Scan old photos using your smart phone

It’s so simple to scan old pictures and turn them into a photo book using the ifolor Designer with your smart phone. We will show you how, with step by step instructions.

You know the situation: old photos are slowly losing their colour and are almost falling out of their dusty photo albums, and individual pictures are carelessly stowed under the bed in shoe boxes. But, in the form of these photos, it is also memories that are being hidden in cardboard boxes. We will now show you how to process these old pictures with your mobile phone and keep them safely in a new photo book.

Step 1: Collecting photos

Back when cameras still had film, you had to order extra prints afterwards if you also wanted to have a copy of the snapshot. But of course one had not always thought of that at the time. So the first step consists of asking friends and family about their old photos, in order to complete your own photo collection.

Step 2: Arranging by subject and picking

The new photo book can only be a success if you judge the photos critically. You can leave out pictures that are blurred or don’t actually mean anything. You should arrange the rest by subject: your sister’s weeding, your nephew’s first steps or your parents’ childhood. Every event deserves to have a separate section devoted to it.

1. Fotos zusammensuchen

Step 3: Digitalising photos

It is best to tackle one subject that you would like to digitalise per day. This way you will not lose the desire to process your pictures when you find yourself facing the mountain of old photos. For the digitalising you only need your smart phone.

Schritt 3: Fotos digitalisieren

Option 1: smartphone camera

If you go close enough to your old photos with the lens of the smart phone camera, the resolution is even sufficient for enlargements. It is best to take the pictures outside with you when it is bright but cloudy. Natural light is best for reflecting the colours, and if the sun is not shining directly onto the photos you will have hardly any problems with shadowing. Alternatively, you can also gather the pictures in a bright place in your home, perhaps by a window. Make sure that the photo is in focus. On most smart phones you change the focus by tapping the screen area.

Option 2: Scanning-apps
Apart from the normal camera app you can also use special scan apps such as the following:

You can try out the iOS app Pic Scanner on the basis of twelve free photo scans. The full version with unlimited scans costs 3 CHF. When scanning, it is here important that you photograph your pictures on a neutral background and at a sufficient distance. The app itself recognises whether you are holding the camera really straight over the picture. Detected photos are automatically cropped so that nothing remains of the surroundings. This all works very well for the scanning of individual photos. Unfortunately, however, in our test, several photos were not detected at the same time. Photos are stored in the iCloud or Dropbox and can be shared with friends from there. The quality of the photos also depends on the camera. Whereas the scanned pictures are noisy with an iPad, they look better with a current iPhone.

You can try out the iOS app Tiny Scanner (iOS and Android) photographs in colour or black and white. Because it is designed primarily for documents, choose the common formats such as A4, A5 and others when cropping. You can pass on the finished pictures and documents by e-mail. If you would like to save in Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive, you will need the Pro version for 5 CHF. Because there is no spirit level function for holding the camera straight, it is unfortunately often the case that pictures are not photographed at exactly the right angle. The app scores highly however on its simple and intuitive operation.

Schritt 4: Fotobuch erstellen

Once you have gathered your new digital treasures, you can design a suitable photo book and get it printed, with ifolor. To do this, use the free Designer-Software for Windows or Mac, by means of which you set layouts, sequence and design. You can either upload the pictures directly from a folder on your hard-drive or import them from the Dropbox. As an alternative, an app for iPhone or iPad is also available to you.

4. Fotobuch-erstellen

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