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Scan your old photo prints to turn them into stunning digital images.
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There’s something special about a physical photo. Whether you’ve got shoeboxes of them or a collection of special polaroids, photographs are irreplaceable and take us back to special memories embedded in the stories of our lives. Because photos are so special to us, it’s important to digitize them so that you can preserve them forever (or even have them made into gorgeous wall art!).

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Option 1: Use a photo scanner 

For the highest quality digital photos, use a scanner. Every scanner’s specific instructions for use are different, so make sure to follow them step-by-step. Here are some tips to ensure the best possible results. 

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Choosing a scanner

There are many different photo scanners on the market with varying price tags and capabilities. A high quality scanner is a great investment for your home or office, and you don’t have to spend a ton for a good one. You can also purchase a portable scanner, like Doxie, that allows you to scan from anywhere.

When choosing a scanner, consider what your priorities are when it comes to digitizing prints. We’ve found some highly rated scanner options based on what you are specifically looking for.

Most budget-friendly: CanoScan LiDE220 Photo and Document Scanner

For film: Epson Perfection V370 Color Photo, Image, Film, Negative & Document Scanner

For mobility: Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Color Scanner for PC and Mac

Best all-around: HP Scanjet Enterprise Flow 7500 Flatbed Scanner, (L2725B)

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Clean your glass

Scanners are extremely sensitive to even the smallest of particles, so make sure to clean your scanner and photos. Keep the scanning station a dust-free environment. You can use a microfiber rag or alcohol-based wipe to get the job done.

Have a plan

It’s important to think about the order that you scan your photos. Organizing them by date or event is a good idea, but no matter which method you choose, make sure to have a plan before you start scanning and stick with it to stay organized.

Scan multiple photos at once

On an average-size scanner, you can scan four 4×6-inch photos at once and crop them later. Some scanners even come with software that does this automatically for you. This will cut down scanning time.

Choosing resolution

Select a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi), and up to 600 dpi if you plan to order enlargements.

Editing options

Take advantage of editing options. Most scanning software will allow you to crop, adjust color, adjust brightness and remove red-eye.

Choose your difficulty

When it comes to photo scanning, the process can be as basic or technical as you choose. For more intensive tips that will help you produce the highest quality digital images, check out this great resource.

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Option 2: Use a photo scanning app on your phone

As the quality of smartphone cameras improves, phone scanning apps become a more viable and useful option for turning old photos into digital prints. The cameras on the Pixel, Galaxy S7, and iPhone 7 are recommended for high-quality prints. Before scanning, be sure to clean your photos and phone lens with a microfiber cloth or cleaning wipe. Scan photos in a well-lit area with lots of natural light and avoid shadows.

Check out a few of our favorite photo scanning apps below:

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Heirloom

Price: Free

Availability: Google Play and App Store

Description: Heirloom is a fast, beautiful photo scanning app for moments we love. Heirloom enables you to preserve moments from your past and share them privately with friends and family in seconds. Scan a photo by taking a picture of it through the app. Heirloom does the rest for you. Share your photos and albums with friends and family in Heirloom private groups or post them on social media.

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Shoebox 

Price: Free

Availability: Google Play and App Store

Description: Shoebox turns your iPhone or Android into a high-quality photo scanner. With Shoebox, you can quickly scan paper photos, add important historical information like dates and places, and upload directly to your Ancestry.com family tree.

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Pic Scanner 

Price: First 12 scans are free, and then unlimited scanning for $2.99

Availability: App Store

Description: You can scan multiple photos with one touch. Pic Scanner detects, crops, and saves them individually. Pic Scanner is the first app for multiple photo scanning and offers fully automatic cropping, photo editing, and automatic perspective correction.

 
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Google Photo Scan

Price: Free

Availability: Google Play and App Store

Description: PhotoScan is a new app from Google Photos that lets you scan and save your favorite printed photos using your phone’s camera. Don’t just take a picture of a picture. Create enhanced digital scans, with automatic edge detection, perspective correction, and smart rotation. PhotoScan stitches multiple images together to remove glare and improve the quality of your scans.

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Option 3: Send your photos to a company that’ll do it for you 

Sometimes, it’s better to step back and let the professionals do the work for you. If you aren’t interested in scanning your own pictures, you can send them off to one of the companies below. They’ll convert them to digital form for you and send back the originals.

DiJiFi

DiJiFi is recognized for its high quality and respected ability to digitize all photo formats and still images, optimize images in digital form, print high quality and archival images, and save your digital files to hard drive, discs or the cloud, including creating backups and adding descriptive info to each image so you can track and organize it.

Legacybox

Just fill Legacybox with your tapes, film, pictures, and audio. Send it in and they’ll send it back with your memories preserved on DVDs and optional thumb drive.

iMemories 

Enjoy your photos without limits– you get unlimited cloud storage, plus unlimited uploads, downloads, and sharing of your memories from as many devices as you please – all for one flat and friendly price.

Check out more photo scanning services here!

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No matter how you decide to scan your photos, having those inspiring moments in digital form opens up a world of possibility. Whether you convert them into a Fracture to hang in your home, or share them with friends and family on social media, you’ve successfully preserved your precious moments forever.

Which way would you digitize your photos? Let us know in the comments. 

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