Scanning Old Photos

Still making my way through old family photos left to me by my father. He was a photographer, so there is lots to wade through. He also wasn’t very well organized, which in some ways actually simplifies the job. I’m almost done with all the old family 8mm movies. I have had several hours of film professionally scanned. I also have an older model Wolverine 35mm film scanner which works well for slides and negatives. For photos I have a flatbed scanner / printer, but the idea of running literally thousands of prints through that system was a non-starter. I had taken to using my phone camera on an inverted tripod and just uploading the files, uncropped.

Recently my wife happened across the new Google Document Scanner app for our Android phones called Stack. A nice little app that includes OCR. I started using it before realizing it only saves PDF. I looked around again and found the new Google PhotoScan app. I have to say, I’m sold.

The PhotoScan app is made to use as a handheld photo scanner that takes multiple photos and stitches, crops and adjusts automatically. I didn’t need or want this sort of function. Luckily you can turn it all off and just do straight JPEG capture with automatic cropping. You need to be a little careful to get the cropping to work. The border has to be somewhat narrow with nothing else visible. I used a large white board as a background. Then all the photos get automatically uploaded to Google Photos without taking up any space on your phone. Just what I was looking for. Did over 1,500 photos over two days. Could have done more, but much of that time was spent learning about getting cropping to work the way I wanted.

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