Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Scan old snapshots with PhotoScan, part of Mobile Photography Weekly.
- Hi, I'm Sean Duggan and welcome back to another episode of Mobile Photography Weekly. You know, photographs are so important in our lives and they have been for a long time. These days most of us are using digital cameras, whether it's our camera phone or other digital cameras, but we all probably have a fair amount of analog photos in our lives, too, from our time as a child, our parents' time, our grandparents' time and they're probably tucked away in shoe boxes or old photo albums or in a drawer. And, you know, the thing about when photos are tucked away, is that it's hard to relive them and experience them regularly.
Fortunately, there's a really cool app from Google called PhotoScan that lets you easily make really nice scans of old snapshots. Let's see how this works. I'm going to go in here and open this up and when the app first opens, it'll give you a little animation that shows you how it works. It's really, really easy to use and that's the beauty of it. So, what you do is, you just position the photo within the frame and you press the button.
It takes a reference shot and then it gives you a series of circles and you just follow the arrow and essentially connect the dots and when it's done taking the picture, it'll tell you to go to the next dot. Alright, so, there we have that. Let's take a look at that and see what it looks like. Go in here and check that out. So, the cool thing about this is you can rotate this if the pictures needs to be rotated. But what I really like about this is that you can adjust the corners.
So, it's kind of cropped off the original white edges of the corners of the picture and if I tap adjust corners, I can come in here and grab these corners and I get a little loop view there which allows me to very precisely position those corners. So I can choose to have the original white borders or not. In this case I'm going to keep those original white borders. Something like that looks good. I'll just tap done there.
There, I think that looks a little bit better. And the cool thing is that as long as the photo exists in the Google Photos app, you can go back and readjust those corners at any time, even after you have closed the app. If you want to save the picture, just tap the save all button, it'll save them to your camera roll. At that point it removes them from the Google Photos app. So, very easy to use. Not much to it, but there are some tips that I can pass along to help you with situations where the photos might not be so easy to photograph.
Maybe they have a highly reflective surface or maybe they're just not laying flat. So I've got a couple here that fit that description here. So this one here's a picture of my mother. So this is an old baking sheet that we no longer use for food preparation. This is kind of an arts and crafts baking sheet in our family. And this is going to work really well. I've got some magnetic strips here that you can get at any craft store and that's going to hold that photo down really well there. Now even though this does have a reflective surface, the fact that you're actually taking four photos as you move the phone around is going to help Google create a picture without reflections.
Now sometimes with highly reflective pictures, you still may get some reflective trouble and I've noticed that that happens to me most often when I have a light directly overhead. So whether it's a bank of fluorescent lights in my office or some other light that's directly overhead, that is going to cause a problem. So, typically, I move off a little bit so that I'm not directly underneath the light. The other thing you can do in Google Photos is that you can turn a flash on as well. And then it'll do a flash each time so that might help you out with that.
I'm just going to turn that flash off. Now about the flash, one thing I have noticed here is that it does give different coloration to the picture. So this picture here was taken without flash and this one was taken with flash. So I definitely like the coloration of the image without the flash. Now one other tip is that some pictures aren't going to work well with these lightweight magnets if they're really thick and really bent. So this one here, it's a shot of my parents here, it doesn't really hold down very well with these strips here.
So for something like that you might need to get a little bit more robust magnets to hold down the corners. The image size of the scans that PhotoScan makes is approximately 3,000 pixels on the long edge and that's enough to make a decent size 8x10 with no resizing upwards. And the cool thing about PhotoScan is just how easy it is to use. Once you start using it and figuring it out, you'll find yourself scanning all the old snapshots around your house that have meaning to you.
Because once you get them on your phone you can do so much more with them including sharing them with family and friends.