Easy way to scan photos and picture albums

Scanning old family photos and albums can take a Herculean effort. Even if you are tech-savvy and have all the paraphernalia (a desktop scanner, computer, Photoshop), it can take weeks or months to scan, crop, edit, label and organize photos spanning many decades.

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]

Photo Scanner Premium is identical to Pic Scanner Gold, but is priced differently. Initially, a US99¢ download allows 24 scans and use of all features. Once you have tried out the app and decide you like it, you can upgrade to unlimited version for US$4.99 [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!

Introduction to Photo Scanning

If you have an iPhone or iPad, photo scanning is super easy with Pic Scanner app. To scan with your smartphone or a digital camera, remember a few things and you’ll do just fine:

  • Lighting: Ensure good ambient lighting. If you can, scan in natural daylight. You don’t want the sun shining directly on the photos, but indirect or reflected light; so scan near a window. It’s harder to avoid glare and reflections under artificial (electric) light. Colors will also not be reproduced faithfully, especially if scanning under fluorescent light. Can you guess which of the following scans was done by daylight and which under a table lamp?

2      2a

  • No flash: Never use flash while scanning, for precisely the reasons mentioned above regarding electric and fluorescent lighting. Turn OFF flash before you scan. See the reflections and flash glare in the photos below:

glare reflections scanned photo      scanned pic with flash glare

  • No zoom: Using the digital zoom on your smartphone will reduce image resolution. Bring the camera closer to the photo being scanned, instead of holding it further away and zooming in. As photozxels.com explains, “Digital zoom….takes a central portion of the image and enlarges it, thus ‘simulating’ optical zoom. In other words, the camera crops a portion of the image and then enlarges it back to size. In so doing, you lose image quality.”
  • Steady hands: Since the photos being scanned are close to the camera, you must hold the iPhone or iPad very steady while scanning. Can be difficult, especially with iPad. An easy solution is to place the iPhone or iPad on a locker stand, and position the photos below it.

Ready to start photo scanning? Get Pic Scanner app. It helps you take care of some of the above things, and also automatically crops the photos for you – a big time and effort-saver. Below is a short tutorial video of this critically acclaimed app:


Yes, There Were Pics Before Pixels


Life Before Digital Cameras

Remember life before digital cameras? It wasn’t so long ago that:

  • Before boarding the plane for an exotic vacation, packing enough rolls of film was as important as packing the passport.
  • You worried endlessly whether those X-Ray scanners at airports were really film-safe.
  • There were no instant previews. If a photo was overexposed or underexposed, or your eyes were half-closed, it was just too bad.
  • Reloading film outdoors involved either a changing bag, or cupped hands in a shaded place.
  • It was days, often weeks before you got to see your photos.
  • Sharing photos meant putting them in an envelope and posting them.
  • You fussed about ASA and DIN as you now do about megapixels.
  • Editing, cropping and applying filters was only for professionals.

And be honest: How many times did you mix up exposed rolls of film with unused ones?

Bringing Old Photos into the Digital Era


Digital photography has made things simpler and made the finer nuances of photography (such as editing, filters, using meta data etc.) accessible to everyone. But a lot of our old memories now languish, unseen and forgotten, in shoe boxes and picture albums.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have all your photos – old and new – in one place? Like in the palm of your hand? Well, you could if your old photographs were all scanned and catalogued. Are they? Chances are they’re not. How many times have you thought about sorting and scanning them, but never got round to it because it’s too tedious?

Preserving and organizing those forgotten, fading memories is now easy. No, it doesn’t involve bulky desktop scanners or complicated photo editing software. Nor will it take weeks of work. Now you can just do it with an iPhone or iPad! And an app.

Pic Scanner App For iPhone and iPad
Pic Scanner Blog
Pic Scanner is an easy-to-use app that lets you digitize up to four photo prints at a time. It then automatically separates and saves them as individual images.

The app also includes tools for basic editing tasks, as well as options for enhancing, captioning, organizing and sharing pictures.

Pic Scanner has won accolades from Cult of Mac, The Guardian, iPad Insight, Gizmodo and many other highly-regarded reviewers. BBC’s flagship technology program ‘Click’ also showcased it.

The full-featured trial version of Pic Scanner can be downloaded here. This free evaluation version allows 12 scans and 12 opportunities to share photos. And if you decide to upgrade, unlimited scanning and sharing only costs $2.99.

