for shipping and handling and complete the entire digitization process for you so that you don’t have to waste hours taking photos on your smartphone or sitting at your scanner. Many digitization services offer competitive pricing and step-by-step tracking, among other services.

Out of these three digitization methods, we recommend hiring a digitization service for your photo-to-digital needs. The quality that digitization services can provide supersedes that of any at-home digitization option, and the price of hiring a service compared to buying a high-quality scanner is significantly less. If you’re looking to transfer your print photos to digital, go with a digitization service like Kodak. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be guaranteed high-quality service and results.

If you have old family photos you wish to save, there are several apps that can help turn your phone into a scanner. Here’s how to digitize old photos with Google PhotoScan, Microsoft Office Lens, and TurboScan.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

If you have a large collection of old printed photos, you can digitize them using a scanner attached to your computer. However, the easiest and cheapest way is to use a photo-scanning app like Google PhotoScan, Microsoft Office Lens, or TurboScan to help scan, rotate, crop, and add filters to your photos.

Despite the benefits of using an app, be aware that it may not be the best choice in every situation. The main drawback is that the overall picture quality and resolution achieved through a mobile app won’t compare with what you can get from a dedicated scanner. You also won’t have access to advanced settings like output file type, color mode, resolution, size, brightness, and contrast with an app.

Instead, a mobile app comes in handy if you want to scan a collection of photos quickly and don’t need top quality or resolution. You also won’t need to deal with connection issues or tricky scanning setups; just point and scan. Here are several photo scanning apps and a look at how they work.

Google PhotoScan

Google PhotoScan promises glare-free scans, automatic cropping, and smart rotation to keep your images straight and level. Download the free app for Android or iOS and open the app. Line up the photo you want to scan and press the shutter button. The app then displays a white circle in each of the four corners of the photo.

Move your phone horizontally to make contact with each of the circles, one after the other. But try not to tilt your phone; keep it level. After you’ve made contact with all four circles, tap the thumbnail in the lower right to view the scanned image.

At the screen showing the scan, you can rotate the image, adjust the corners, or delete the image to try again. Tap the Share icon, and you can share the scanned image via email, messaging, or other apps and services.

When done, tap the left arrow in the upper-left corner to view the image. Tap the left arrow again to capture another scan.

Microsoft Office Lens

Microsoft Office Lens is designed to scan paper documents, business cards, whiteboards, and photos. Download and install the free app (Android, iOS), open the app and set the type of scan to Photo. You can also adjust the flash by turning it on or off, or setting it to automatic.

Tap the shutter button to take the scan, then tap the orange circle to move to the next step.

From the photo editor, tap Add if you wish to scan another photo. You can experiment with different filters by tapping the Filters icon or adjust the corners and sides of the scan by choosing Crop. Tap the More icon to access additional features.

Rotate the image by tapping the Rotate icon, or remove the scan by tapping Delete. Tapping the Ink icon will allow you to draw on the photo and selecting Text will let you create text over the image. When finished, tap Done.

At the next screen, you can save your photo to your camera’s photo library or to Microsoft OneDrive, or save it as a Microsoft Word or PowerPoint document. You can also share the photo via Outlook, Mail, and other apps.

TurboScan

With TurboScan, you can scan documents, business cards, index cards, and photos. Available for Android and iOS, the free version restricts you to just three scans. A $4.99 in-app purchase removes this restriction, so you can scan an unlimited number of files.

TurboScan offers a healthy array of options and settings, allowing you to set default page size, default filename format and output (including PDF and JPG), and enable the flash to on, off, or automatic.

To use TurboScan, position your photo and press the shutter button. You can also set up the app to take scans automatically once you have the photo lined up and take three photos of the same scan so you can choose the best one.

At the next screen, tap the Frame command in the upper left to crop your photo, then tap Done when finished. At the next screen, you can brighten or darken the image, rotate it, or delete it and try again. When done, tap Next. At the next screen, tap the Pencil icon to name the photo or change the size. You can also add a date stamp. Tap Done.

Tap the Share icon to share the photo via email, messaging, or different cloud services. You can also save the photo to your Photos library, copy it elsewhere, or print it. Tap Done to save the photo to the TurboScan gallery.

