How to

Digitizing paper photos

2018-02-05 20:18 #0 by: Niklas

I recently got custody of our historical family photos. In order to make them useful and viewable to as many as possible, and avoid the risk of losing them in a fire or flood, I have started to make digital copies of them.

You can use your ordinary camera app to do it, but I decided on using a specialized app instead. The main reason is that it can automatically crop and skew photos. That saves a lot of time. It is also quite easy to add Exif titles to images. I think that is a good way to tag photos with important facts like who’s in it and when and where it was taken.

The app I use is called Unfade. There are two versions of it. One free and a pro version with extra features. Pro costs about 8 USD.

Using Unfade is very easy. You just open the camera view and point it at a photo. It finds the photo, adjusts focus, snaps and crops, and then waits for you to point it at the next one.

The most important thing for getting a good result is to find the right lighting. If you have a big window facing in a direction where there is no sun, use that. You want to avoid sharp shadows. If the photos are glossy make sure that the phone isn’t mirrored in them. Move the phone around until you get a good shot without reflections.

Do you have any advice for digitizing photos?

Best regards, Niklas

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2018-02-06 05:05 #1 by: Emo

I made a lot the old way for my children.
If you ever find a way to digitizing 16mm and 8mm films, please tell me.

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2018-02-06 09:38 #2 by: Niklas

#1: We sent it to a company specializing in converting old films to video. It cost 300 or 400 EUR but it was worth having it saved. Now we all have or copies.

Best regards, Niklas

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2018-02-06 10:00 #3 by: Emo

#2 Yes I know what you did, but you should see what I have. I don't have money to let another do the work.

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Min hemsida: Svensk version

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2018-02-06 12:32 #4 by: Niklas

If you have a film projector and a decent phone or digital video camera you should be able to do it yourself. You can test it by playing the film in the projector and film the screen with your video camera. I think you will have to use a high frame rate in the video camera. Perhaps someone else knows better.

Best regards, Niklas

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2018-02-06 12:39 #5 by: Emo

Yes I bought a camera that will be good to it, but I would prefer an easier way.

Maybe if any of the younger would be interested, we could manage it.

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Min hemsida: Svensk version

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2018-02-06 12:48 #6 by: Niklas

After having read online it seems the only really easy way is to let someone else do it and the only cheap way is to do the laborious work yourself.

Best regards, Niklas

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2018-02-06 13:03 #7 by: Emo

#6 You are so right. Laughing

My website: American version
Min hemsida: Svensk version

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2018-02-06 13:29 #8 by: Leia

I love this! Next time I visit my Nana I'll be sure to try this out, I always go through her photo albums when I'm there! Do you have any examples of the finished product Niklas? 

All the best, Leia!

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2018-02-06 13:43 #9 by: Niklas

If, by finished product, you mean scanned photos, yes, I do. :-)

This one is of Stockholm Lawn-Tennis club in 1892. Sitting in the middle of the table is my grandmother's aunt.

Best regards, Niklas

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2018-02-06 18:12 #10 by: Leia

What a great photo! The app has produced it in great quality. 

All the best, Leia!

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2018-02-06 19:51 #11 by: Niklas

I agree. Some photos turned out even better than the originals. The digital processing somehow got out more details than was visible to the eye in the photos.

Best regards, Niklas

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