We get a lot of questions about how to get the best results from your scanner, so we thought we’d put together a quick look at our top 5 tips on getting great scans!
- Don’t use an all-in-one copier/scanner/printer machine! These machines, while really handy for general office use, don’t do a great job of scanning photos, especially when those photos are faded or discolored. They often add pixelation to an image and don’t produce very sharp scans. Instead, we recommend sticking with a standalone photo scanner, the results will be much better!
- Software settings. Any good scanner will give you a number of options for resolution, file type, file size, color correction, dust removal, etc. Here are some general guidelines to follow when setting up your scanner’s software.
- Turn off any settings like auto-adjust, auto-contrast, auto-exposure, etc. These often do more harm than good!
- Compression. Make sure that any file compression settings are set to their lowest value (in other words the least amount of compression). Some software will refer to this as file size, and in those cases make sure to set this to the highest value.
- Resolution. This is a big one, and it deserves it’s own bullet point…
- Resolution. A general rule of thumb is that if you want to reproduce your image at it’s original size you should scan it at 300 dpi. For enlargement up to 2x original size scan at 600 dpi. For enlargement up to 3x original size, scan at 900 dpi. For 4x original size, scan at 1200 dpi. We generally don’t recommend enlarging more than 4x original size, and we never recommend scanning lower than 300 dpi.
- Scanning with a gray card. Scanners can alter color a bit, and this is especially true of older sepia toned images. To help account for this DigitalCustom can provide you with a small, neutral gray card to scan along side your image. This helps us to adjust the image to help account for any color shift introduced by your scanner. While it isn’t a foolproof method it can certainly help!
- Scanning large images. If you have an original image that is larger than your scanner, no problem! You can just scan it in sections, making sure that there is plenty of overlap between one scan and the next, and we can put those pieces together as part of the restoration process.
If you have questions about scanning that aren’t covered here don’t hesitate to contact us!
DigitalCustom prices all orders individually, based on the amount of work needed to make your photo look its best. Generally restoration will cost between $40-$50, based on our standard 4 business day turnaround time. Keep in mind the price quote you'll receive for your order is only for digital editing, any prints you might want are priced separately.
Ordering Digital Edits
To place an order for restoration or other digital edits, you'll first need to create an account and then upload your image to us. We accept images in JPG format only, but if your image is in another format, contact us and we’ll be happy to convert it for you if you are unable to.
Once your image is uploaded, our system will walk you through the process, allowing you to select what kind of edits you want and add any important special instructions. Within 24 hours of placing the order in our system you’ll receive a price quote via email. Follow the links in the email to accept the price quote for your desired turnaround time. Once the price quote is accepted we’ll get started on your image right away.
When your digital edits are finished, you’ll receive an email with links to download the completed file in both its original high resolution as well as a smaller file that is optimized for email, posting on Facebook, etc.
If you only need prints of your image, upload it to us and select the “Prints Only” option. You’ll be taken to the print ordering page where you can select the paper type, finish, size, and quantity of prints you need. If you need a size that isn’t listed on the print ordering page, just click the “Custom Sizes” link near the bottom of the page and you can order any size print you need. DigitalCustom can print any custom size, as long as the shortest side isn’t larger than 42″.
If you need to order prints of an image that has been restored or otherwise edited, you can access all of your orders through the “Order Status” link near the top right of the page. This will take you to a list of all of your current and past orders; following the “Order Prints/Products” link to the right of each order will take you to the print ordering page.
When you place an order for digital edits (such as restoration, cartoon art, etc) with DigitalCustom, we’ll email you a price quote that provides you with two options for how quickly the completed work is returned. Our standard turnaround time is 4 business days, but you’ll also have the option of a 1 business day turnaround (a 50% premium).
Once you’ve placed a print order with DigitalCustom, paper or un-stretched canvas prints can be expected to ship within 4 business days. Stretched canvas prints require a bit more time, and ship from our Cincinnati facilities within 5-7 business days.
Keep in mind that turnaround times for prints are in addition to the turnaround time required for any digital edits you’ve requested for your photo.
Depending on the size of your completed image, we ship using either USPS or UPS (ground and two day service available). If you are in the Cincinnati area you'll have the additional option of picking up your prints from our partners at Kromer Studios.
When you order a standard size print from DigitalCustom you're given an option to
choose between “crop to fit” or “do not crop.” What is the difference between the two, and when is one option better than the other?
Crop to fit means that we will crop into your image as needed in order to ensure that your print is exactly the size you ordered. Do not crop means that rather than cropping into your image we will instead print it as close to the ordered size as possible while keeping the proportions of the original image.
In the image below, the print on the left was done at original size. The print in the middle shows a 5×7 print ordered as “crop to fit.” The print on the right shows a 5×7 ordered as “do not crop.”