How can I scan my instant photos?

The beauty of instant photography is its ability to immediately give us a physical object we can hold in our hands. However if we want to share our instant photos online we need to create digital images of them, and there are a number of ways to do this.

Of course you can simply take a photo of your instant picture using a smartphone. However this usually results in unwanted reflections and (depending on the angle you took the photo) a distorted image.

To fix these problems there are several apps such as PhotoScan by Google or the Polaroid app which work by first getting you to take a picture of your instant photo with your phone’s camera, and then creating a digital version without any reflections or distortions. This is by far the fastest and easiest method but it also results in low resolution images and imperfect colors.

Most serious instant film shooters choose to use flatbed scanners. Though not the cheapest option it does at least ensure you will get the highest quality scans possible. It’s a good idea to buy a scanning adapter to avoid Newton rings (tiny bands that form when the film makes contact with the glass) on the final image. You can also easily make your own rudimentary scanning adapter out of card.

Anything missing?

Can’t find an answer to your question? Or do you have some useful advice to add to one of our courses? We want to build the world’s largest analogue learning space, so please send any further requests or information to and we’ll take a look!

More Courses