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How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Capturing moments in old cameras and waiting for our nearby ‘studio photographers’ to deliver the final photos from the reel had an essence and enthusiasm of its own. With the current advancement in technology however, all of us are amateur photographers and the only equipment we need is our smart phone. Having a look at these old photos are extremely nostalgic and brings back a lot of memories. This is also the only way we get to see our parents, forefathers and all the past generations. They are not easily accessible though unlike our digital photos captured at the convenience of our phones now, is it? Also, another noteworthy factor is how we may either lose these photos or end up having a damaged picture because of storing it the wrong way.

A lot of such factors are clearly the reason why digital photos took over and are currently the safest way to keep our memories intact. But what if, we could digitize these photos. This simply overcomes the downside of old physical copies. No more lost pictures or using up a lot of storage space in the attic, no more dusting of old pictures either. Now how do we achieve this, there are a couple of ways how to go about. However, let us check out the best way to do this.

Using a scanner

Firstly, we can get the photos scanned from a physical scanner. This will ensure having scanned backup copies of all our favorite pictures, so say no to the fear of losing photos anymore! These copies can be saved directly in either our google drive or cloud. This does have a downside though, and that is the investment on a scanner. There is a huge variety of scanners available in the market for different prices and preferences. Another alternative from buying it ourselves is by simply borrowing it from a friend. On the plus side, scanning photos with a physical scanner provides great quality backup. It is almost as good as the original copy and does not compromise on the quality/clarity in any way as the concept is basically replicating the original photo to have multiple copies.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Using PhotoScan app by Google

The second and my most favorite method of digitizing our old photos is by using our smartphones. There are a couple of apps available in play store or the apple App Store catering to this requirement. The best one in the market as of now is the google PhotoScan which is available in Android Play Store and iOS App store as well. This technique does not require a bulky machine to do the job or any sort of investment. It can be done at the convenience of our smartphones. All we have to do is just choose the photos of our wish and scan it with the app and, viola! We have our own digitized copy right in our phone. The app gives a glare-free copy with auto-corrections to make the photos picture perfect. This is the most convenient method to digitize our old photos. The quality of the scanned copies though depends on the camera resolution of our smartphones, But what a fantastic way to keep our memories safe and digitized!

Here’s how to digitize your old photos using Photoscan:

  1. Open the PhotoScan app .
  2. To start scanning, hold your smartphone right above your photo. Tap the button to capture.
  3. Move the phone around the photo so as to get the circle over all the 4 dots.
  4. Once the picture has processed, tap the image thumbnail on the lower right.
  5. You can now select a photo and adjust the corners, rotate, or delete it.
  6. You can go to the Google Photos app to see all your scanned pictures.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

If you want to scan photos faster, the Glare removal feature can be turned off. This will make the PhotoScan app work like a regular camera app except it automatically uploads the pictures to Google Photos.

If you guys know any other cool way of digitizing your old photos, please do let us know by dropping in your comments below.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

We all have old photos that are important to us. Vacations, family members who are no longer with us, good times in our lives—you know, important stuff. The thing is, pictures fade. The best way to keep these precious memories safe is by digitizing them, and what was once a lengthy process can now be done—with pretty exceptional results—directly from your phone.

Obviously, the best way to scan your photos is with a dedicated scanner with the right settings—or maybe by using a photo scanning service like Memories Renewed or DiJiFi. But Google has an app called PhotoScan, available for both iOS and Android, that works remarkably well with almost no work on your part. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or time, this will do a good job.

The app works identically on both iOS and Android. I’ll be using a Pixel XL for this tutorial, but you should be able to follow along regardless. For a detailed, yet concise look at how PhotoScan does its thing, check out this video from Google employees Nat and Lo:

Pretty awesome, right? Download and install the app, then go ahead and fire it up. It’s give a quick overview of how to use the app and what it does—after the animation is over, tap the “Start Scanning” button to get the ball rolling.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphoneHow to digitize old photos with your smartphone

You’ll have to first grant the app permission to access your camera, which it obviously requires in order to scan your photos.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

With that out of the way, it’ll jump straight into camera mode so you can start scanning. Before we get into how to do that, however, a few pointers are necessary:

  • Unlike with normal photos, lighting doesn’t matter as much with PhotoScan. Obviously this isn’t something you’ll want to do in a dark room, but you don’t have to look for the “perfect” spot since it uses your phone’s flash to get more consistent lighting. It’s worth noting, however, that various lighting environments, can affect how the color of the image turns out. See the gallery screenshot below for an example.
  • Get as close to the image as possible—try to line the borders of the picture up just inside PhotoScan frame.
  • Try to remain as steady as possible. If you move around a lot, the dots will get off-center, which can cause some distortion or skewing in the end result.

