What if I don't have a scanner?There are inexpensive scanning services almost everywhere. Photo kiosks that will scan your photos can be found in thousands of business service, photo, drug, and retail stores worldwide. An example is the Kodak Picture Maker kiosk that can be found in many Target stores, Rite Aid drug stores, and many camera shops (remember the commercial with the little boy scanning and enlarging the photo of his grandmother playing baseball as a young woman). With these kiosks, you can have your photo scanned and put on disk or CD for a nominal fee.
What if I do have scanner and need help?This page answers the following questions:
In general, we suggest scanning at 200 DPI for personal photos, postcards, and snapshots, and 150 DPI for full-size headshots. This will still make relatively big scans, but it's just the right size for us to be able to correct minor problems, and generally make you look good, then scale it down to the various sizes we might need.
A pixel is a dot. The images from laser printers, inkjet printers, and the monitor you're looking at are all made up of dots that are so small and spaced so close together that it looks like a real picture, not a bunch of dots. Each of those dots is a "pixel" (short for "Picture Element"). The term DPI means "Dots Per Inch".
When you're printing, DPI divides those pixels down into inches. A 2 megapixel digital camera produces photos that are 1200 dots high by 1600 dots wide. So when you're printing at 300 DPI, 1200 dots x 1600 dots divides by 300 Dots Per Inch and produces a photo 4 inches by 5 and 1/3 inches.
When you're scanning, DPI multiplies inches into pixels. An 8 x 10 headshot scanned at 300 DPI produces an image that is 2400 pixels by 3000 pixels, or around 7 megapixels. Amazingly, the average 17 inch flat screen monitor only displays 1.3 megapixels (1280 pixels x 1024 pixels) over its entire surface. That huge scan won't fit. It will print up very nicely, but it's way too big for web use.
Sometimes, photos come out with odd alternating or criss-crossing bands of light and dark. This is called moiring and is often caused by subtle patterns or graininess, often invisible to the naked eye, in what you're scanning. It's also next to impossible to correct if you send us an image that has it.
To correct this, you want to use a "demoire" or "descreen" setting available on your scanning software. Your scanner is then able to compensate for those patterns and eliminate them while scanning.
Remember that computers take things very literally. When you say "Black and White", the computer may interpret that as meaning there are two shades... dark black and stark white. What we think of as "Black & White" photos or movies are actually composed of many shades of gray. In computer terms, this is called "Grayscale".
If you have a high-end scanner, it may offer you multiple levels of Grayscale, each level determined by a number of bits (generally either 8 bit or 16 bit). Go with 8 bit.
JPEG generally offers you a quality setting. This is because to help make your photos take up less room on your disk, it throws away some of the information. The lower the quality, the more information it throws out. We recommend a high-quality setting, or if your options are on a scale of 1 to 100, somewhere between 80 and 90. Though 100 may seem like what you want, it generally creates much larger files and there's little or no noticeable reduction in picture quality in the 80-90 range when you're viewing the photo on a computer screen.