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How To Scan And Convert Your Old Paper Photos

How To Scan And Convert Your Old Paper Photos

Some of you out there may not remember this, but there was a time when digital cameras were not around, and you had to actually use these weird contraptions that required photographic film to take a picture. Then, after the whole roll of film was used, you had to go to a photo lab to get those pictures developed, and hopefully, at the end of the day, you would have your photos transferred to paper and ready to be stored on an album. That’s the way it used to be done, but in an age where digital photography is ever-present, why not convert those old paper photos and memories to digital as well? That’s what we’ll show you how to do today, using your phone and one simple app!

Traditionally, converting your old paper photos to digital can be a bit tricky. You could simply take your old photos to a photo lab and get the files back, but that takes time and money. You could also do it at home with a decent scanner, but even that isn’t easy – scanning itself takes ages, you have to make sure that your scanner even works with your current computer, you have to find the right cables and driver CD, you have to check that the scan comes back correctly, and a whole list of other issues may pop up in the meantime. It’s definitely not a pleasant process, which is why Google has developed a new app, PhotoScan, to help you preserve your old paper photos and keep them around forever:

Start by installing the PhotoScan app, directly from the Play Store, by using this link. Once you’re done installing, open up the app, and you should see a quick animation showing you how to use it:

It’s all very simple, and it allows you to scan a whole bunch of pictures in a matter of minutes, but it’s worth checking out the animation, as it shows you the basics of how it’s done. Once the animation is done, you will see the main interface of the app. It basically looks just like a regular camera, with an interface reminiscent of Google’s camera app:

To start scanning, simply grab an old paper photo and place it on a stable surface somewhere. Tap the middle button to start scanning, and you should see 4 circles pop up in the picture:

The icon in the middle should tell you where to move next – follow the arrow and hover over the corresponding circle. After you do all 4 circles, you’re done! The picture is taken, and your photo is processed. You can check the progress by looking at the picture icon – when it’s done animating, you’ll be able to tap it and see your picture:

Tap the “Save All” button to save and upload those pictures to Google Photos, storing them in the cloud:

The app tries to remove the edges and reproduce the accurate colors of the original photograph, without glare or overexposure, and you should end up with a high-quality digital replica of your photo. However, in some cases, the app may not be able to accurately detect the edges of your picture. For example, here:

PhotoScan had some issues figuring out that the wooden pattern was not part of the picture. However, it’s not a problem – just tap the “Adjust corners” icon and you can specify the edges yourself, by moving these 4 points around:

Finally, confirm the operation, and you will end up with a perfectly serviceable digital copy of your original picture:

This is a great app that tackles an issue that a lot of us don’t really think about – we all have photo albums hanging around, tucked away on a corner, and we never really think about them until we need it. Those memories are precious, and they deserve to be preserved. Paper doesn’t last forever, so do your best to keep those memories around for your children and grandchildren – just upload them to the cloud, and you’ll have them with you, forever. Any questions or doubts? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below!

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Carlos S.

Carlos is a guy. He likes technology and gadgets, and sometimes even writes about them! You can routinely see him playing with his smartphone and avoiding social interaction.
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