Our professional photo scanning services are offered to those who want to preserve those memories by digitizing their photos. Image quality for scanned photographic print images means that the digital image looks at least as good as the original. Producing digital images which meet this criteria requires us to pay attention to focus, resolution, contrast, saturation, color and sometimes fade restoration.
There are some circumstances where image quality is not important, like digitizing a picture so you can post it to Facebook. Facebook and other social media sites reduce the resolution of your picture by a good four times before they post it. Most of the time image quality is really important, and we want to make sure we meet your expectations. Our experience is that people are not satisfied with 300 DPI scanning. It is less expensive, but not worth it.
As part of our professional photo scanning services, we offer three quality levels to meet your photo scanning needs:
We have worked really hard to make our High Definition and Presentation scanning services affordable. To continue on, if you are interested in learning about the difference between quality levels when it comes to photo scanning, please visit our Photo Resolution page.
Picking the appropriate digital photo scanning quality level for scanning your old printed photos is important! Making the right choice depends upon the nature (size and quality) of the original photo, and what you are going to do with the digital image.
This chart summarizes the recommended scanning resolution by size and how you intend to use the digital image:
Up to 3×5
3×5 to 5×7
Bigger than 5×7
Viewing your photo scans as a movie. A movie file is different from a digital images file. Although you can make a movie from JPEG files, you cannot make a JPEG file from a movie. In addition, an image in a movie is a much lower quality picture than the image in a JPEG file.
We understand that it may be a little confusing to figure out what is needed for your particular situation, so give us a call at 866-935-1361 and we will get it taken care of for you.
Smaller photos require higher resolution scanning than larger photos.
Although it seems backwards, it’s true, and it’s because of how people view the digital images. Most photographs that have been scanned to digital format are viewed on screens that are larger than the original. When the image is magnified to fill the screen, it will look out of focus if it was scanned at 300 DPI. When a low resolution scanned photograph is magnified, small digital artifacts appear on the edges of objects.
Our perception of focus is actually a measure of the sharpness of edges in an image, and our brains interpret those digital artifacts as the whole picture being out of focus. For example, a 5×7 original viewed on a 10-inch notebook screen is magnified about two times on each axis, making the magnification factor about 4x. An old 2×3 school photo gets magnified 25x. Although the old photograph from your grade school might not have the quality of the 5×7, the smaller photograph will need more resolution.
Matte or glossy makes a difference!
When a photographic print with a matte finish is scanned by our photo scanning services experts, the matte is part of the digital image. When the digital image is enlarged to fit the screen, the matte gets enlarged as well, and becomes more obvious. This is another “strange but true” aspect of photographic scanning. Photo prints with matte finish are easier to view, because you don’t have to avoid the bright reflection spot like you do when looking at a glossy photograph. But matte photographs that have been scanned to digital images do not look as good as glossy scanned photographs.
Most people are having their photos scanned so that they can protect them from disaster, organize them better, and clean up the mess! However, right behind these urgent needs is a desire to preserve the photographs. Our professional photo scanning services team often scans photographs that are 100 years old, and we think to ourselves that 100 years from now, these will be among the oldest images on the planet! The originals will have long since crumbled to dust, but the scanned images will still be around. Nobody knows how people will be looking at those photographs, but it is certain that a higher quality scan today will be appreciated in the future. We recommend that you boost the scanning resolution for those pictures that are archive worthy.
The colors and detail in your photographic print do not match the colors and details that your eyes saw when you took the picture. Likewise, the image displayed on your computer or TV cannot match what the original photographic print looks like. The transition from photographic print to electronic display is particularly difficult, as the photo is reflective, and computers and TV use transmissive displays.
What all this means is that there are colors in your photographic print that your computer or TV cannot display. You can see the difference by comparing a recent photographic print with the scanned digital image of the print.
If you want to learn more about photo scanning services with regard to scanning for viewability on your computer or TV, give us a call at 866-935-1361.
Additionally, the settings on your computer or TV make a big difference as well. Your digital images are adjusted so that they look good on most computer’s default display settings. If the scanned photos look funny, you can adjust your display. If your TV has a “Photo” setting, use that, or turn the red down a little bit. For computers, use the “photo” setting, or set the color temperature to 6500 degrees.
Most photographic prints are no longer made by developing film. Today, special printers use special ink to print the image on special paper. Most commercial photographic prints are printed at 1200 DPI, and a few are printed at 600 DPI.
Scanning a photograph to print more copies is a great way to share your photographs, and if you have the photo scanned at a minimum of 600 DPI, will have all the detail of the original. However, there are some colors that cannot be digitized, and you may notice that some of the colors in the original photographic print are not accurately reproduced in the copies.
Scanning your photographs is a great way to solve problems associated with the emotional value of these photos. One lady said she was visiting her parents and sneaked out of the house at 3 a.m. to hide a box of photographs in the car, so she could get them scanned. Our photo scanning services team had to move quickly before dad discovered the missing photographs! Some of our best clients are divorce and estate attorneys who say that everybody fights over the photographs!
Since every scanned photograph that gets shared over the internet can be viewed on a computer or TV, it is important to scan the photo at 600 DPI. This ensures that the photograph will look sharp and in focus, and allow people to zoom in to look at details. Photographs scanned at 600 DPI produce files that are a lot bigger than files produced by scanning at a lower DPI, which can make it harder to send the scanned photos over the Internet.
Our professional photo scanning services compress the high-resolution scanned photo rather than scanning it at a lower resolution. For example, a 4×6 photo scanned at 600 DPI produces a 3.5 MB file. Many email services limit the size of attachments to 6 MB, meaning that you can only attach a single scanned photo to each email. However, compressing the file using loss-less JPEG setting of 2 produces a 300 KB file that looks identical to the bigger file no matter how much you zoom in.
Many people believe that compressing scanned photographs reduces the image quality of the picture, but this is no longer the case if the appropriate compression algorithm is used. By the way, JPEG is a collection of many compression algorithms, and beginning in 2000 there have been “loss-less” JPEG routines available. The particular algorithm used is determined by the photograph scanning software used by the photograph scanning Service Company that scanned your photographs.
Some old photos have suffered the ravages of time, and you want to have them restored. The professional photograph scanning process will fix most color fade but cannot fix physical damage. However, there are photo restoration services which are very good at this. If you have damaged old photos and are thinking that someday you might want to have them restored (or have the ex-spouse removed) you should scan them at a higher resolution. We do this as part of our photo scanning services process, and this makes the corrections look better.