Let’s face it. Scanning old family photos and albums with a desktop scanner is a pain in the butt. Assuming you already own a flatbed or feeder scanner and have it all hooked up, you will first need to take photos out of albums. You’ll then scan 3-4 or more photos at a time, transfer them to your computer, and use a photo editing program to crop and save the photos, one at a time.
You’ll undoubtedly get great scans, but it could take weeks or months to scan, crop, edit, label and organize all your photos.
But there are easier ways too…
Photo scanning services
You could “outsource” this task to a photo scanning service They will scan photos and put them on CDs or DVDs for you. However, you can’t just send them your albums: You will need to take photos out of albums, sort by size, flat-pack and courier them. It will then take a week or more to get your original and scanned photos back, and you will then need to put photos back into your albums, and organize and caption the scans. The scan quality will generally be very good. Check on the internet to find out which photo scanning services are available in your country, and how much they charge. Do read their terms and conditions carefully.
Scan photos yourself…there are apps for it!
A faster and easier option to scan photos is to use an iPhone or iPad and a photo scanner app. The apps we will discuss here are: Pic Scanner, Pic Scanner Gold and Photo Scanner Premium.
Pic Scanner is a simple yet powerful app. It is ideal for quickly scanning photos, especially if you have an older model iPhone or iPad. The app lets you scan and auto-crop multiple photos at a time, perform basic edits, create albums and add captions for in-app viewing. It also lets you freely share and save photos to Photos app, Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox etc. Pic Scanner costs US$1.99 for unlimited use [Website] [App Store link]
Pic Scanner Gold is a much advanced version of Pic Scanner. It does everything Pic Scanner does, plus it can scan photos at higher resolution, has a powerful 19-tool editor, lets you import pictures from Photos app for pooling with scanned ones. It can also convert photos into slideshows, e-greeting cards and shareable albums; and allows many more ways to share and save photos. It costs US$4.99 for unlimited use. [Website] [App Store link]
Advantages of these apps: 1) Far less expensive than other alternatives. 2) High quality scans, as long as you follow the in-app scanning tips. 3) Fast: No need to remove photos from albums. 4) Photos don’t leave your home: No risk of loss or damage in transit.
Scanning photos ensures they are preserved for future generations, and also makes them easy to enjoy and share. It can be a rewarding, fun exercise. Take a trip down nostalgia lane!