That’s really all there is to it—it’s very easy to use.

Go ahead and line your image up within PhotoScan’s borders, then tap the shutter button. Four dots will appear near the corners of the image—move the center circle to one of the dots and wait while the circle “scans” that section of the image. Do this for all four, preferably in some sort of order.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphoneHow to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Once it’s finished scanning all four sections, it will process the image—basically, it combines all four images to get all the angles, then removes any glare that was caused by the flash. It’s pretty brilliant and completely automated.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

From there, it will throw you into the app’s gallery, where you can further edit the image by tapping on it.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Once the image is open, you can rotate it, adjust the corners, or delete it by using the button on the bottom row. Once you’re happy with the result, tap the back button.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

At this point, if you have multiple scans, you’re going to want to delete the ones you don’t want to keep. Again, do this by tapping the image, then the trash can icon in the bottom row.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

After you have the scan (or scans) you want to keep, just tap the “Save All” button at the top. The app will request access to your phone’s storage so it can save the file, so just tap “Allow.” After that, it will let you know where to find the scans: Google Photos on Android, and Camera Roll on iOS.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Here’s the end result of our test scan:

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Man, that’s a good-looking kid.

While it may not be quite as good as a specialized photo scanner or third-part digitizing service, PhotoScan does a very impressive job of turning your old photos into digital images, especially for a simple phone app. And while the final product looks pretty good, you can always fix up the color in your favorite image editor once it’s on your computer, for the best looking photo possible.

How to do it yourself or use a professional service

by Marc Saltzman, AARP, April 22, 2019 | Comments: 0

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

En español | Chances are you’ve thought about bringing your old paper photos into the digital age.

Great idea. After all, you likely have a lifetime of precious memories trapped in photo albums, shoeboxes or dusty frames.

Once digitized, these photographs will no longer fade over time; they can be automatically repaired with smart software (such as adding back color, removing redeye and stitching rips); photos can be organized and easily searched by keyword (on a computer, tablet, phone or online cloud site); and you can share them with friends and family over email and social media, or create fun projects like scrapbooks, slideshows, fridge magnets and more.

There are several ways to go about scanning old photos (or slides or negatives), but it boils down to two main options: Do it yourself (DIY) or use a professional service.

Here’s a look at both options. Regardless of the direction you go, be sure to first organize your paper photos before you digitize them, or you risk having a “digital mess,” too, advises Mollie Bartelt, cofounder of Pixologie, a photo management company.

“You can organize your paper photos by major categories like decades or people, and then suborganize them into sections, like family events,” she says. Bartelt recommends putting photos into piles or small boxes, divided by index cards and labeled with sticky notes.

If you prefer to digitize photos yourself, you can pick up an inexpensive flatbed scanner (from $69), if you don’t already own one.

You might also invest in a multifunction printer (as low as $49), which is usually an inkjet printer, scanner, photocopier and sometimes a fax machine, too — all in one unit.

When scanning the photos facedown, keep in mind the higher the dots per inch (DPI), the better the resolution will be. For example, 300 DPI is OK for photos, but 600 DPI is recommended to ensure you get all the details in your pictures. A resolution of 1,200 DPI is only necessary if you’re looking to enlarge a photo to a poster-sized print through a service (see below).

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Many of us are unhappy to discover that our old family photos are deteriorating with age—especially color photos. The best way to preserve them may be to rephotograph these aging prints with our digital cameras in order to archive them permanently in stable, high-resolution form. I find that a basic tabletop copywork setup is a great way to digitize old photos, and it doesn’t take much to master. Done well, it’s even faster and more effective than digitizing with a flatbed scanner.

