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Photo Resolution

About Photo Scanning Resolution

Photo Scanning Resolution as Part of DpsDave Photo Scanning Services

Why is photo scanning resolution so important? Modern photographic prints are printed at a minimum of 600 DPI, and usually at 1200 DPI. Old style photos made by exposing and developing photo paper have grain sizes of 2500 DPI or better. If these photographs are scanned at 300 DPI, the fidelity of the scanned image will be quite a bit less than the original. This makes the scan look like it is not in focus (as shown in image above).

A 300 DPI scan of a photographic print will look good on a cell phone, perhaps, as the size of the cell phone is less than the size of the original photo– but zooming in on the cell phone image will cause the fuzziness to return. DPI determines resolution and quality of your scanning photos is related to resolution.

Confused? Let’s back up a little. In order to understand what you are getting when you choose the photo scanning resolution, you have to first understand what the resolution is.

What is Photo Scanning Resolution?

The resolution is the amount of detail an image holds. The higher the resolution means the more detail the image will show. It is measured in DPI, which stands for Dots Per Inch. If an image is enlarged that does not have a high enough photo scanning resolution, it will look blocky and pixelated instead of smooth. Choosing the appropriate photo scanning resolution for your photos is very important and depends on the nature (size and quality) of the original photo as well as what you want to do with the digital image.

Smaller photos will require a higher picture scanning resolution than larger photos, because of how people are going to view the images. Most scanned photographs are viewed on screens that are larger than the original photographic prints. The digital images are magnified to fill the screen, which will often look out of focus if the photo scanner has scanned them at 300 DPI. When a low resolution scanned photograph is magnified, small digital artifacts appear on the edges of objects, which are then interpreted by our brains as the entire picture being out of focus.

Something to keep in mind when having your photographs scanned is that just as the colors and details of the printed photograph do not match what your eyes saw when the picture was taken, the digital image seen on the computer or TV cannot match what the original photo looks like. No matter what the scanned resolution is, the transition from printed photo to electronic display is difficult because photo print is reflective while computers and TV use transmissive displays. This means that there are some colors in your photo that the TV or computer screen cannot display. Don’t worry, though! Most digital images are adjusted to look good on most displays.

Whether the original photo is matte or glossy also makes a difference. When a photo scanner scans the photographic print, the matte finish becomes a part of the image. This means that the matte finish gets enlarged with the photo, becoming more obvious. So while matte photo prints are easier to view due to less glare, glossy scanned photos look better.

Want to learn more about photo scanning resolution? Call DpsDave at 866-935-1361!

What Photo Scanning Resolution Settings Should I Choose?

The photo scanning resolution you choose for your digital photos depends on what you would like to do with them. Whether you are archiving them, creating duplicates, or sharing them over the Internet, it is important that you choose the right resolution in order to get the clearest results with the most detail preserved.

Many people who have their photographic prints scanned by a picture scanning service do so with the intent to archive their photos. This keeps precious memories safe from disasters, provides better organization, and helps to clean up clutter. Sometimes, the photos are 100 years old; in another 100 years, the actual photos will be long gone, however, having digital versions of the photos in a higher scanning resolution will be appreciated by future generations. We recommend choosing between 1200 DPI to 600 DPI, depending on the image size. Remember that the smaller the image, the larger the resolution should be.

Are you planning to make additional photos from your digital images after utilizing our photo scanning resolution services? Having printed photos digitized makes it easier to duplicate a photo. As was said above, most commercial photo prints are printed at 1200 DPI. Sometimes, they will go as low as 600 DPI. The minimum 600 DPI should have all of the detail of the original photo. Keep in mind that some colors cannot be digitized, and that you may notice that some of the colors in the original are not accurately printed.

If you want to have your photos digitized so that you can share them over the Internet, then choosing to have your pictures scanned at 600 DPI will make sure that the pictures look sharp and in focus while also allowing you to zoom in to see details. However, because larger resolutions mean more detail, this translates into larger datafile sizes. Larger datafile sizes are more difficult to send over the Internet; most email services limit the size of datafiles that can be sent to 3 MB, while a 4×6 photo scanned at 600 DPI could create a datafile that is 3.5 MB. This can be fixed by compressing the datafile size instead of using a lower picture scanning resolution. The belief that compressing a datafile’s size leads to reduced image quality is no longer the case thanks to the program uses for compression.

Don’t worry about getting the settings right! That is what we are here for! Call DpsDave 866-935-1361 today!

Other Photo Scanning Resolution Considerations

Just in case you are a little bit curious, movie datafiles are different from digital datafiles where resolution is concerned. You can make a movie out of JPEG datafiles; however, you cannot make JPEG datafiles out of a movie datafile. Luckily, movie datafiles will let you get away with a lower photo scanning resolution. Although we focus on photos and slides here at DpsDave, it is good to know the differences.

Sometimes, our photo scanning resolution specialists receive photos from people who want to restore them. While the photograph scanning process can fix most color fade, it cannot fix physical damage. However, there are photo restoration services like fade restoration that we are very good at. If you have old photos that are damaged that you might want restored someday, you should have them scanned at a higher resolution. Low resolution scanning saves a little, but most people are not happy when they see the end result.

Have more questions about photo scanning resolution, call DpsDave at 866-935-1361 and we will get them answered for you!