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App Review: Photomyne Converts Photo Albums from Physical to Digital

Photomyne for iOS

With powerful photo organization tools like Apple’s Photos app now available across the board from iOS to OS X, there’s probably never been a better time to finally convert those physical photo albums into their digital counterparts. But there’s one roadblock to doing that: it’s amazingly difficult, since each photo must be removed from an album, scanned, color-corrected or touched up, and then finally moved to Photos. That’s where Photomyne, a $4.99 universal iOS app, saves the day.

The developers of Photomyne knew that those who would be converting those cumbersome photo albums into digital versions would want to keep all of the photos in an album together, so the app works on the concept of digital albums. Once the app is launched, the user creates a new album and then starts adding photos. With Photomyne, there’s no need to start pulling prints out of the album and set up the old scanner; instead, you just use the rear camera on your iPhone or iPad.

Aiming the camera at the album page, the user follows simple guidelines — get as close as possible, don’t cut off the corners of photos on the page, try to avoid parallax by holding the camera direct above a page — and then presses and holds the shutter button on the app. Within a few seconds, Photomyne captures an image of the album page. Here’s where the magic begins: Photomyne is able to determine how many prints are in the photo, auto-crops them, and then saves them into the album as four separate photos.

If too many prints have been squeezed onto an album page, the user might need to give Photomyne a bit of help. This is done through a tap and hold gesture, defining where the center of an image is. Photomyne then tries to determine where the photo borders are. If Photomyne gets it wrong, it’s possible to drag the corners of the capture area to the borders of each photo with a finger.

This slideshow demonstrates the built-in app tutorial, as well as actual digitization of an album page with Photomyne.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next, Photomyne applies automatic color correction to the images. Most old prints tend to fade in very predictable ways, and the app applies just the right amount of correction to make each photo look its best. There are also manual controls for tweaking the brightness, color intensity and contrast of an image.

Now, let’s say your Mom added a penciled-in description of what was happening to the back of each photo. Fortunately, Photomyne has a place to enter metadata about each photo. Type in a title, when the photo was taken, and even tag Facebook friends who might be in the photo. Photomyne plans to add a public sharing service so that friends can share their photos, or everyone who has taken photos at a specific location — say Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park — can see every other photo of that location that’s been added.

How did Photomyne work in testing? Pretty well, although I had some issues with lighting. A lot of the photos I was working on were under a shiny plastic sheet that held them in place on the album page, and the sheet reflected overhead lighting. I was able to easily remove the images, then put them onto a light background to capture the images without the reflection.

In summary, Photomyne still requires a bit of effort, but can save hours of time over traditional scanning methods. And if you’ve ever used a commercial scanning service to convert your photo albums to digital format, you’ll realize that the $4.99 price of the app is a bargain compared to the hundreds of dollars you would have spent otherwise.

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Contributing Author
Steve is the publisher of Apple World Today, a website providing news, reviews and how-tos for the world of Apple, as well as an author on The Rocket Yard. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist.
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55 Comments

  • How is it with scanning slides and how do you get the white backlight page on your computer or iPad to use as a background?

  • Have scanned lots of photos into Photomyne. Now want to put photos into different albums. How do I label those albums and move pictures to them? For example: Label – is Smith Family. Then move every photo having to do with Smith Family into that album. Thanks.

  • Have tried everything to move photos to Photo on my Mac—–saying every file is not readable?????
    Someone else asked question & there is no reply—–How do you move the pictures in photomyne to Photos on a Mac????

    • Hi, Bonnie –

      The usual method of moving photos from your iPhone to Mac is through iCloud. Once Photomyne saves the pictures to the photo roll on your iPhone, it will sync to your Mac — most likely in the correct format. Just make sure under Settings > iCloud that you Photos is turned on.

      One other thing, though — to everyone who reads this post from 2015. Technology moves on and there is now a much better app for scanning photos from albums called Unfade.

      Unfade – Portable Photo Album Scanner by doo GmbH
      https://appsto.re/us/U2exbb.i

      I will try to see if I can update this old post with the new app that works much, much better.

      Steve

  • Subscribed .

    Used photomyme for a whiel and came back to add more albums. Cannot access again even if I put my itunes /apple password
    do you know how to do start again?

