Pixel By Pixel Scanning Guide

The quality of the scan your provide will impact the quality of the final restoration.  Quality can be determined not only by file resolution but also by the quality of the scanner used.  If the copy you provide is not of suitable quality, Carol will let you know and provide tips.  If you do not have access to a quality scanner or scanning bureau, we will gladly copy your files for you. 


What resolution should I choose when scanning?

This depends on the size of the original image and the desired size and intended use of the restored image.  Obviously, the better the original image/scan the better the end result, so it is important to start with a quality scan.

Consider what you plan to do with your restored image.  Do you wish to enlarge it?  If so, you should consider the maximum size you may wish to print your image now, before you scan.

Use our handy calculator to select the best scanning resolution for your prints.

You scanner may not allow you a wide choice of scanning resolutions.  If not, choose the option closest to the recommended resolution

Even if your image will only be used for web publication or for email or web publication, it is wise to scan it at a minimum of 600 ppi.  You can easily reduce the size of an image file, but it is difficult to make an image larger without seriously compromising the quality of the image.  The extra data also makes it easier for us to provide a quality restoration.


My scanner allows me to choose from greyscale or RGB.  Which setting should I use for black and white images?

Scan all images in RGB (red, green, blue), regardless of whether they are black and white, sepia or colour.  

Information potentially useful for restoring monochrome images can be extracted from the individual RGB  colour channels.

Take a moment to read this blog post I posted on my blog a few years ago.  It clearly demonstrates the advantage of scanning in colour instead of grey scale.  That colour data can sometimes save me hours of restoration work, which, in turn can save you money.


What file type should I save?

When saving your files, choose TIFF if possible.  This is a lossless file format allowing the best possible quality.

If your scanner does not give you the option of saving your files as tiffs, jpeg is the next best option.  

My scanner is not very good.  Can you scan my images for me?

Yes, we are able to scan prints, negatives and transparencies using our professional scanner.  This also includes glass slides and tin types.  Negatives and transparencies of all sizes up to 8″ x 10″ can be scanned.  Large prints may also be scanned, even those larger than A4.  Some large images are scanned in sections then ‘stitched’ together.

My image is not flat.  Can it be scanned?

If your image is not flat or is too badly damaged for scanning, it may be re-photographed using our in-house professional copy equipment.  We may also choose to re-photograph some images which cannot be removed from their frame, those with highly reflective surfaces  or those which are printed on highly textured papers.