How to Convert Old Photo to Digital Format

Last Updated on January 3, 2023 by Peter Wood

When you have a large stack of photo albums, it is time to convert photos into digital ones. Digitalizing old images not only saves closet space and keep the memory but also restores the details of the old photos. Just learn the tips when you transform photos to digital from the article and then try the best way to preserve the optimal quality.

There are several methods to digitalize the old photos for your parents or grant-parents. To preserve the best quality of old photos without any image noise, here is the ultimate method to convert photos to digital formats below.

Convert Old Photo to Digital Format

Part 1. Prepare Photos before Digitalize

To digitalize old photos, you have to organize them beforehand. It should be a method to protect the old photos. Here are some tips to prepare images before digitalization.

  • Group the photos into different categories.
  • Make sure the photos are plat without a wrinkle.
  • Protect photos from water damage, discoloration, and more.
  • Choose the desired photo scanner and formats.
Old Photos

Part 2. Scan Old Photos to Digital Formats

Just as mentioned, there are several ways to convert old photos to digital ones. You can take an image with a camera or scan the photo digitally. Scanning images is a time-intensive operation, but it preserves the details. Just keep in mind the following tips before converting photos to digital files.

  • Clean the Photos beforehand for better quality. Just use a soft brush to remove the dust from the photo tenderly. Even if you keep the images in an album, you need to clean the images before scanning.
  • Wipe the scanner to avoid any noise or damage caused. A microfiber cloth or alcohol-based cleaning wipe is an option to scan photos to digital in good quality.
  • Well, organize the photos for batch scanning.
  • Pick a resolution for converting photo format to digital.
  • Lie flat on the flatbed to get a good scan for the photos.

If you have a good scanner, you can turn photos to digital in good quality. Are these all you need to do? Definitely No. It is only the first step to convert images to digital. You can do further action to get better results and preserve them well.

Organize Photos

Part 3. Convert Photos to Digital Formats

Some extra steps you do to convert photo to digital is more important. As converting images to PDFs, you might require every detail for business. When you change them to digital, it is better to preserve them.

  • Imagine converting a photo to digital in a RAW format with every detail. But it is impossible to upload the file to social media or view it on your smartphone. You have to change the photo to JPEG, which can use for most situations.
  • The batch process is severe when you have many photo albums. And you can save a lot of time converting a photo to digital or other formats.
  • There are some dust and scratches for the old photos. What is more, you can find some image noise due to the original camera. Photo Converts can fix blurry images with ease. It helps you to turn photos to digital with better quality.
  • Most of the old photos are portraits with a dark skin color compared to the original one. You need to retouch photos to optimize the images with stunning effects.
  • Choose the best scanning quality and output format. To get all the details for the photos, you have to choose a suitable photo quality for scanning photos.
Scan Photos

Part 4. Optimize the digitalized images

Is there a method to optimize the digitalized images? Once you have converted old photos to digital formats, you should find image noises, photos blurriness, and more imperfections. WidsMob AI Retoucher is an all-in-one photo beautifier with multiple AI algorithms. It not only reduces image noises, recovers low light, and removes haze, but also adjusts the whole series of HSL parameters to enhance the photos. Moreover, you can also convert photos to cartoons, paintings, and pencil sketches with AI algorithms.

1. Enhance photos with AI algorithms for noise reduction, lowlight recovery, and haze removal.

2. Touch-up portraits via skin softening, skin whitening, shine removal, eye circle removal, etc.

3. Adjust HSL parameters, such as exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, and more.

4. Tweak lights, apply HDR effects/pencil sketches/frosted glass, and add a series of B/W films.

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Step 1: Once you have installed WidsMob AI Retoucher, you can launch the program on your computer and click the Import button to upload the desired photos. Moreover, you can drag-n-drop multiple photos into the program for a batch process. It works with PNG, JPEG, TIFF, and most RAW file formats.

Import Photos Retoucher

Step 2: Go to the AI Retouch menu and choose the different parameters to enhance the digitalized old photos. Select the Haze Removal button to remove the blurriness of the photos automatically. You can also choose the Lowlight Recovery button or the Noise Reduction button to enhance the old photos with AI algorithms.

Remove Haze of Old Photos Retoucher

Step 3: To further edit the old photos, you can adjust the saturation, contrast, brightness, temperature, tint, and other parameters. Besides, it enables you to adjust the color parameters to restore the original image. Moreover, you can tweak sharpness, luminance, chrominance, and other parameters to enhance old photos with an instant preview.

Adjust Noise Reduction Manually Retoucher

Step 4: When you need to discover the effects for analog film, tweak lights, and add different photo filters from the Filter menu for some landscapes. Go to the Face Clean menu to enhance portraits with skin softening, skin whitening, shine removal, eye circle removal, blemish removal, and more before clicking the Save As button to share the pictures.

