getting digital: how to scan pics like a pro

A reminisart™ is printed big so that the photos can easily be seen from anywhere in a room. But an enlarged photo can look blurry or pixelated if not scanned at a high resolution. 

Have you ever tried uploading a treasured picture to a poster-printing site and gotten back something blurry, pixelated, or low-quality that left you feeling disappointed?

At reminisart, we know your precious memories deserve to be treated with care.

Ready to get scanning like a pro? Our list of ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s will help you digitize your images without losing any of that gorgeous, vivid detail.

How to scan high quality, high resolution images

✔️ DO:

  • Carefully clean and dry the scanner’s glass plate.
  • Gently wipe your photo free of dust with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Set your printer/scanner to save as high resolution jpegs, at 300 or 600 dpi.
  • Opt for colour scanning, even if the photo is black and white.
  • Place the photo in the middle of the scanner area; do not crop photos to straighten them, and include the scalloped edges of an old photo, or the date printed on the side of a Kodachrome.
  • Save each picture as a jpeg under 10 MB; pdf files are unsuitable, and tiff files are too big.
  • Save your digitized pictures together in a folder until we have confirmed that all is well with your scans.

❌ DON’T:

  • Adjust your files after you’ve scanned them; leave any adjustments to our professional digital artists, who will optimize your photos.
  • Edit your images. Each time you open, edit, and re-save a jpeg file, it loses quality.
  • Worry if the photo is a little crooked. We can easily fix that.
  • Compress your files before you upload them.

Resolution: not just for the new year

What does ‘resolution’ mean, you ask? And how do you make sure your printer or scanner is at the right setting?

Image resolution refers to how much detail a picture holds: high-resolution images are crisp and detailed, and low-resolution images are blurred and pixelated. Print resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi), and on most scanners and printers you can specify what dpi to scan your images at.

(Not sure where to find this setting? Try looking up your printer model number — most guides are available online. If you’re still running into issues, call in the professionals! A tech-savvy friend or relative might be willing to lend a helping hand. If they’re stumped, there are tech coaching companies that you could search for online, ready to dig up the answer.)

To show how resolution changes with dpi, we’ve put together some examples below. The original image is the official wedding photo of reminisart™ founder Sylvia’s parents. Taken on April 14, 1955, the picture is the size of a printed postcard, and the quality is very good. The samples below show how each image would print on a reminisart™ when scanned and saved at different settings.

high resolution image scanning for unique gift of a reminisart
From each, a 4” sample was cropped. If you zoom in on any image here until it is about 4” high, then what you see on your screen is the same as if you were looking at a reminisart™ on a wall.
 learn how to digitize images in high resolution for reminisart

File type: jpeg
Resolution: 72 dpi
File size: 39 KB

A low-resolution, low-quality scan will look bad when blown up. Notice the blurry floaty things (called ‘artifacts’) around the couple’s heads.

stay connected with high resolution images into jpeg for a unique reminisart gift

File type: jpeg
Resolution: 300 dpi
File size: 426 KB

Quality is improved and the image is less pixelated.

stay connected by scanning high resolution images for a unique reminisart gift

File type: jpeg
Resolution: 600 dpi
File size: 1.2 MB (1,200 KB)

The image is smooth and crisp. This will print beautifully. 

Notice that the file size increases as the resolution increases — this is because the amount of data being captured has increased. Certain file types (tiff files, for example) do offer even higher resolution, but are slow to upload and difficult to work with due to large file size. High-resolution jpeg files offer a perfect balance of image resolution with a manageable file size.

Follow our tips and tricks, and you’ll be one step closer to a stunning reminisart™ that will be talked about for all the right reasons.