What the Tech: Isolation projects—saving old photos

Local News

By now you’ve spent 3 weeks or more in home isolation and you’re starting to climb the walls. You’ve watched what you wanted on Netflix, cleaned the house and maybe even tackled those projects you never got around to before. If you’re looking for something fun to do one afternoon, here’s a project to help preserve memories:

Grab a box of old photos that you have stored or tucked away in a cabinet or drawer, or an old photo album you haven’t looked at in ages. It is easy to turn those paper photos into digital pictures that can be stored, organized and shared on social media or in a digital picture frame. 

The easiest way to do this is with the app Google Photo Scan. It’s a free app for Android devices and iPhones. The app uses your phone’s camera to capture multiple images of a photo and combines them to save a high quality version of the picture digitally. Once you point the camera at the photo the app asks that you find the corners of the photo by hovering over dots it tries to put on the photo’s edges. Don’t worry, if you don’t get it just right the app gives you the option to drag the edges to perfection before saving the photo to Google Photos. Photo Scan does a good job of capturing the true color of the photo and removes any glare that might appear from an overhead light or the phone’s flash. I recommend turning off the flash to make this easier.

You can also digitize the photos by using your phone’s camera app. I actually prefer doing it this way because I’ve found you can digitize more photos in the same amount of time.

I set up a photo station using several books to prop up my phone and to create a stand for the photos. The idea here is to be able to quickly take a photo of a picture then put another picture in its place without touching the phone. To do this, set the timer on your smartphone camera to 10-seconds. Once you hit the shutter the first time you won’t have to touch the camera again as it will take a new photo every :10. This also prevents the phone from moving when you take the photo preventing a blurry picture.

Using the Google Photos app, all of the pictures you take can be uploaded to your Google Drive. Google will then organize those photos and using AI or facial recognition, will label each photo with the person in it. Enter the name of the person one time and Google will be able to find or recall every picture of that person when you search for their name.

You can also pick up a digital picture frame to display the photos. The Nixplay Smart Digital picture frame comes in several sizes and will pull in any photos you send to it with your phone. I purchased one as a gift for my mom and now I can send new photos to her frame from anywhere in the world. I also have it set up so that if I add photos to a specific album or playlist, it shows up automatically on her frame.

Using this technique you can turn an entire box of old photos into digital pictures in a matter of a few hours and share them to Facebook or Instagram. Throwback Thursday will be awesome.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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