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How to Enlarge Old Photos and Get Amazing Results

Person Sitting on Bed with Collection of Old Photographs

Do you remember capturing photos with a 35mm film camera? How many rolls of film did you develop as 4”x6” prints? How many of those prints are now in a box in storage or stuck in one of those old sticky albums? If you have some special memories that are fading or deteriorating that you’d like to preserve, or you’d like to enlarge those old photos to display in your home, doing so is easier than you may think! 

There are two easy ways to enlarge those old photos and get amazing results: you can scan them, or you can capture a digital photo of the old photo. Once you have the new images, you can enlarge them and print them on a variety of different products, regardless of whether you’re looking for a standard photo enlargement printed on glossy or matte photo paper or a jaw-dropping premium HD Metal Print. 

How to Scan and Enlarge Old Photos

Using a Scanner to Enlarge Old Photos

If you have a scanner at home, you can create digital copies of your old photos in order to enlarge them for printing. Depending on the make and model of your scanner, the exact steps you take to enlarge your old photos will vary, but it will probably just be a matter of placing the photo face-down on the scanner’s glass and pressing the scan button. Before scanning, however, there are a few settings you should check to ensure you’re going to get the best scan for the purpose of enlarging old photos. 

  • Colour mode: Make sure you’re scanning in colour, not black and white or greyscale. 
  • Resolution (DPI): For the purpose of enlarging old photos to print, the resolution should be set to 300 dpi. 
  • Data format/file type: JPEG

Once you’ve scanned the old photo using these settings, it’s ready to be enlarged and printed. All you need to do now is upload your photo to our website and choose the product and size you would like your print to be created as and we’ll take it from there! 

Now let’s look at how you can enlarge old photos without a scanner, and then we’ll get to some product suggestions which are great for creating amazing photo enlargements of your old photos. 

How to Enlarge Old Photos Without a Scanner

Taking a Photo of an Old Photo to Enlarge and Print

If you don’t have a scanner at home, you can still enlarge your old photos. All you need to do is take a digital photo of the old photo. Here are a few tips to help you get the best results:

Check your lighting: Back in the day of film photography, we didn’t all have access to photo editing software or easy one-tap filters we could apply to our images, so the old photo you’re trying to enlarge might not have the best lighting to begin with. Because of this, it’s important that you take note of the lighting when creating the digital copy of the original. If possible, position the old photo in a bright space full of natural lighting, but not direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can make it difficult to photograph the old photo without getting unwanted shadows included in the new image. 

Hold steady: To ensure your photo is sharp and in focus, use a tripod if you can or, at the very least, hold your camera or phone as steady as possible by resting your arms against a stationary object, like a table or countertop.

Keep focused: If you’re capturing the old photo with your camera set to auto or with an iPhone, you can also help ensure your images are sharp by getting your device to lock its focus. With a camera, this can be achieved by pressing the shutter button half way down, waiting a second, and then fully pressing it. With an iPhone, simply tap the screen on the object you’re photographing to focus on it, and then take the photo. 

Fill you frame: When enlarging an old photo to print, you’re going to want to compose your shot so the old photo fills the frame of your camera; if it doesn’t, it will be obvious in the print that it’s a photo of a photo. 

Straighten and crop: If the photo of the photo looks askew, you can easily use photo editing software to straighten it, and then crop out any background surrounding the old photo. 

Once you’ve captured a digital photo of your old photo, you can use your favourite editing app to enhance the image’s brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. If you’re looking for a photo editing app that’s free and easy to use, Snapseed is worth checking out. 

Printing Your Old Photos

Once you’ve created a digital copy of your old photo, it’s time for the fun part: enlarging it and turning it into a beautiful print. Even if, after taking the steps to get the best possible digital version of your old photo, you feel your image isn’t the best quality, that’s okay! Sometimes printing a low-quality photo is better than not printing it at all. If the photo is special and really means something to you, the crispness and clarity of the image might not matter if it means you can look at the photo every day and enjoy it. 

From timeless and classic Canvas Prints to stylish and modern Gallery Boxes, Posterjack has a large variety of photo art products that will fit in with any decor style. We also offer smaller desk decor products, like our popular Acrylic Blocks, photo books, calendars, and even latte mugs.

Old Photo Scanned and Printed on a Latte Mug

Hiding Flaws in Old Photo Enlargements

Over the years, an old photo may have faded, been creased, or just wasn’t a great photo to begin with in terms of composition and lighting. In this instance, what you choose to print your photo on can make a difference. If you’d like to hide these flaws, two types of prints worth considering are our Classic Silver Metal Prints and our Wood Prints. These two products are a great option for printing old photos, as long as you don’t mind a unique and artistic look and colour accuracy isn’t important to you. Because your photo is printed directly onto the brushed aluminum or wood, the raw material your photo is printed on will show through in areas where the image includes white (or low saturation). Similar to how an Instagram filter can hide flaws in an image, these products will help soften your photo’s imperfections. 

Photos Printed on Wood

Choosing Your Photo Printer

In addition to what you’re printing, who you choose to create those photo enlargements also makes a difference. As we mention in our blog post about how to print low resolution photos and get results you love, the quality of a print isn’t solely determined by the quality of image. The actual printer, inks, and product you’re printing on makes a huge difference too. Here are a few reasons to consider choosing Posterjack to print your old photos compared to printing them from home or even another photo printer:

1. Our proprietary PJ-PRINT™ software. Using an advanced interpolation algorithm, we can print your photos super-crisp at a large scale. Our software delivers better results than you would get by resampling a digital image in Photoshop or other editing software.

2. We use premium inks that are rated for 100+ years of fade resistance.

3. We continually invest in state-of-the-art equipment to ensure we’re delivering the best products on the market.

4. Like our equipment, the materials we print your photos on are second to none. Our Fine Art Prints, for example, are made with Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, which is a high-quality paper used by professional photographers around the world. Another example is our Canvas Prints, which are made using the best quality poly-cotton canvas and basswood, and has been instrumental in helping us become known as the Photo Art Experts by Canadians across the country.

5. Our automatic rating system. When you upload a photo to our website, you’re automatically provided with a photo quality rating. This will help give you a better idea on what to expect before you print, and if your photo quality is unacceptable, our system won’t allow you to proceed with your order. Our priority is ensuring you’re happy with your print! 

Old Photo Turned into a Custom Framed Print by Posterjack Canada

Printing Memories

Enlarging those old 4”x6” photos you have tucked away in storage is super easy to do and turning them into photo art breathes new life into them, giving them the attention they deserve. It’s also a good idea to create digital copies of your favourite old photos before they crack and fade. Once you have them, you can print them again on a quality product that will not fade or deteriorate over the years, so your memories will be forever remembered. 

Collection of Posterjack Photo Prints

Turn Your Photo into Art Now


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