Over the last couple of years, I have inherited a ton of old family photos. Some are ancient, and others are from my day. What I end up with is a mix of photos – black and white, different sizes (think from 3″ x 5″ to 8″x 10″). Making it next to impossible to scan then. Several years ago, I invested in a scanner in an attempt to tackle the beast. To put it into perspective, I probably have close to 2000 photos in my house. Scanning was time-consuming and quite cumbersome. More recently, I sourced out some of the scanning. Which is absolutely an option when you have that many photos, but what if you only have a few? Or what if you can’t afford to source out the scanning?
I recently discovered the Google PhotoScan app. I used this when I needed to only scan a handful of images for a particular purpose. I found it easy to use – except for one or two challenges. I have an iPhone so I was able to easily save my images into the cloud and retrieve them at a later date. It produced a really good quality image, considering the technology I was using. But like I said – one or two issues. The first issue I had was around the focus dots. From time to time, the focus dot would be way off the picture. Sometimes on my table, or whatever surface I was using. I was confused as to how the app was pulling image information from that far away. But maybe it was just capturing light?
Either way, it was weird, and seemed to take me longer to focus and take the picture. In comparison to some of the other images that seemed to have the focus dot on the actual image. And the other issue was around glare. Sometimes I didn’t have the best lighting in my house. I was often scanning these images at night time. It happened to be winter, and it gets dark at 4 pm where I live. So, it wasn’t exactly easy. But Google has fixed both of those issues – or did they? And also explained why it requires you to move around the image so much.
In the most recent update, Google has allegedly made it easier for you to take pictures, and they have also included features to reduce glare. The reason for needing to scan many different angles of the image was to reduce the glare. But I’m not really convinced that it does have the desired effect. Or at least, it doesn’t seem to be making it easier from my perspective. It is going to make images look a heck of a lot nicer from a glare perspective, but it certainly isn’t going to make it any easier.
You are still required to take multiple images from the picture itself. I recognize this as necessary, but like I said it can become time-consuming. Google notes the reason for this is because a printed image is often not flat. Which makes sense, but then wouldn’t some kind of flat bed scanning be a better option from a glare perspective? And maybe less time-consuming… or at least the same amount of time. Don’t get me wrong, Google does an awesome job with this tool, even before this update. But I feel like they are framing it a way that isn’t exactly accurate. Yes, it reduces glare. Yes, it’s a super cool app. But there are other ways of doing this. I would love to be able to use this as my only way of scanning photos, but I’m not sure it’s the most effective if I have to take 4-6 pictures of one image.