  • Unfortunately, scanned photos or album pages in Photomyne cannot be imported into Photos or Lightroom or any other photo management or editing software.

    • Hi, Leslie –

      Like the rest of the tech world, apps change a lot and I’d now suggest getting an app that is much faster to use, does a better job of fixing color fading in old photos, and does a very good job of working with the Apple Photos app:

      https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/unfade-portable-photo-album/id1096568238?mt=8

      Unfade is also $4.99, but is a much better app than Photomyne. It’s from the same people who make the award-winning Scanbot app, so they definitely know scanning!

      Steve

      • I’ve looked. The unfade web site is buggy and provides no information other than hype. What I’ve seen so far hints at scanning a single picture at a time. I’ve seen no mention of scanning a photo album page at a time.

  • If there a way to get a sample/demo usage before purchasing? I would like to see how it works on my 60 year old photos before I spend the money on this particular. Is it much different than just taking pictures and then editing them myself?

  • Very disappointed. Cannot copy photos without reflection of cell phone in the pic. Colors/shadings are distorted due to the cell phone reflection. Is there a way to hold the phone to eliminate that. I have tried every way there is with no success. Also the LOCATION of each photo will not SAVE to photo details.

  • Brand new to Phytomyne and love it! Any way to back up albums to DVDs or other storage since the Phytomyne cloud seems to be the only copy (and one on device?)

  • How do I remove the box that first come up telling me to turm my I phone camera as I only want to use ipad2

    • Hi, Debi –

      The app doesn’t make DVDs as it is an iOS (iPhone/iPad) app and there are no DVD writers that work with those devices. However, if you also have a Mac and have the Photos app on the iPhone/iPad set up to sync with your Mac, those images will appear in your Photos library on the Mac and can be easily exported to a DVD. To export photos from the Mac Photos app to a folder on your desktop, you just need to select them, then drag them to the folder – it’s that simple. Once they’re in that folder, you can right-click the folder and select “Burn [folder name] to disc”.

      I’m unfamiliar with the Costco app, but realize that anything scanned with Photomyne can be saved to the Photos library on your iPhone or iPad. Most apps that let you do photo printing or DVD ordering (like the one from Walgreens) take those photos from the Photos library. So I would think that you should be able to scan the images into Photomyne, then save them to the Photos Library, then use the Costco app to take those photos from the Photos library and get a DVD made.

      I hope this helps,

      Steve Sande

  • After scanning with photomyne can one order a DVD of photos scanned. Or transport photos scanned to Costco photo app to make a DVD. Thanks

  • I have this app on my iPad and stupid as this sounds, when I have finished taking my photos I go to push the done button and there isn’t one. Help

  • I am not impressed at all! First of all it is very difficult to take a picture without a glare or a reflection on it! Also, I have been playing with it for over 30 minutes and can’t find where o can manually tweet the photos. Waste of $4.99!

    • I am having the same problem. After taking my first picture of page one, I cannot figure out how to edit a single picture nor can I exit that page. I am stuck. Patience is not one of my strong points, so I am frustrated and pissed.

  • Is it possible to burn a DVDs or Cd(?) of the photos directly from my phone?

    Or
    How can I share photos with friends etc?

    • Hi, Luc –

      It straightens the photos as best it can. If some photos on the page are placed at a 90° angle to the rest of them, it will scan those photos, but they may need to be reoriented manually.

      Steve

  • No app settings . Can’t connect to your photo album. A photo from one album cannot be added to another. UI is not intuitive. Would be nice to edit (retouch a photo) after it is snapped. The app is typically used for old photos, but only retouching feature is contrast and color tint?

    • Hi, Brian –

      What I have done with the app is to export them, then manually move them to an album in Photos on my Mac. The result is still faster than scanning on a flatbed scanner, and Photos has much more fine control over all settings. Your specific needs may be of the type that it would be more effective to use a flatbed scanner, bring the photos into a more powerful app for retouching and color correction, and then add to your album.

      Steve

  • What is the resolution of the scanned photo ? I have been burned before by low res scans that can’t b enlarged or printed. 300 dpi would be nice…

  • What a great-sounding app – thanks for writing about it! We have a lot of albums, as well as loose photos. This sounds like a perfect way to convert them to digital format.