Monday, February 27, 2017

Photo Scanning App Review

I am up on Amber LaBau's Blog today to discuss So I have recently posted a few layouts with older scanned photos – back in the day when digital wasn’t even imagined.  I am fortunate that I do have lots of amazing family photos and I have become the defacto family historian. This makes me happy because I love old photos – but I definitely do not love flatbed scanners! I know that they are best for the most fragile photos – but I don’t have the luxury of always using one when I am visiting extended family.  I have been using one app on my iPhone – PicScanner but I wanted to see if there was something better out there that I wasn’t using.  I have a giant stack from my Aunt’s house and I wanted to make sure I was using the best tool.
First, just using my standard camera on my iPhone 6S + here are a few photos that I will be testing with 3 apps that I choose -  PicScanner, Google PhotoScan and Photomyne. I learned a lot about each one - and its pluses and minuses.  These are iPhone apps except for Google Photo Scan but there are similar ones available in the Google Play Store.
As you can see the photos are in decent shape, but the paper scrapbook is in terrible condition.
So the first one I looked at was PicScanner.  It is the one I have used before - but it definitely has some features which are good and some not so good.
One nice feature is that it won't take a photo until you get a nicely squared photo, i.e. not too much distortion as your taking the photos.  It takes a few seconds to get the image in focus but it can give you a balanced image. One drawback of PicScanner is that it wants to "crop" your image for you - and sometimes the crops are really weird! There is a way to save the full size image, however saving the image without automatic cropping takes several steps.  They could definitely improve that function.
But one super nice feature is the options for saving and sharing. You can even share directly to Facebook. The latest version also allows for automatic iCloud storage which older versions did not.

Next I tried the Google Photo Scan app.  It was very easy to start to use the app - there is a quick tutorial to get started. It uses a unique tool to reduce the glare on scanned photos.  You center the phone over the image and then move to each of the four corners (the white circles). Then the google app overlays the 4 images to remove the glare.

This is how the final version looks on your phone.  Not too many options here - basic cropping and two saving options - Camera Roll or Google Photos.  Again there is some automatic cropping that occurs in the app, but the results are good.

Finally, I tried Photomyne.  I don't know about you but I have seen this one advertised "everywhere"! The advantage of this app is that it allows for quick photo taking and scanning. There is a Pro version available which allows for unlimited cloud storage of your scans.

I took these with just a few clicks - no need to adjust the alignment or to take multiple images of the same photos. In fact I took these 5 in less time that it took me to do the 1 example above. The app does also do some automatic cropping and color adjustments without the ability to reduce or eliminate those changes (at least in the free version...).
I was fairly happy with the results of all three trials. Each app does a good job of scanning with their own pluses and minuses for cropping and storage.I hope that you take my results and pick the best option for you. As I said, I am blessed to have lots of family photos - the ones I used for my test are from my Aunt's 14th birthday (my mother in the center dancing is only 12 years old, and these photos were taken in Cuba). Whatever app you chose, or if you continue to use a flatbed scanner,  find any and all treasured photos that you are lucky enough to have  and make sure that you do take the time to scan them so that they can be enjoyed by future generations.
Happy scrapping! 

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