To start, clear a large work area such as a dining room table or even a clean spot on a hard-surface floor. A copy stand is ideal, as it easily positions the camera parallel to the surface of the floor or table. But a tripod works just as well as long as you set it up correctly. You’ll need to position the legs so that they won’t create shadows over the artwork you’re photographing. Beyond that, simply rotate the tripod head so that the camera is facing straight down, and use a simple bubble level across the lens in each axis to ensure it’s perfectly parallel to the floor.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

When it comes to lens selection, choose the longest lens you can conveniently work with in order to minimize optical distortion. A wide-angle lens will bow the edges of the frame, whereas a short telephoto will help to keep them straight. A macro lens (preferably in the range of 100mm) is ideal for close focusing on even small prints, but a normal zoom or short telephoto without macro capabilities should work fine. Position a picture directly under the camera as you’re setting up in order to help determine the most appropriate focal length and position.

With the picture in place and the camera position established, set the focus to manual mode and dial in precise focus. This is made easier with a tethered camera or a camera controlled by a smartphone. In any case, ensure you’re not using autofocus to capture this inanimate object as that’s sure to lead to missed focus more often than locked in manual focus will. Choose a sharp aperture (such as ƒ/8 or ƒ/11) and build your exposure from there.

Now it’s time to light. The right lighting is another key to the success of this system. You may be tempted to use a diffused soft light (such as a softbox or an umbrella), but these are actually less effective than a simple hot light or strobe in a parabolic dish reflector. (A hot light works fine, just be sure to turn off the overheads and take care to minimize camera shake. I prefer to work with strobes so that I don’t have to worry about interference from ambient light and so I know I won’t have to worry about blur.) The softbox and umbrella spread light across a greater area and increase the opportunity for reflected light coming from the ceiling or other unwanted angles—and this is a surefire way to create reflections on the image. (See the example here for how an unwanted reflection can obscure the image and make it useless as a copy.)

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

You want to use two lights—no less, and no more—placed on opposite sides of the frame. These lights should be beyond 45 degrees from the lens plane in order to minimize the chances for glare. That doesn’t mean, though, that you should move the lights parallel to the work surface, as this will start to amplify any texture in the photos and can even create shadows from things like matting and framing. (Speaking of which, remove photos from frames if at all possible.) Close to, but just beyond, 45 degrees from the lens axis is just right.

Next, instead of pointing the heart of each light directly at the center of the photo, aim each light just above and beyond the picture to be copied. This will help make the light more even and minimize the chance of hotspots. This, too, is why you use two lights rather than one. With a single light from one side, the illumination will naturally fall off across the scene. Positioning the lights farther from the subject mitigates such falloff, but it’s still easy to see without the use of a second light. For a setup in which the subjects are approximately 8×10 inches or less, I like to have my lights a good 4 feet or more from the image.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

If you’d like to check for evenness of illumination, use a handheld light meter to check the light reading at each corner of the composition as well in the center. Anything within one-fifth of a stop (say, ƒ/8 to ƒ/8.2) shouldn’t be an issue. But any difference of one-third of a stop or more may be visible to the naked eye.

With the camera positioned correctly and the lights in place, you’re almost ready to shoot. The last step is to be sure the color is accurate—even if the original image has faded. Capture RAW image files and shoot a neutral gray card positioned within the scene to ensure you can dial in precisely the right white balance every time. With accuracy on the lighting and color during digitization, you eliminate more variables that would need to be corrected in post. Then you’re free to preserve an image as-is or consider retouching to repair the color fading that often occurs with aging. More on that next week.

Use a scanner or a smartphone to digitize your photos and records

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Whether equipped with a scanner or a smartphone, digitize photos in record time. A dedicated scanner will result in higher-quality scans, but a smartphone can process photos more quickly.

Prepare the Photos

It might seem like preparing photos will just cost you time, but there’s no point in taking the time to scan the photos if you won’t be able to use them later. By scanning photos together in clusters, it’s easier to file them later.

Using a soft, lint-free cloth, wipe down the photos because any fingerprint, smudge, or dust will show up on the scan. Wipe down the scanner bed, too.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Quick Scanning With a Scanner

If you have and are familiar with a particular image-scanning program for your scanner, stick with what you know. Otherwise, if you are unsure about what to use and just want to get started, your computer has some perfectly capable software already installed as part of the operating system. For computers running Windows, it’s Windows Fax & Scan, and on the Mac, it’s called Image Capture.

