Scanning images

  • Updated

Do you have printed images, antique photos, newspaper clippings, artwork, handwritten or typed letters, or other printed documents you'd like to place in your book?

If so, you can take digital photos of those objects or you can scan them. Scans will often provide the best results, especially when you use the correct settings.

Tips for scanning
Blurb can't scan your old images for you but you can pay someone to do it (google photo scanning service) or you can do it yourself.

You can find lots of valuable tips on scanning images on (This is an external site with no association with Blurb--we just find it a useful resource). You'll find best practices for scanning and an overview of digital images in general. You'll also find some very complex explanations for those who are really into such details. Here are a few of the more relevant pages:

Never used a scanner before?
Image file formats
The first fundamental concepts of digital images

Should you save the scan as a PNG or a JPG image?

JPG and PNG files are both image files. BookWright, BookSmart and Bookify all accept JPG or PNG images. Each format has its own advantages depending on its intended use. The image file formats link above will explain more but here's the gist:

  • JPGs are a compressed or "lossy" file format and the default format for most digital cameras. JPGs are fine when shooting photos of people, places, landscapes, etc.  
  • PNGs are a lossless (uncompressed) format. Cameras don't let you save images as PNGs but scanners often do.
  • Since a scan is essentially a copy of the original thing (or a copy of a photo of the original thing), we recommend you save any scans as PNGs instead of JPGs.
  • Save as PNGS if your scans contain text (handwritten or typed letters, newspaper articles, etc), logos, sketches, illustrations, graphs or line art (like architectural drawings).
  • Scans saved as JPG files may not look as sharp since JPGs are a "lossy" format. 
  • If you don't have the option to save your scans directly as PNG files then scan them first as TIF files (if that's an option). Then re-save those TIFs as PNGs. But try to save directly to PNGs whenever possible.

Scan quality
If you're seeing grain or a thatched/blocky pattern in your scanned images, try the tips here:

Finally, as with any image you use in your book (a scan or otherwise), if you're unsure about the quality give it the 200% test.

Of course, the ultimate test is the printed Blurb book, so it's always a good idea to order and review a single copy from Blurb before placing a larger order.

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