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Family Tree and Me

Scanning Guidelines

Because we work with DIGITAL PHOTOS transferred from your computer to our system,
all physical photos must first be scanned into your computer and each saved as a jpeg file.

We recommend the following guidelines:

1)  Use a minimum of 300 dpi for each photo.

Printed images are composed of dots.  DPI stands for “dots-per-inch” and is a measure of the resolution, accuracy, sharpness and clarity of your scanned pictures.  Up to a certain point, the higher the DPI, the sharper and clearer the image.   Photos need to be scanned at a minimum of 300 dpi.  This is what is required for printing.  If the photo you are submitting is the same size or larger than it will be when it is placed into the final art piece, then 300 dpi is sufficient for the scan.  However, if the image needs to be larger than its original size, then adjust the scale tool on the scanner to be a higher percentage, such as 150%, 200%, or 300% OR adjust the scanner’s resolution to be at 600 dpi. (You may need to check the scanner’s advanced settings to do this.)

2)  DO NOT make the assumption that IF a photo looks good on a computer monitor that it will print well. 

Computer monitors, websites, or internet pictures are typically 72 dpi.  This also applies to images downloaded from email or websites.  As a reminder:  photos reproduced at the printers need to be a minimum of 300 dpi.  Also, DO NOT scan at 72 dpi, or you’ll be disappointed when your final product prints pixilated, blurry, or grainy.

A common misperception is that if a digital camera snapped the photo, then it must automatically create a high-resolution image.  This is not the case.  Adjust the setting on the camera to get its highest, best resolution.

3)  Clean your scanner before using.

Before you start scanning, make sure your photographs and scanner are clean.  Scanners pick up fingerprints, hairs, lint, or dust that you may not see.

4)   Save your scanned photo as a jpeg and name it with the person's name if applicable.

Save the scan as a jpeg and name it with the name of the individual in it, such as “John Michael Smith.jpg”

5)  Use the "de-screen" function on the scanner as needed.

If you need to scan either a photocopy or newspaper copy of an individual, use the “de-screen” function on the scanner.  It creates a much better image.  This is most likely found with the advanced settings.

6)  Call local businesses/stores to see who offers scanning services.

If you do not have a scanner at home, call around.  Many local businesses/stores offer scanning services.  Ask for instructions on how to scan at a higher resolution or scale.