How to get good results scanning images for your books

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There we were, browsing the Blurb Forums, when we found a question about scanning slides. A lot of Blurbarians use scanned images in their books. We’ve seen love letters, old photographs, birth announcements, recipe cards, you name it. Here are a few basic tips from some of the Blurberati who use scans in their books:

• Don’t try to scan every single family photo in your possession. If you’re scanning for a specific book project, just select the best photos to illustrate your book.
• You want your scanned files to be at least 8 bit per channel.
• Pour yourself a big glass (or three) of wine. Scanning is time consuming, but it’s fun to go down memory lane.
• Don’t get too fancy with your settings, Keep it simple. (i.e. 300 DPI at the Blurb book size you’re making.) This will streamline the process for you.
• If you really have a big project and you’re not able to spend the time to scan, trying using Digital Pickle.

For basic guidance, wybnormal suggests you explore We checked it out and it is loaded with very helpful scanning tips.

If you use scanned images in your books, please share your technique in the comments below or jump into the Forums.

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  1. I also recommend cleaning the scanning surface alot. I scanned a load of old photos in for a recent book project and the result was very nice – the only real pain in the rear was going back and “editing” out all the dust and such that finds its way onto the scanned image.

    By Ben O.
      October 18, 2007 – 10:04 am   Permalink
  2. Allison – you said that you want your scans to be at least 8-bit per channel. Is there any advantage to using 16 bit? I am about to create a b/w book using flatbed scans of my b/w darkroom prints. My scanner allows for the following scans – 48-bit color, 24-bit color, 16-bit greyscale, and 8 bit greyscale. Don’t know what would be best to use …. any thoughts, anyone??? Is a scan larger than 8-bits, overkill??? Color or greyscale – does it matter which?? Will be doing either the standard or large landscape book. Working with images in Photoshop CS.

    (an aside – why are so many of the forum posts dated 2007?? Did everyone fall asleep 3 years ago and have not woken up yet??!!)

    By Jim Wight-Waltman
      December 24, 2010 – 4:47 pm   Permalink

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