Google's new PhotoScan app and what I think.

Recently I found a great new app for scanning old printed photographs.  Have you ever gone to take a picture of an old photo to share on Facebook or just to have a digital copy of it?  Then you realize there is a bad glare on it or it’s too dark well Google’s new app Photo Scan might be a solution for you.  I happened across a story about this app and thought I would give it a try, turns out it works pretty well. 


If you’ve made this far in the blog post well you're in luck because I used the app to take some photos of some old photos of me and my family.  So lets start the fun and I will give you my opinions on the app and how the photos came out.


kid basket green yellow

First up is me playing in a couple of cloths baskets, funny thing is I remember playing in the baskets when I was a kid.  I think I was about 3 years old when this was taken so it would have been about 1982.  That makes this print about 34 years old and it has held up pretty good; and the app worked real well for this photo.  There are no glares on the photo and the colors reproduced very well.  The biggest tip I can give for using this app is to take the photo in a dimmer area and not under direct light; the app uses the flash to light the photo and it does a lot better than I thought it would. 


The app is pretty simple to use, just center the photo in the frame and move your phone to line up the 4 circles.  The app takes 4 photos of your photo than stiches it together to make a glare free picture.


My next photo I used was me when I was about 5…I think, honestly most of the photos have dates on them but I’m sitting on the couch and don’t feel like getting up and looking at them so I will just guess.  As you can see this photo does have a slight glare on it and this is because I took the photo in my kitchen underneath the light.  I thought taking the photo under light would be better but turns out that just hurts the quality.


This photo of my brother turned out pretty well.  He was probably 1 or 2 in this photo and I’m sure he’s real happy that I’m sharing this.  This one was also taken in a little dimmer light so there was no glare on it.


How about this Polaroid of my dad holding me when I was a newborn?   The reproduction came out great! 

polaroid dad baby


The problem I’ve found with the app is if a photo is already not exposed right like this photo where our shirts are a little blown out when you use the app it uses your flash which will make things like blown highlights (over exposed areas) a little worse because your shinning a light on it.  I haven’t tried scanning a photo while it’s still in the frame but I’m sure there would be a pretty bad glare on it because of the glass.

bride groom fall


In all I think this app is pretty great as long as you use it properly.  Be sure to not use it under direct light and you will be ok; as you play with it you will find out what the best lighting conditions are to get a great reproduction.  PhotoScan is perfect to use while visiting family because you can save some of your old family photos without having to go to a lot of trouble setting up a scanner but still being able to get copies of grandma’s old photos that you want to make sure stay around for a long time. 


PhotoScan is a solution for digitizing small numbers of photos in my opinion but if you are serious about digitizing a large number of photos you may want to consider a scanning service such as  If you have hundreds or thousands of photos you want to digitize the PhotoScan app is going to take a long time to do because it takes 4 photos of each picture so you would have a considerable amount of time invested into a large number of photos.  But if you do it yourself you can also insure that nothing will happen to the photos unlike if you ship them off somewhere so keep that in mind too.  I’ve never used personally so this is not an endorsement just one service that I know about please do your own research when deciding on a scanning service; personally if I had a large number of photos to scan I would try and stay local because I would be very nervous shipping priceless irreplaceable memories.  A camera store like Camera Corner would be a good place to check out or any place that still has a photo lab.



I hope you enjoyed this review and find some use in it.  Here are a few more old photos I scanned with PhotoScan.

Me and my brother matt.

Me and my brother matt.

Pete when he was just 4 years old.

Pete when he was just 4 years old.

Me and my late brother Jarrett.  Miss you buddy.

Me and my late brother Jarrett.  Miss you buddy.