With digital imaging we don’t have to worry about limited shots, getting the film set up correctly, or what will come back from the pharmacy. The the cloud contains everything, ready to be shared on a screen near you. For older people, memories are often tied to aging pictures chemically fixed to paper and carefully inserted into frames or plastic sleeves. Digging up bookmarks and scanning them makes them available to be shared on screens, through messages, or on social media. He can unlock forgotten days for everyone who was there and bring moments to life for those who weren’t there.
I recently scanned a selection of old photos, many forgotten in an old shoebox, and spent a few happy hours reliving special days with my wife as our children watched in disbelief. ” It’s really you ? Mom is so beautiful. You were such an emo dad. (For the record: yes, it still is, and I was a huge fan of grunge). It’s an exercise I recommend, incorporating long-dead relatives, old friends, and younger versions of ourselves into the mix of digital photo frames. It’s that easy and only requires your smartphone or a scanner and a free afternoon.
By far the easiest option for scanning old photos is to use your phone. You can just take a photo of your old photos, but you can get better results with a photo scanner app. I tested three popular photo scanner apps on a Pixel 6 (9/10, WIRED recommends) against an affordable photo scanner and compared the results with several old photos. Judging photos is always subjective, so I got a blind second opinion from WIRED’s lead writer and reviewer, Scott Gilbertson.
You can also use photo scanning services, but they’re expensive and require you to send in your photos, so we’re not covering them here. But I’ve included tips on how to prepare your images for best results and what to do with them after scanning.
Google Photo Scan
The first app I tested is a natural choice for anyone using Google Photos, as it automatically saves scans to your Photos library. The app is free and easy to use, but scanning photos takes time because you have to scan them individually. The process requires you to take multiple images, which are then stitched together to produce the best image quality. When you press the scan button, you’ll see four circles (one in each corner) and you hold the phone over each one until it fills up to capture the photo.