Touch Up Portrait AI Retoucher

Part 5. Top 5 Photo Scanner Applications for Smartphone

With the popularity of smartphones, digital photos have become a way to save memories and moments. Scanning printed photos to your smartphone with a photo scanning application would be easier than using a professional scanner connected to the computer. In the following, we will introduce the top 5 photo scanners that utilize the smartphone camera to capture the print photos for your reference.

1. Genius Scan

Genius Scan is a scanner in your pocket. The application can turn old photos into PDF or JPEG files. Like the other photo scanners, you can also access page detection, perspective correction, and image enhancement features. When you need to scan a large number of photos, you can also use the batch process to scan photos in a matter of seconds. And you can organize your documents with titles, tags, and powerful searches with the photo scanner.

It is a PDF scanner and an image scanner, which offers some excellent features to the scanned photos. You can add watercolors, tags, and signatures to the images. It is a photo scanner to digitalize pictures and share them on social media within the program. And it also works with Dropbox, Box, and other applications. Once you scan the images, you can use another application on your smartphone for further editing.

Genius Scan

2. Pic Scanner

Pic Scanner is a free photo scanner on iOS to scan up to four photos at one time. This photo scanner will crop the scanned images with perspective correction. Pic Scanner will check the focus automatically. When framing the photo, Pic Scanner will display OK. Pic Scanner is smart enough to capture the print photos. And the quality of the scanned image also depends on the camera of your iPhone.

But if you want to capture a high-quality photo, you should scan it in a well-light room and put the image on a plain, single-color background. Pic Scanner could capture four pictures at one time. And if you take multiple photos at once, remember to leave at least a half of inch gap between them. Then Pic Scanner will crop the images and enhance them automatically. The Photo Scanner also offers some filters. Pic Scanner could do such a thing on smartphones though the photo quality is not as well as hardware scanners. There is also a paid version that will not limit the usage and offer more features.

Pic Scanner

3. CamScanner

CamScanner is one of the top-rated scanners in the Play Store. It is famous as a document scanner instead of a photo scanner. But we can use it as a photo scanner as well. The feature of CamScanner is Gray Mode. When we capture print photos in a room, it is unavoidable that the light will reflect on the surface of the image. But the Gray Mode will weaken the reflection and make it unnoticeable. Other features of CamScanner include cropping and control tools. We can correct the crook part with the cropping tool and adjust the contrast with the control tool. The photo scanner supports various third-party storage devices like Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Evernote, and Google Drive.

Although CamScanner allows users to enhance color, it is a utility app, not an art tool. Unfortunately, CamScanner will save all the files as PDF as a document scanner. But the high-quality features are strong enough to let us ignore that. If you want to extract the text from the photos, you can use the excellent OCR (Optical Character Recognition) features.


4. Shoebox

Shoebox is a photo scanner app. It is the extent of that is an online family tree service. You can register an account on and upload the scanned photos to your family tree from your smartphone directly. When capturing old images, it will detect the photo edges and correct the perspective. After scanning, Shoebox allows us to edit the information of the photo, like adding a name, the place, and a caption. The photo scanner does not offer editing features, like adjusting color and contrast or filters. But that makes it a simple tool and easier to use.

There is a tip about Shoebox: do not share the scanned photo from Shoebox directly. Save them to your Camera Roll and share the images from there. You will find that Shoebox saves a better resolution in Camera Roll. What is more, the photo scanner also carries every photo you’ve ever taken in your pocket or on your tablet without taking up space on your iPhone or iPad.


5. PhotoScan

PhotoScan is from Google and makes digitizing printed photos easier. This photo scanner is free and available in Play Store and App Store. Before shooting the old photo, place it on a plain surface. PhotoScan will find the frame of the image automatically. You can move your phone around the pictures to get more information under the instruction. After passing successfully, this photo scanner will capture the photo and reduce the light reflection spontaneously. Users could save the result on their phones or Google’s cloud service.

The most powerful feature is PhotoScan will analyze the photo and shoot it multiple times. The scanned image is high quality because this photo scanner will merge the different versions of the same picture. To simplify the process, PhotoScan will crop, stretch and rotate the photo automatically. It will also remove the glare from the image. And after capture, users could also adjust the images.


Based on the introductions above, you can see that the photo scanner on the smartphone is strong enough to capture the old print photos and transmit them to digital ones. All you need to do is place the image on a flat surface. And the photo scanners will do all the work for you, like finding the edge of the photo, stretching and rotating the image, and removing the glare and light reflection. So the next time, if you want to scan an image, take out your smartphone and shoot it.


To convert old photos to digital formats, here is the ultimate guide you should follow. Just learn more about what you should prepare, how to scan and digitalize the old photos, and enhance the digitalized photos with advanced AI algorithms. When you need to get the optimal files from old photos, here is the ultimate guide you should follow.

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