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How To Scan Pictures – Quick Tips & Great Apps

It’s tip Thursday! Today we cover “How To Scan Pictures.” We want to make sure that you have all the tools and tips to make your book, your project, or whatever you are currently working on! One of the most common questions we get at Weeva is “How do I scan a picture quickly?” & “How do I scan an old picture so it’s clear?” Our design team whipped up a fantastic post to help you with scanning your pictures!

How To Scan Pictures For Your Weeva Book

So you’ve got all these pictures, but you threw out that clunky old scanner and now you don’t know what to do?  Believe it or not, you have a pretty good scanner in your pocket – your phone.  The cameras on phones these days are really quite good, good enough that they can be used effectively to scan in pictures.  All you need is a table in a well-lit space and the help of a handy app.
There are many apps that can help you scan pictures.  Why use an app?  Well, the app can do a lot of handy things like compensate for the distortion of your phone’s camera lens and pictures taken at a slight angle, reduce glare and automatically crop your picture perfectly from the surface you’ve set it on.

What’s a good photo scanning app?

Probably the best photo scanning app available is PhotoScan – a free app made by Google that’s available on both iOS and Android.  It’s an app that JUST does picture scanning, and has a ton of smart technology to make sure your scanned photos come out looking great.  The app has you move your phone in a pattern above the picture you want to scan, capturing it from multiple angles, then creating one high-resolution copy that removes any glare coming from lights in the room.  It’s pretty magical.
I should mention Shoebox, from, which was one of the early apps to make a big splash about photo scanning with your phone.  It was tightly integrated with Ancestry, which was nice for people who used that service.  Unfortunately, the app hasn’t been updated in a couple years (never a good sign) so it does not the most modern experience or technology available.
I personally use an app called Scanner Pro – it does a lot of handy scanning tasks for documents as well as pictures – but it’s only for iOS, costs $4, and doesn’t have the same kind of anti-glare technology that PhotoScan does.  It is, however, a fantastic app to have on hand for general purpose scanning, and can even send faxes of scanned documents!

Whatever app you use, here are some tips to get the best results:

  1. Use a clean, solid surface, free of clutter.
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  2. A dark surface will generally work better, especially if you’re scanning pictures with white borders (like many old pictures and polaroids).  But some pictures – like photos shot at night that are very dark, may do better on a light or white surface.  The point is to maximize the contrast between the edges of your picture and the surface they’re resting on.
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  3. If possible, do your phone-scanning in a place where the lighting is bright but diffuse.  The best example of diffuse light is a cloudy day when there are no shadows.  Avoid spotlights or anything that will cause strong glare or shadows.
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That’s it!  I think you’ll find it surprisingly easy to digitize your old photos armed with a modern smartphone and the right App.
Do you have any other tips or questions? We’d love to hear them! Don’t forget to share this post or pin it 🙂