What You Should Know About Resolution When Scanning Photos

Posted by ed oboyle on Tue, May 14, 2013 @ 09:30 AM

What You Should Know About Resolution When Scanning PhotosDon’t let the sheer volume of your photo collection keep you from digitizing the images. Scanning photos is a wonderful way to preserve family memories and with a little know-how, can be an enjoyable process. Think of it as an opportunity to walk down memory lane! With the right technical skills, you won’t take the wrong turn. There are a few common mistakes that everyone makes when scanning photos and one is related to picture resolution. High resolution doesn’t necessarily make a better photo.

How Resolution Affects your Scanned Image

Resolution is an important aspect of photo quality. If you need to turn up the quality of a picture, check the dpi or dots per inch. Have you ever been on a social media site and clicked on a photograph only to find a thumbnail? It’s likely the result of low resolution. Every image consists of a series of dots and the number of dots per inch will determine the specific resolution of a photograph. As resolution declines, details of an image are lost and edges become fuzzy. Larger areas will seem pixelated.

Choosing the Right DPI When Scanning Photos

Before you begin scanning photos, think about what you will use them for. Do you plan on enlarging the photo or merely sharing it online? The scanner resolution you choose will affect the way your image looks. Automatic settings are easy but can result in a pixelated photo. An average scanner will scan a picture at 300 dpi.  If you’re printing the photo, this setting gives you multiple options for enlargement. Always make sure that at least 200 dpi is maintained for high print quality 

If you’re only placing a photo on the web, 72 dpi will work. If you are planning to print the photo at a later date, it will need to be scanned again at a higher dpi. Be mindful not to get carried away - consistently scanning at an unnecessarily high dpi will only take longer and waste hard drive space. Don’t be afraid to test out different photos and dpi settings. If you find yourself needing help, there are many photo scanning services, like FotoBridge, that can help you. Scanning photos is our passion!

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Topics: DPI, scanning photos, Resolution

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