At Memory Fortress, we offer multiple resolution levels for photo scanning. Our customers frequently ask what is the best DPI for scanning photos. The answer depends on the specific images you need scanned. 

There are multiple factors that contribute to the cost of your photo scanning project. The DPI, otherwise known as the resolution of the images, is a key element that affects both the price and the quality of the work. Understanding how resolution works and how it has changed over the years can help you select the right DPI for your project. 

Use this guide to learn about DPI, understand how it affects our pricing, and decide what is the best DPI for scanning photos based on your specific needs. This way you can feel confident working with a photo digitization company.

What does DPI mean?

DPI stands for dots per inch and reflects how photos are produced. The photos you print out or view online are made up of hundreds of little dots that come together to form a picture. The more dots you have, the more vibrant the picture. This is why TV developers are promoting 4K models right now – the resolution has nearly four thousand pixels that improve the viewing experience. 

You can often tell that an image has a low resolution when you stretch it out. The pixels are forced to expand, which makes the picture look blurry. If you have ever tried to make a picture larger on the internet and it looked pixelated, it’s because it has a low resolution. A high-resolution image can be resized or stretched without a significant difference in appearance. 

But what does all of this mean for your digitization project? Once you have an idea of how different resolutions work, you can choose the best DPI for scanning photos. Based on the images and what you plan to do with them, you can select the right resolution level to get the best results.

What is the Best DPI for Scanning Photos?

There are two common resolution levels that are considered the best DPI for scanning photos: 300 DPI and 600 DPI. 300 DPI is considered regular resolution. It is ideal for images that were taken after 1980 and can accommodate most photo sizes. Choose 300 DPI if you want to view your scanned photos on the web or display them on your phone or computer. 

If you want higher-resolution scans, ask for 600 DPI images. This is recommended for photos before 1980 because it can produce better results and protect the image as a whole. This is also ideal for smaller photos (smaller than three inches by three inches) because you can expand the image size once you have the scan. Choose the 600 DPI option if you plan to reprint the images or project them on a larger screen – like those used for wedding slideshows.

How does DPI affect the scanning price?

There are times when your photo needs will choose your DPI for you. If the majority of your images were taken before 1980 or you need to be able to project them on a screen, then you will need to choose 600 DPI scans. However, for most customers, the best DPI for scanning photos is also the cheapest option. If you are trying to save money on your digitization project, choose the 300 DPI resolution level. 

Every digitization company is different, but there is almost always a surcharge for scanning higher-resolution photos. At Memory Fortress, we try to keep this increase to a minimum. It costs seven cents more per photo for 600 DPI compared to 300 DPI. 

While this might not seem like much, opting for regular-resolution scans can save you a lot of money on your photo project. If you have 1,000 photos that need to be digitized, you can save $70 on your order by requesting 300 DPI scans. However, if you need to upgrade to higher-resolution scans, this extra cost shouldn’t push you over budget.

Higher DPI Images Take Up More Space

There’s one more thing to consider as you determine the best DPI for scanning photos. Higher resolution photos contain more information which means they take up more space. A digital file online contains data about each of the dots in a file. The more dots, the more data. 

You might have experienced this if you have ever tried to send high-resolution photos or videos to friends or family online. Your email provider might not have been able to handle the large files. If you opt for high-resolution images for your photo scanning project, you might notice that they require more storage – whether you receive them in the cloud or via a USB drive

For the most part, this shouldn’t affect your project pricing. You might need a slightly larger USB drive, but that’s a nominal expense. A 16GB USB drive can hold around 10,000 photos and only costs $8 more than our smallest drive (8GB). However, this could affect the storage of the photos on your Google Drive or smartphone. If you have thousands of high-resolution photos, you might run out of space and will need to invest in extra storage to create new memories. 

Consider the size of your project and what you plan to do with the images. Unless the pictures are more than 40 years old, 300 DPI (regular resolution) is the best DPI for scanning photos.

Start Your Photo Scanning Order With Memory Fortress Today

Once you have a clear understanding of the best DPI for scanning photos, you can place your order with Memory Fortress. Tell us how many photos you have and the resolution level you need. You don’t need to know exactly how many pictures need to be scanned, a ballpark estimate is fine. This tells us about how many photos we should expect so we can set aside time to work on them. From there, you can submit the $29 deposit and prepare your photos for shipping.

Our team at Memory Fortress is committed to offering fair prices and working quickly to complete customer orders. We will do our best to meet your needs. Start your order today or feel free to reach out if you have any questions