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Tech Savvy: Preserving photos albums - Photomyne app makes sharing, posting and saving photos easy

A photo app called Photomyne is a quick way to turn entire pages of memories into digital files for easy sharing and preservation. Photo illustration1 / 4
With Photomyne it's a simple step to transform entire photo collections and albums into a digital version that can be shared on social media or preserved and safe from loss to time or tragedy. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch2 / 4
Once scanned, the photos that once covered an album page are divided into individual digital versions ready to be part of a digital album with captions. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch3 / 4
The Photomyne app has a free option, a $4.99 version and a Photomyne account for $19.99 annually. 4 / 4

Want to take all those photo albums with priceless family photos and turn them into digital images?

That's long been on my wish list. Recently, when I started putting together a family reunion page on Facebook, the wish took on a timeline. After researching many apps—and there are a lot of options—I settled on Photomyne.

The reviews were overwhelmingly positive from users. There are several versions. I picked Photo Scanner by Photomyne. One of the benefits is being able to scan dozens of photos at once. The app creates an individual digital version from the group of photos scanned. Captions may then be added for individual photos and the app remembers repeated faces and automatically brings those names for a quick tap to identify the individuals. Instead of removing delicate photos from the album, entire pages may be scanned and added to the phone for easy transfer to social media. With the recent hurricanes and floods, it also made me think of few items people were trying to save in evacuating and what people were trying to salvage from ruined homes—family photos.

With the quick option to scan entire albums to get quality digital files, it was an easy task to backup the actual photographs even hundreds of them. The photos can then be stored in multiple places as well to provide the best insurance against loss. They can be stored in the cloud, or on portable external drives, as well as on phones or tablets. This way, no matter what eventuality, be it fire or flood, the family photos that can't be replaced would be safe.

Photomyne is easy to use. Just set the album or photos on a flat surface, remove any plastic protective sleeve and watch for light glare on glossy prints. Natural light or indirect lamp light worked best to avoid the glare. Then just line the photos up in the smartphone's camera lens and hold the smartphone steady. In seconds the photos appear in a digital album, which makes it simple to put photos together for family events or trips. The best advice is to add the information for the photo caption and identification right away so that it is attached to each image and you won't have to go back and make sure Auntie Em is identified for posterity. Think of the photos in the albums you may have now who are nameless and lost to previous generations. With all the emphasis on family history and genealogy, taking a few moments on the front end will save your future family members from wondering who those people were.

Once the photos are scanned, it's also simple to do some cropping to get the photo just right. There are also tools for color restoration should a favorite photo have faded over time.

Beyond the app itself, there are additional options to be part of the Photomyne service, allowing easy sharing with family members or moving between smartphone, tablet and home computer. Opening a Photomyne account creates a backup for photos scanned with the app in case the smartphone ends up in the washing machine. But I opted just to get the app for $4.99 for unlimited albums.

There is a free version for iOS and Android for three albums so there is no commitment of money to try it out and test how the app works. To get a full Photomyne account with unlimited photos, albums, devices and backup is $19.99 for a year. The account allows the Photomyne app to be used on all devices from the phone to tablets and laptops and online.

Photomyne is relatively new, founded in 2015 with the idea of getting all those photos out of shoeboxes and envelopes and dusty photo albums so they could be easily shared with friends and family.

In the past, that could mean scanning photos on a flatbed scanner. The process was laborious, time-consuming and much more cumbersome in terms of creating individual images of groups of photos.

"We wanted to offer a comprehensive solution for scanning one's entire printed photo collection that is simple, quick and cost-effective," Photomyne stated on its website. Photomyne reports 35 million photos have been scanned using its app across 200 countries with 10 million photos shared using the app.

So if you are looking for a fast and effective way to scan groups of photos to create a digital image—either for social media or simply to preserve them—this app was well worth the basic $5 spent. And in the terrible event where a home is lost to fire or flood, the photos won't be something to search for in the aftermath. Instead, those precious images of your mother as a young lady or your siblings as children, or your own children and four-legged family members will be safe and a legacy for the next generation.