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    Issues with Scanned Photos:


Resolution is too low.  The rule of thumb for resolution is that the dots per inch should be double the line screen ruling, for a 2:1 ratio; i.e. 300 dpi for 150 lpi.  As this ratio falls, pixelation becomes evident in the final print.  Web images are not suitable for printing; they may look great on screen, but they do not have enough pixels to meet printing requirements.

Image is enlarged too much.  Since the number of pixels in a photo is fixed, enlarging the photo does the same as lowering the resolution.  Scan photos as close to the reproduction size as possible.  If you have to go enlarge the photo in your page layout by more about 120%, consider rescanning at the right size.  You cannot increase the resolution in Photoshop and get good results; it has to manufacture the extra pixels, and does not render any additional detail.

JPEG format.  Great for web, but not for printing.  The compression scheme used in JPEG is a "lossy" compression.  Depending on the amount of compression, much of the detail may be forever lost.  Repeated saves of the same image as JPEG will make it worse every time.  If you must use JPEG, save the photo in this format only as the very last stage, and keep a copy in TIFF or Photoshop format.

No highlight.  Areas in a photo with a value of 0% black (grayscale) or 0% in all colors of a CMYK image will appear in print as a harsh shine.  There will be a marked contrast between this area and the dots adjacent to it.  This problem occurs most often because of incorrect scan settings or improper use of the color controls.  Tip:  Never use Brightness/Contrast to adjust a photo.   Use Levels or Curves instead; these will give you more control than Brightness/Contrast and are less likely to "blow out" the highlights.

No shadow detail.  This is a very common problem with low-cost scanners, and is one reason why scanners are still available for tens of thousands of dollars.  Although many mid-range scanners do an adequate job of bringing out detail in dark areas, entry-level scanners lack the dynamic range.

Lack of contrast.  Photos are said to be "flat" if there is little contrast between the highlights and shadows.

Poor color quality.  Uncalibrated monitors, inadequate scanning hardware, and lack of operator training and experience are frequent contributing factors to poor color quality.  If the monitor is not properly calibrated, the operator cannot make accurate visual judgements of color.  If the operator does not have an understanding of color systems, it is difficult to even recognize that the scanner or monitor is not calibrated correctly.  For best results, the monitor should be adjusted to match the color of the printed piece, a Matchprint or other reliable off-press proof.  Color calibration is too complex a subject to discuss here; if you have questions about it, drop us a line and we will refer you to some other sources.