Digitizing gives old photographs a new life. It is the best way to preserve those rare, one-of-a-kind moments of your personal history. And there’s a lot you can do with digital photos. But let’s save that for another post.

New Year’s Resolution? Scanning photos.

Time for scanning photos?

Will this be the year when you get down to scanning photos in those old picture albums? Well, it’s resolution time, so why not take the leap?

Oh, wait! We know why you are hesitating. It’s the thought of rigging up the bulky old scanner, scanning photos one by one, saving them on the computer, then manually cropping each photo flashing through your head? Then there’s the other option – to send everything to a scanning service. But that would mean taking the photos out of albums, flat packing and shipping off those one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable photos to some far-away factory for a couple of weeks, then putting them all back in the albums when they come back. Tedious, and not exactly cheap.

Well, there’s another way to do it. As Apple says, there’s an app for it.

Use iPhone or iPad – and Pic Scanner app

With an iPhone or iPad, and Pic Scanner app, you can get the job of scanning photos done real quick. Without the hassles of scanners, computers, cropping software and scanning services.

iPhone and iPad have pretty awesome, high resolution cameras. Pic Scanner turns this high quality camera into a high performance photo scanner.

The real effort-saving part is that you can scan up to four photos simultaneously. Pic Scanner will automatically (and accurately) crop and save them as individual images. It also has built-in (and easy to use) editing tools, filters, and the ability to add captions. Scan loose photos or albums – a page at a time, without having to take photos out. An entire album in just minutes.

You can try the app free. Download the full-featured version from the App Store, view 3-4 tips, then try a dozen scans. If you like what you see, get the unlimited version (unlimited scanning and sharing) with one one-time $2.99 in-app purchase. Costs less than a cup of coffee! The app has got great reviews from the BBC, Cult of Mac, iPad Insight and lots of happy users.

Done scanning photos? What next?

Once you are done scanning photos, you can have lots of fun with them. Post a few Throwback Thursdays pics on Facebook or Twitter for ‘likes’ and laughs. Create a “Then and now” set of photos. Here are a couple of examples:

Scanning photos: then and now

Scanning old photos: Then and now

Find lots more photo crafts inspiration on our Facebook and Pinterest pages. Make that New Year’s (or birthday, or Thanksgiving) resolution, download Pic Scanner, and get started NOW!

“Put away the desktop scanner” Says AppAdvice


Are the days of the trusty old desktop scanner numbered? Here’s what AppAdvice has to say:

“Almost everyone uses their mobile devices or digital cameras for snapping photos nowadays. But, what about all of those pictures you have in that shoe box, physical album, or even the drawer? Baby pictures, wedding photos, or family vacation shots from when you were a child are precious. With Pic Scanner you can quickly scan and then edit, save, and share them just as easily as the photos you take now.”

Read the full article here.

AppAdvice is a respected resource on the Web for people looking to discover iOS apps. They filter and vet the 1,500,000+ apps in the App Store to bring their readers up to date on news regarding apps, as well as providing detailed app reviews.

Pic Scanner offers portability, speed and convenience, and you can instantly post those legacy photographs on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or the many other sharing and archiving options bundled within the app. You can even digitize directly from picture albums – no need to go through the hassle of taking out fragile pics, and putting them back in afterwards. A little better than the old fashioned “scan on desktop scanner and crop on computer” method!

To be fair, a desktop scanner can give you very high quality (600-1200 PPI) scans, TIF files and more. But do you really need those? Do you need to make six-by-four foot prints? Do you really want to store a thousand 30 MB photos on your computer? Can you always have your desktop scanner at hand whenever you want to scan photos? If not, go with the scanner you always have on you – in your pocket (iPhone) or the palm of your hand (iPad). And Pic Scanner app. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.


Pic Scanner on Facebook


So how many kings does it take to bury one? The answer (and the pic that raised the question) appeared on our Facebook page a couple of years ago. Do check it out – we post loads of interesting stuff – scanning tips and tricks, photo crafts ideas and tutorials, quirky things we have scanned, old (and not so old) photographs, and other fun stuff.

‘Like’ our Facebook page to receive a weekly dose of historic photos and creative inspiration.

A recent post from our Facebook page: