More About Photos

Photos, as we’ve already noted, are almost always transmitted as jpg files. If they have not come from a camera chip or an email, they have most likely been scanned.

This can be an issue. Scanners are frequently set at a resolution of 200 dpi (dots per inch) or 300 dpi as the default resolution. But if the photo is to be enlarged, you want it set to a higher resolution. Either 400 dpi or 600 dpi, depending on how much you wish to enlarge the photo.

Actual 200 dpi

This photo is scanned at 200 dpi and is perfectly suitable for internet purposes. But if I want to enlarge it. . .

Actual 200 dpi

. . . it gets grainy. That graininess is magnified when it is printed.

Actual 600 dpi

Here is the same photo, scanned at 600 dpi and enlarged similarly. You can see that what looks like blur in the first photo is the grain of the paper on which the photo was printed.

One more caveat. Please ensure that you are scanning only the photo. If you don’t size the scan properly, it will scan what appears to be a full page.

Oversize copy

This photo was scanned as if it were a full page. When it is cropped, it looks like this:

Oversize Crop

You will notice the lack of detail in this photo, the light and dark blobs of color.

My grandmother used to say “well begun is half done”.  As you can see, the beginning of a photo scan is critical to the finished product.

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