There isn’t one correct method of engraving photos. The same photograph will engrave differently from one material to the next using the same image. Its worth bearing in mind that different materials will produce different engraved looks. We often advise to run a series of tests to begin so we can establish the correct settings for the sort of thing you would like to achieve.

Best types of images

Not all photos are fit for engraving. Photographs that produce the best results usually contain a wide depth of shading that range from light to dark. Photographs containing large areas of a single colour typically do not engrave well – especially when working with wood. We recommend avoiding pictures with expansive backgrounds containing only one or two small subjects. This photo is a good choice for engraving because the majority is a gradient pattern of light to dark. There is not an abundance of large blocks of a single colour and it contains a good amount of detail.


The resolution at which you engrave does not have to be massively high. In most cases a resolution of 300 or 400 DPI would be ok. You might need a high resolution, such as 600 or 1200 DPI for photo engraving for some applications but again this depends on what you want to achieve and the size of your material.

Digital cameras over 2.0 mega pixels produce great high-resolution images that engrave nicely. Additionally, photos snapped with a iPhone or other camera phone often do not produce high resolution photos.

If scanning in a physical photo, Scan your photos at a low resolution such as 300 DPI. If we are going to engrave your photos at 300 DPI, there is no reason to scan it any higher. This just makes your image ridiculously large and difficult to work with in our graphics software. Always scan your image in colour and then convert to greyscale afterwards.

Digital Internet Images

Be sure to obtain the highest resolution digital image you can from the web. Low resolution photos and graphics copied and pasted from the Internet are never any good! I repeat, NEVER any good! They might look ok on screen, but in reality they are usually not above 72dpi and very pixelated which would show on your engraving. If you look hard you can occasionally find high resolution graphics online.

Image size

Get the largest size image available, especially if you are scanning it. Stretching a photo in your graphics software will reduce the resolution of your image. Additionally, if your photo is stretched too much, it will become too pixelated to engrave.

Find out more

See more on the photo engraving process»

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