How to convert printed photos to digital format

Your old photo prints are priceless and remind you of your fond memories, friends, family and loved ones who may or may not be with you. However, a major problem with printed photos is that they can gradually deteriorate or become damaged, even when placed in an album.

Convert printed photos to digital format with a scanner

Although there has always been a way to scan printed photos with a scanner, not many people go down this route. Buying a good quality scanner is expensive and using the scanner to digitize old photos is time consuming.

However, if you do take care of memories, you will be willing to invest the time and money to preserve them.

Because there are different types of scanners and scanning software, the steps to scan photos and edit scanned photos may vary. Therefore, instead of offering step-by-step photo scanning guides, we only provide some rough guidelines on how to scan photos below.

1. It is important that you place or set up your scanner in a dust-free environment.

2. Remove dust from old photos with a clean microfiber cloth.

3. Clean the scanner glass with a microfiber cloth or an alcohol-based cleaning cloth

4. Select a minimum resolution of 300 dpi for scanning 4×6 inch photo prints.

5. Choose a higher resolution (600 or 900 dpi) if you want to enlarge 4×6 inch photos.

6. Use the editing options in the scanning software to crop, adjust the color and enhance the digital copies

Take photos of printed photos

Another option widely used by many users is to use a digital camera or the back camera of an iPhone or Android phone to snap photos of printed photos to create a digital copy of the printed photos.

While this option does manage to create a digital copy of your printed photos, using this option often results in poor-quality images with shine and crooked edges.

Outsource photos for scanning

If you don’t have the time to scan hundreds or thousands of printed photos, you can outsource the job to photo scanning services like Digital Memories, DigMyPics, or EZPhotoScan, or find a local scanning service near you.

The advantage of a local scanning service is that the work will most likely be done by local staff and not outsourced to countries with cheaper labour. Also, you can test the quality of the service by starting with a smaller order.

Use Google’s PhotoScan app to digitize printed photos

Google’s PhotoScan app automatically crops, rotates and adjusts photos to the best possible orientation using edge detection and perspective correction technology.

The app also has anti-glare and auto-enhancement features that allow you to create enhanced digital scans of your printed photos.

In general, Google’s PhotoScan app gives better results than photographing printed photos or scanning the photos with an average quality scanner.

Google’s PhotoScan app is available for free and can be downloaded to your Android phone google play Store and on your iPhone or iPad app store.

1. Download and install it PhotoScan App on your iPhone or Android phone.

2. put that printed photo on a flat surface

3. Open the PhotoScan app on your iPhone or Android phone.

4. Next, position your phone’s rear camera over the printed photo and tap Trigger.

5. You will see four circles appear in the photo.

6. Now hover your phone over the first circle and hold it until the circle is selected. Similarly, hover your phone over each of the 3 remaining circles until all are selected and filled.

As you move your camera over the 4 dots, the PhotoScan app will take photos of the printed photos and combine those 4 photos into a single digital photo.

Once you’ve covered all four circles, the PhotoScan app will automatically rotate, crop, color correct and save the photo to your phone.


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