10 Tips for Scanning Photos

  1. I know the cheap ones are tempting, but plan to spend more than $100 on a new scanner. You truly do get what you pay for.
  1. If you have a lot of 35mm film or slides to scan don’t expect great results from a flatbed scanner. An actual film scanner will do a considerably better job, as this is what it is for!
  1. Remember, no amount of retouching can make up for a poor scan. Most scanning software will allow you to choose the type of image to be scanned whether it is a photo, slide, document, etc. Correctly setting this option will insure the best scan possible from your scanner.
  1. Scan your photo at an appropriate resolution.  Use this calculator to find the best resolution.
    1. 300ppi (if you plan on printing your restored photo as the same size as the original, or if you plan to resize it to 72ppi for web use later).
    2. 600ppi (if you plan to restore or enlarge your photo).
  1. Turn off all automatic filters.
  1. Crop your preview scan so as not to include any of the background.
  1. Always scan black and white photos as 24bit RBG Color (not grayscale). This is because 24bit files have 3 times the color depth of an 8 bit grayscale file, so they capture much more of the subtle tones (If your photo is badly faded you might want to scan at 48bit).
  1. Please, keep in mind not to use photos printed on textured or embossed paper. They aren’t usually suitable for scanning. Try photographing them with a digital camera instead.
  1. Always save your scans in a lossless format such as TIFF. Only ever use JPEG as a final format to save your photo in. Never do anything to the original scans except for naming them. Save them exactly the way they were scanned, without any changes.
  1. View your scanned images at 100% when looking at them on your computer to make sure your photo scanned correctly.
  1. OK…lets make it 11 tips! Right-click your scanned photo and choose Properties. Go to General and check the “Read Only” box. This is so you can’t accidentally save over them! And yes, I speak from experience…
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