Once in the program, tweak a few basic settings before you start scanning:

  • Image Format: You’ll be presented with options such as BMP (lossless uncompressed, huge file size, wide acceptance), TIFF (lossless compressed, large file size, selective acceptance), and JPEG (lossy compressed, small file size, wide acceptance). In most cases, JPEG images are perfectly suitable for photographs.
  • Color Mode: When scanning color photos, set the mode to color. Use the grayscale mode for everything else. The black-and-white mode is only for text/graphics scanning.
  • Resolution: The minimum scanning resolution for photos should be 300 DPI to allow for full-quality same-size prints. Set the DPI to 600 if you intend to enlarge the photo.
  • Folder Location: Designate the folder that all scanned images will be saved to.

Fit as many photos on the scanner as possible, leaving at least an eighth of an inch of space in between. Align the edges of the photos. Close the lid, start the scan, and check the resulting image. If everything looks good, place a new set of photos on the scanner and continue. Later you’ll be able to separate the photos from the group scan.

When you’ve finished processing all of the photos, this part of the job is done. Each saved file is a collage of pictures, so you’ll need to separate them individually.

When ready, use a photo editing program to open a scanned image file. Crop one of the individual pictures, rotate if necessary, and then save as a separate file. Click the undo button until the image reverts to its original, uncropped state. Continue this process of cropping until you’ve saved a separate copy of each picture within each scanned image file.

Many image editing/scanning software programs offer a batch mode that automates the scan-crop-rotate-save technique.

Quick Scanning With a Smartphone

Smartphones work well as a surrogate for a dedicated scanner. While there are many apps out there for this task, one that is fast and free is an app from Google called PhotoScan. It’s available for Android and iOS.

While PhotoScan will step you through what to do, here’s how it works:

Position the photo within the frame shown in the app.

Tap the Scan button to start the processing; you’ll see four white dots appear inside the frame.

Align your device over the dots until they turn blue; these extra shots from different angles are used by the app to eliminate pesky glare and shadows.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

When complete, PhotoScan automatically performs the stitching, auto-enhancing, cropping, resizing, and rotating. Files save on your smartphone.

How to digitize old photos with your smartphone

Can you save and even repair your old, worn out family photos? Absolutely! You don’t need a bunch of expensive editing tools to make serious improvements. There are plenty of accessible online tools that, combined with a little bit of know-how and some time, will help you turn those faded prints into vibrant views of your family’s history. Read below for some tips that will help you edit and digitize old photos with ease.

1. Scan Old Photos with Your Camera

Maybe your aunt pulled out her photo albums and you have only a few minutes to get those photos into digital form. That’s not a problem if you have a smartphone. If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can still digitize old photos by using your camera’s phone to snap a photo. Today’s cell phone cameras have great resolution and continue to get better, so you can get a decent image to work with.

From your camera, it’s easy to send the images right to Evernote, a Google File, Dropbox, or some other form of storage until you can get to your computer to work with them.Try to fill the camera frame with the image and take the photo on a flat surface near a natural light source. If it won’t cause any damage, remove it from any frames or albums to cut down on glare.

2. Boost Faded Images

Photos fade over time, especially if they’ve been exposed to sunlight or other bright lights. However, you can give your image a quick boost with a filter. Your results are limited by your phone’s options, but there are some excellent apps that offer a wider selection of preset filters. Check out VSCO, PicMonkey or Vivid-Pix for some easy-to-use options that yield professional-looking results. Manually boosting, on the other hand, gives you more control. Thankfully, apps like Pixlr or Fotor make the process easier.

3. Correct the Color

The quality of color in old photos can vary widely and distort over time as certain inks fade. If you’re reasonably sure your ancestors weren’t bathed in a weird yellow light, and the trees in the background were green rather than blue, try fixing the color using your photo editor’s automatic color correction. If that isn’t enough, try using the Light, Saturation and Temperature, Light and Shadow tools to adjust the color.

