Do you have a photo album filled with photos you want to digitize, but the photos aren’t easy to remove? Here are three ways you can scan photos stuck to a photo album.
I have several 12 x 12 Creative Memories scrapbooks, where most of the photos are stuck to the album. Of course, you can hire a professional to scan the photos for you, but I’m going to stick with options you can do yourself. Remember, in this scenario, your photos are stuck to the album, so you can’t remove them easily. And if you try to remove them, you could damage them.
Option 1: Use a smartphone app
There are several smart phone apps, but the two I like the best are Photomyne, which is available for iOS and Android, and Unfade Pro, only available for iOS. Unfade Pro still has a free version and Photomyne used to, but recently Photomyne made “free” so impossible to use that I ended up paying for the app. They also charge another fee for every additional thing it can do. I don’t mind paying for an app but I feel that Photomyne’s charges are excessive. But I digress…
Here’s how to use an app.
Place your photo near a window with good light but not direct sunlight.
Here I set my album on the floor next to a glass slider with indirect light. Each of these apps can detect the border of the photo and take a photo of it, and once the photo is taken, the app will straighten and crop it. So it’s a lot better than just taking a photo of a photo.
The Unfade Pro app scans one photo at a time, and the Photomyne app can scan multiple photos and crop them into individual photos. But that does make each photo smaller. So I prefer to scan one photo at a time.
The value of using a phone app is that it’s with you wherever you go and it’s fast and easy to use. I was at my husband’s college reunion recently and saw a photo brought by one of his classmates. I was able to grab my phone, open the app, and quickly take a photo of it. It came out great. The sides weren’t skewed like they would have been if I had simply taken a photo of it and it was nicely cropped.
You might wonder if the quality is as good as just taking a photo. And the answer is yes. It’s as good as the quality of the camera in your phone, which for the most part is usually pretty good and even better with some of the newer phones. Of course, you can’t set the resolution you want, so you don’t have any control over the final size except for how close you get to the photo. But for most purposes, the size is going to be just fine; plenty big enough.
Option 2: Doxie Flip portable scanner
Another option is to use a dedicated scanner that you can flip over and set right on top of your photo album to scan a photo. That’s what the Doxie Flip scanner does. And it’s actually a very nice little scanner that’s small enough to easily take to a family reunion or to the house of a relative, especially if you have to fly somewhere. You can set the resolution to either 300 or 600 pixels per inch. The 600 option will make the photo twice as big as the original.
If you’re able to remove a photo, you can use it as a regular scanner. But if the photo is stuck, you can also remove the Doxie Flip lid, flip the scanner over and place it above the photo. The see through scanner bed allows you to actually see the photo so you can position the scanner properly.
The Doxie Flip has another cool function. If the photo is bigger than the size of the small scanner bed, just take several scans of the photo, making sure you include every part of the photo and the Doxie Flip software will stitch the photos together for you. Very cool.
Option 3: Flatbed scanner
The third option is to use a regular flatbed scanner. You’ll have to flip the photo album over and lay it on the scanner. I usually leave the lid open when I work with a bulky item like a large photo book.
If the album is big and heavy, it helps to place a box or stack of books next to the scanner to hold up the side not being scanned while you’re scanning the other side.
The photos aren’t likely to come out perfectly straight, so you’ll want to open the scan in a photo editing program like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, where you can straighten and crop the photo. The nice thing about using a regular flatbed scanner is that you have total control over the scanning resolution. So if you need to increase the size of a photo, you can increase the resolution which increases the size.
All three of these options give you good quality photos and make it possible for your stuck photos to stay right where they are.
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