Scanners are a fantastic tool that can transform old photos and artwork. They allow you to archive and digitize your old photos and can even get you amazing results when you want to print on canvas. There are some good guidelines to remember when scanning your photo or artwork that will produce the best results for archiving or for when you want to make some canvas prints.
Keep in mind that scanners from different manufacturers come with different options. The tips for scanning photos I want to share should be pretty universal for most scanners.
DPI (Dots Per Inch) can sometimes show up as PPI or even SPI on some scanners. They all mean pretty much the same thing. What you want to concentrate on is DPI or PPI.
The basic rule is the higher the DPI you scan your photo in the larger you will be able to enlarge the photo. Also the bigger the file size will be and the scan will take longer. For example, if you have a 4x6 print that you want to enlarge to a 20"x30" print on canvas you will want to scan that photo in at a very high resolution. Typically scanners will let you scan up to 800, 1200, 1600 and sometimes higher DPI (depending on the scanner). For that 4x6 you may want to scan it in at 1200 DPI. That will give you a file with a high enough resolution to enlarge the 4"x6" print to a 20"x30" canvas print.
The basic thing to remember is that the higher DPI you scan your photo in the larger you can print it.
Pretty much common sense, but I can’t stress it enough. And when I say clean…I mean like OCD clean. Having a clean scanner platen (the glass where the print lays) and a clean print will save you so much time Photoshopping out dust spots and small hairs that can show up on a dirty scan.
Canned air is very helpful when you are trying to clean off the scanner and the print. If you clean the glass of the scanner with any liquid cleaner, make sure that the glass is completely dry before trying to scan anything. Be aware that household cleaners can do harm to old photographs and artwork. Use wisely.
Not to be confused with Beast Mode. The Batch Mode (on most flatbed scanners) will let you scan several photos at one time. This can be a huge time saver. Scanning multiple photos isn’t the big deal. It is the fact that the scanner can recognize the different photos and will save each one separately.
This is especially true when you are scanning in a stack of old photos for the family. It might take a while to get through it, but in the end it is worth it.
Once you get the hang of this whole scanning thing you will start to figure out which advanced options will give you better results. Setting your advanced setting exactly how you want them can actually save you some time. You will be able to skip the Preview step that most scanners go through and just scan photo after photo.
This article is written for Canvas Press. To find out more about Canvas Press’products visit www.canvaspress.com.