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  • Paul Good

How to Prepare Low Resolution Images for Best Printing: Up-scaling

Some of our users may notice that there is a "low resolution warning" when they are uploading a photo to be restored. While this does not necessarily mean your photo will be rejected, the warning is there to let you know that the original file you are giving us is of lesser quality. While the best way to get a great file for a photo repair job order (or any photo project) is to work from original large camera files or physical prints, there are a few ways to help you up-convert the low resolution image to higher resolution.

Up-scaling low resolution images using a scanner

Golden standard: 8"x10" at 300dpi

"Resolution" refers to the information in the form of pixels within an image. More pixels, (DPI-dots per inch or PPI-pixels per inch) means more information and usually higher quality of an image. Some standardized resolutions you will see around are 72ppi for the web, photo prints use 300dpi, and larger print formats like canvas use 150dpi. Knowing what medium your final image is going to be used for will helps to format to appropriate pixels/dots at the start of a project. We suggest saving images to 300dpi for high resolution in all cases. Be aware that high resolution also makes for larger file sizes and loading times. This is why the web does not use higher resolution.

When we talk about the "scale" of a file, we are talking about the number of inches. So while resolution refers to the amount of information within each inch, the scale gives the physical size. If you had a small photo at 1" x 1" for example, even with a resolution at 300, this would still be considered low quality or low resolution, because there is not a lot of space to store all of that information because the pixels are being multiplied by the inches.

Therefore, with these two factors in mind, the best scale would be any percentage that will help you reach a target size (end size) of at least an 8" x 10" image. Therefore any image smaller than an 8" x 10" will need to be scaled higher than 100%. We bet you didn't know math was so involved with your everyday digital photo!

Up-scaling using speciality software

Photo editors have some file enhancement software, and others are dedicated to making life as easy as an upload and a download. If you are particular about the specifics in your image, learning photo manipulation software will be to your advantage. However, if you are short on time and patience with a learning curve, go for the more simplified uploaders. It is worth noting that up-scaling a photo is not the only feature each of the following has to offer.

For professional assistance with any photo restoration, retouching, or recreation, please visit us at

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