If you’re like me, you likely have stacks upon stacks of old photos spread out and tucked away in random dust-covered shoeboxes, holding your family’s memories.  Time and the wear and tear of many moves (in my case: 8 moves in 4 years) can definitely take its toll on those photos.  Lately, I’ve been thinking it might be time to digitize them in order to preserve, and keep them safe so I can easily share them at the drop of a hat.  My most current project is getting my favorites into an heirloom photo book as a Mother’s Day gift.

Whether you’re looking ahead to an anniversary, a milestone birthday, or Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner, these tips for scanning old photos are everything.  With the help of an easy flow and the right (free!) tools, you can have your photos digitized in no time.

If I can do it, you can too.  Here’s how:

Step 1: Rummage + edit

Get organized: tips for scanning + digitizing old photos

Gather and rummage through your boxes of old photos and select your favorites.

Step 2: Scan + save

4 Steps: scanning + digitizing your old photos | Impressed App

We tested 4 apps for scanning old photos, and tried using the iPhone’s camera.  We found the most intuitive and simple to be the Heirloom app.  We love that it detects the image (I scanned straight out of my baby book, since I didn’t want to risk wrecking my pages by pulling off old, stubborn tape.  It pulled and cropped the image perfectly, so easy!).  The ‘Groups’ feature is really neat too for collaborating and sharing photos (think: parents wedding anniversary). When you’re done, you can save photos to your camera roll or Dropbox, all for free.

Step 3: Back them up4 Steps: scanning + digitizing your old photos | Impressed App

Keep those memories safe and back them up somewhere.  We recommend 2 places:  your computer or external hard drive and a Cloud storage solution.  The benefit to having them on a Cloud, apart from extra backup is the ability to share with your loved ones, and perhaps have them contribute as well.  We’re partial to Dropbox, but you can check out other options like: SmugMug, Google Photos, or iCloud

Step 4: Build a photo book

4 Steps: scanning + digitizing your old photos | Impressed App

When you’re ready, put those photos to print.  With Impressed, you can pull directly from that Dropbox folder.

I can’t wait to see this one gracing my mama’s coffee table.

Get Impressed app here.