Scanning photos into digital copies isn’t just for old photo albums. These days, you’ll often have to decide whether to buy an expensive digital version of school photos, not to mention weddings. But why spend extra money when you have a photo scanner in your pocket?
Google PhotoScan is an app both for Android and iOS, and works by using your phone’s camera to take several photos of a print photograph, using intelligence to stitch them together and mark the edges of the photograph. The photo stitching also works to eliminate glare from your phone’s flash, though a well-lit photo using natural light delivers the best results.
To be fair, a native digital image will present the clearest, sharpest results. And if you have a dedicated scanner, or a multifunction printer with a scanner attached to it, that option should definitely be explored. But scanners cost money, as do the rights to digital images—the local photography service charged me $17! Instead, explore what your phone’s own camera can do before ponying up for that Instagram post.
How to scan a photo with PhotoScan in 3 easy steps
First, download Google PhotoScan for Android or PhotoScan for iOS. Google doesn’t place any restrictions on what devices you can use with PhotoScan, though you’ll need Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. Of course, you’ll obviously need a photo, glossy or not. Google doesn’t seemingly place any restrictions on size, though I’ve only used smaller 3×5 and 4×6 prints.
Second, begin scanning. When you launch the app, PhotoScan shows you what to do: Shoot the entire print inside the frame of your camera. PhotoScan will then superimpose four smaller circles over the image of the print, and ask you to move PhotoScan’s “targeting” reticle over each. (Again, the short tutorial clarifies this nicely).
Don’t worry if you don’t precisely align the targeting reticle over each of the targets, as it didn’t seem to make any difference in the clarity of the finished image. The circles tended to jump a bit as I aligned them, too.
PhotoScan also allows you to define the corners of the image after the image is captured. This came into play only if I used PhotoScan with a print set against a light background, which made it harder to distinguish the edges…..Read more>>