4. Heal Photo Damage

Water spots, tears, bends and tears can wreak havoc on your favorite pictures. While the damage can tell a story in and of itself, you can digitally repair the damage done to the original paper copy. Use retouch tools well by zooming in on the area you want to fix and choosing the appropriate brush size in your application. More importantly, take your time and work slowly. Janet Havorka offers some advice on working with editing tools in this article.

5. Don’t Go Overboard

It’s tempting to get a little too enthusiastic with the retouching and color tools. Next thing you know, you have an oversaturated photo with weird splotches replacing your ancestor’s nose. Don’t work on your original; making copies is as easy as choosing Save As and another name. Take your time! Retouching and photo editing take a lot of practice and patience in equal measure.

Father’s Day is coming up, and it’s a common social media practice to post a super cute, vintage picture of you and your Dad or father figure together on Instagram. So what do you do if all you have is a photo album of prints? Somehow, those photos have to get digitized, right? Well, we’re here to help give you some insight into the best way to digitize old photos.

The two most common ways people will do this is by taking a picture of the photos on their smartphone or by scanning the photos at home or using a service. There are pros and cons to both of these methods, but which produces the best quality digital photo in an easy-to-use way?

Smartphone Photographing Method

First, let’s take a closer look at using your Android or iPhone to digitize print photos. On the offset, this method seems like the no-brainer choice. It’s DIY, cheap and convenient, which is something everyone can appreciate. Yet despite the convenience and affordability, a picture taken on your phone camera of a print photo will inevitably come out looking very different from the original.

Smartphone cameras will pick up glares from any natural or artificial light in the room, obscuring the image in the print photo. A shadow of your smartphone may also appear in the photo, further making the image unclear. Inconsistencies on the photo itself, such as scratches, dents, dirt, etc., will be picked up by the smartphone camera.

Oftentimes, the surface on which the print photos are placed will also be visible in the smartphone picture. Chances are you don’t really want your dinner table or kitchen counter in the shot when you’re trying to post your print photos to social media. And getting just the right angle without any surfaces, let alone any fingers or feet in the picture is far easier said than done.

When digitizing family photos, the last thing you want is for the digitized version to be distorted and in worse shape than the original print. Taking pictures of print photos on a smartphone creates mediocre digitized images that look unprofessional and sloppy, and if your priority is the preservation of the quality of the original image , you’ll be disappointed with a smartphone camera shot. Besides, what would dear old dad think of that kind of hack job?

Photo Scanning Method

The second option, using a photo scanner to upload your photos to a computer, seems like a dated solution to the digitization problem at first. It can be inconvenient to use a scanner, whether you have one at home or you hire a digitization service. The process can be time-consuming depending on how many photos you need to digitize, and finding the files on your computer can be difficult if using a home scanner.

However, the difference in quality between a scanned image and a picture of a print photo is astronomical. One looks like the actual photo, whereas the other looks like a photo of a photo because that’s exactly what it is. With scanned images, the quality is clear and precise.

Of course, the clarity of the digitized image varies depending on the quality of the scanner being used. A simple scanner may only scan in black and white or may make the image look grainy. This is one reason why digitization services have become so popular – the high-quality technology used by some digitization services produces superior digital images of print photos that cannot be created with a lower resolution scanner at home.

Scan vs Photo: Final Verdict on Which is the Best Method

So, what’s the final verdict? Is it better to scan or take a picture of my old photos?

While the smartphone method may have the scanner method beat in its convenience, the scanner method outshines the smartphone method in quality. When it comes to capturing family history, quality is so much more important than convenience.

There are professional digitization services striving to help bridge the gap between quality and convenience. Even so, some digitization services like Legacybox are working to make the digitization process quicker and more convenient by providing free shipping and shipping materials, as well as tracking updates on your order so that you know where your photos are in the digitization process. So, you not only get the peace-of-mind convenience, but you get professionally digitized photos with notifications throughout the entire process. What’s not to love?

If you have plenty of old family photos in a shoebox somewhere, don’t let them keep collecting dust! Hire Legacybox and let us take care of digitization for you. Your family members and loved ones will cherish those digital copies. Who knows, maybe there’s an extra special picture of you and your Dad in there that would be the perfect addition to your “Happy Father’s Day” Facebook post.