Prepping an Image that You Want to Scan

Before you scan an image into your computer, you need to prep that image. Although you might not have a lot of control over the image you need to scan, you can still prepare ahead of time to improve your chances of success.

1

Start with the best available original.

Use the newest and best print you can find. If the print is housed in an album, frame, or cardboard display, carefully remove it before scanning unless removing it will damage the picture.

2

Start with the largest print that fits on your scanner.

Because of the grain of the color emulsion in the print, a larger version is likely to be sharper and, more importantly, to have a larger tonal range — the range of colors from lightest to darkest.

3

Clean the print and your scanner glass before you scan.

If you scan a dusty print, like the one shown in this figure, or if dust covers your scanner, you end up with an image that has dust spots that you must remove in your image editor. Dust the print carefully with a cloth and use Windex and compressed air on your scanner’s bed.

4

Make sure the image is aligned properly on the scanner glass.

If you scan a print that’s rotated slightly, you can always straighten it out in your image editor, but you lose some quality.

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