How to Ensure Quality with a Photo Scanner

When using a photo scanner, it will be important to use good technique to create the highest quality photographic reproductions possible. There a number of tips for creating quality photo scans. Some of the most important tips are listed below. With a little patience and attention to detail, you should be able to create quality scans in no time.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Computer
  • Photo Scanner
  • Photograph
  • Photo Scanning Software

Step 1: Know Your Scanner

Perhaps the single most important factor to remember when using a photo scanner is to know the benefits and limitations of your individual piece of hardware. In some cases, it will be impossible to create the effects or quality that you desire if you are using a scanner that is technically incapable of producing that effect. Scanners will vary greatly in quality and feature set among models, and you will want to be aware of the specifics of your model before scanning. In order to do this, carefully read through your owners manual prior to undertaking any major scanning project.

Step 2: Use Presets and Create Shortcuts

For most scanners, software will come bundled with the hardware that will be tailored to your specific scanner. Your scanner software will have different modes for scanning documents, images, photographs, etc. It is a great idea to use these presets, as they will adjust your scanner settings for you for maximum effect. Alternatively, if you adjust the settings in a particular way that you like, you can create a shortcut that will allow you to use this setting in the future for similar projects.

Step 3: Identify Your Purpose

The settings you will want to use for your scanner may vary greatly depending on what purpose you will be using your photo scanner for. For instance, if your sole purpose in scanning images will be to display them on your computer or send photos via e-mail, your quality settings can be set much lower than if you are planning on printing out your images. The benefits of this will be seen in both time needed to scan your images and in file size and space conservation on your computer's hard drive. If, on the other hand, you are planning to blow up your image to any great extent, you will want to use a much higher image quality setting. This will result in a longer scanning time and larger file size, but also greater detail and image quality.

Step 4: Understand File Formats

It is also important to understand that there are a number of different file formats that image files can be saved in. The most common format for saving photo scans will be JPEG. JPEG files are a standard file format that can be viewed by a wide variety of viewing software or hardware. For everyday application, JPEG will be the standard file format you will use.

TIFF is another file format that you may want to use for saving digital images. The TIFF file format should be used in situations where you will want to blow up an image, as they save a higher quality image. If you do not know what you plan on doing with an image, it is a good policy to save an image first as a TIFF and then separately as a JPEG.

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