I have a photo taken in the early nineties featuring someone who sadly is not going to be around for much longer. All I have is the photo, we looked everywhere for the negative but it couldn't be found.

The photo is 10cm high, 15cm wide, in color.

What I'm looking for is a way to digitize and enlarge it. I have the following questions:

  • What is a good way to scan/digitize the photo leading to the least amount of quality loss?
  • Could filters/algorithms be used to negate some of the quality loss when the photo is enlarged?
  • I want to have this done by a professional, what should I look/ask for?

I'm located in the Netherlands and looking for something a dutch professional could do in a reasonable amount of time.

Your input is greatly appreciated.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are just scanning a print, the resolution of the print is not going to be so fine that any modern consumer flatbed scanner won't do a reasonable job of it. How large do you want to enlarge it? What will be the viewing distance of the enlargement? Have you tried anything yet? Unsharp mask will probably help results. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Dec 6, 2017 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ We tried with a garden variety scanner, about 5x enlargement. The result is somewhat blurry, as was expected. My hope is a professional with decent equipment would at least do a better job then I did. \$\endgroup\$
    – Douwe
    Dec 6, 2017 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is really two or three separate questions, all of which have been well covered here already: 1) What is the best way to digitize a small print? 2) How can I create an enlargement of a small image file? and possibly 3) How can I reduce minor blur in a photograph? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 7, 2017 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's really not. The question was about "what options does a professional have, so I know what to ask for should I ask for" A simple: "ask if they have this and that equipment to do this and that with the image" would have sufficed. But I understand I have to look elsewhere for professional advice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Douwe
    Dec 7, 2017 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


The best way of digitizing this particular image turned out to not be scanning at all. So here's the answer for if someone finds themself with the same questions I had:

  • For some photos (like this one) you can obtain better results by using a stand and a professional camera in a photo studio to make a photo of the photo.
  • After that, you can sharpen the image a little using photoshop filters, don't overdo it however cause it can lead to an "artificial" looking result
  • 5x enlargement (which I thought impossible) actually turned out rather nice.
  • Most professional portrait fotographers with a studio should be able to do this for you. (as opposed to your average dutch highstreet chain passpord photo shop, they have neither the equipment nor the expertise)

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