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These 5 apps take the pain out of wrangling your huge photo collection

Here’s the easy way to sort, scan, sweeten, and share your ever-growing stockpile of snapshots.

These 5 apps take the pain out of wrangling your huge photo collection
[Photo: Jona Friedri/Unsplash]
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Let’s get those photos organized. It’s about time, right?

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First, we’ll review and delete any bad photos on your phone, then we’ll get all your old physical photos digitized. Next, we’ll touch up any that need a little extra TLC, and finally we’ll share the best ones privately with friends and family.

Sound easy enough? Great! You can do this. Let’s get started.

Sort ’em

That camera on your phone takes great photos and—better still—can take a lot of them. But if you’re like most people, you almost never take the time to sort the good photos from the bad.

Purpose-built for photo organization, Slidebox (Android, iOS) lets you trash the duds with a simple Tinder-like swipe. They can’t all be keepers, after all.

For photos you want to keep, you can sort them into albums with a single tap, compare similar-looking photos to see which one turned out better, and synchronize the results to your camera gallery. None of your photos are copied or otherwise kept in the app: It’s purely used for organization.

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Now, here’s the weird thing. The Android version of the app seems to have been abandoned, but it still works well, and it’s free as in free-free. I’ve been using it on modern Android phones for quite some time and haven’t had any trouble.

The iOS version, on the other hand, is being actively developed, and, while basic functionality is free, there’s a premium version that starts at $5 per month and offers synchronization between devices and a handful of other features.

At any rate, give it a try. You’ll likely find that its strongest feature by far is the ability to quickly review and torpedo bad photos with the flick of your thumb, and that might be all you need.

Scan ’em

Every household has one. Or several. The dreaded pre-smartphone photo box. It’s time to bring those old memories into the 21st century. You’ll get the best quality if you spring for a flatbed scanner or use a service such as ScanMyPhotos, but here are a couple of options that turn your smartphone into a scanner.

Google-owned PhotoScan (Android, iOS) makes digitizing your old photos reasonably painless. You simply place a real-life photo under your phone, snap a photo of it, and let the app take care of rotating, enhancing, and cropping the photo, getting rid of glare, and uploading it to your Google Photos account.

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Photoscan

Look: It’s going to take a while if you’ve got a million old photos, but this is about as quick as it gets, and the app is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

For those who aren’t too keen on sending their photos to Google, there’s a great photo-scanning app called Photo Scan App by Photomyne (Android, iOS). It offers similar functionality, plus a nifty feature that lets you snap multiple photos laid out at once and then crops them into individual digital versions, which is a huge time-saver. It’s free to try, but you’ll want to pony up for the premium version (plans start at $5) to get the most out of it.

Sweeten ’em

So we’ve got our keepers, and we’ve scanned in all our old-timey photos, but how can we deal with low-quality, blurry, or otherwise iffy photos that we want to keep?

For that, there’s Remini (Android, iOS), a photo-enhancing app that uses artificial intelligence to work wonders on subpar snaps.

It works best on close-up shots of people’s faces, so if you’ve got a lot of those to fix, give it a try. You get a handful of free fixes, but you’ll definitely need to opt for the $5-per-month or $30-per-year subscription to avoid sitting through a nearly endless parade of ads that interrupt the experience when you’re using the free version.

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Share ’em

There’s no shortage of ways to share your photos with friends and family, but FamilyAlbum (Android, iOS) strikes a really nice balance between features and value.

FamilyAlbum

For starters, the app is free for unlimited photo and video uploads and doesn’t rely on ads to make money. Your uploads are automatically categorized by month, making it easy for the people in your share list to follow your photos chronologically.

On the receiving end, your friends and family can view your photos via the app or via a web browser, and every three months, an automatic slideshow video is created from recent photos.

The app’s creators make money by selling physical photo books and DVDs, and there’s an optional $5-per-month premium version that lets you upload longer videos (10 minutes, compared to 3 minutes in the free version), creates a monthly slideshow video, offers free shipping on photo books and DVDs, allows uploads from a computer, and includes a few additional goodies.

The free version is plenty powerful, though, so give that a try first and then see if the premium version makes sense for you.