Best photo scanning apps and how to scan your old photos (without us!)
Here at Vintage Photo Lab, we love to scan your old photos and we take pride in being the go-to place for professional quality bulk photo scanning. We can scan up to 20,000 photos in a day, which we wouldn’t advise you to attempt at home on your flatbed scanner! That’s why we’ve written this post about the best photo scanning apps available today.
So, if you don’t have thousands of photos, or aren’t ready to use our service just yet, but you do fancy scanning just a few of your old photos yourself, there are some really cool smartphone scanning apps you may want to give a try. The results can vary a little but for digital use of the images on social media, it’s a quick, easy and fun way of digitising old memories.
It’s also probably worth noting that if you are planning on making a photo book, you should probably consider using a proper scanner, in order to get the required resolution. Or check out our services here and we’ll do it for you!
Anyway, back to the best smartphone photo scanning apps to digitise your old photos.
Here’s our top 4:
PhotoScan by Google – photo scanning apps
The new kid on the scanning block designed with a simple intuitive feel. There are no fancy gimmicks or crazy filters on this app, just a straight forward user interface that leads you through the scanning process.
PhotoScan has made scanning your photo easy. You take one overall photo plus four more, one at each corner. Next the smart part, the app will now stitch together all five photos to give you a nice flat scan. The file is saved directly into your regular photos folder. That really is smartphone app photo scanning genius.
The scans I tried were usually sharp and kept most of their fine detail. However, the app is lacking an auto/colour correction function prevalent on most similar apps and whilst Google claim PhotoScan removes glare I found it struggled somewhat on glossy paper.
It’s a great simple to use the app, but it could be improved if it was bundled with auto correction and simple filter.
- Great for scanning individual photos.
- It makes a decent job of removing glare.
- Produces a true rectangular final scan.
- Simple to use and free.
- There are no colour correction/filter settings on the app.
- The process is slow, you need to take five photos for each final image.
Pic Scanner – photo scanning apps
Pic Scanner starts as a free trial version and after twenty-six scans you need to upgrade for a one-off fee of £2.99. Its best asset is its ability to scan multiple photos at once.
Hold your phone square above a collection of photos and the app will auto-detect each one, crop and create a new photo file. It comes with a great auto colour correct feature, which brings back life to old photos, as well as B&W and sepia filters to give that extra vintage look. You can also add captions to your scans.
The multiple scan feature is a great asset but it is also its greatest weakness. The app sometimes struggles to recognise photo edges leading to a tighter crop than you may like. The scan quality isn’t great for multiple photos, they’re soft, can be out of focus and a bit grainy. You’re asking your smartphone to work beyond its capabilities trying to scan many photos at once.
- It’s good for scanning multiple photos.
- Excellent auto colour correct feature & plus a range of filters.
- You can add captions to your files.
- Scanning multiple photos at once will give you poor quality scans.
- There’s no glare or perspective compensation feature.
- It’s only a trial version, you need to pay after 26 scans.
Photomyne – photo scanning apps
This comes as a free trial and after three scanning sessions, you need to upgrade for the princely sum of £4.99. Like Pic Scanner this also boasts a multiple scanning facility.
As before to scan, multiple photos hold your phone square above the page and the app will auto-detect each photo then create separate photo files. The free version comes with one ‘restore’ filter which is pretty good, it can bring your printer back to something like the original with denser colours and more contrast. Additional filters B&W etc. can be accessed upon upgrading. Captions and dates can also be added to the files. You also have the option of cloud storage for your photos with a 75p monthly subscription.
As with Pic Scanner, its selling point is the ability to scan multiple photos at once and as with Pic Scanner it also lets it down. The quality of multiple scanned photos isn’t great, they lack fine detail and can be grainy. The photos need to be very flat when scanned, the auto-detection function seems to struggle with a curling edge and can over crop the image. The cloud storage is a great idea, but be aware of the final quality.
- As before, it’s good for scanning multiple photos.
- Captions can be added to your files.
- There is the option for cloud storage.
- Scanning multiple photos at once leads to poor results.
- The picture edge auto detection function struggled sometimes leading to over cropped files.
- It’s only a trial version, you’ll need to upgrade for £4.99.
Summary – photo scanning apps
So, that’s some of the latest and most popular photo scanning apps out there to scan your old photos, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The single frame scanners give better quality but are time-consuming, the multiple ones are quicker but there is a lack of fine detail.
Top tips for photo scanning with apps
- Scan photos in a well light room, but avoid direct light & glare.
- Make sure you’re directly above your old photo when shooting.
- Ensure there is a strong contrast between your photo and the surface it’s on.