The main goal of my business is to provide my customers with the highest quality portraits possible.  This all starts with the scanning of the original photographs.  As a general rule I suggest scanning your snap shots at a resolution of 600 dpi.  This setting must be made prior to scanning and can usually be found under the settings or options tab of your scanner's software.    If the original picture is 5" x 7" or larger a lower resolution should work fine (200-400 dpi).  However, higher resolution is always better.  Just be sure that the file size does not exceed 10 mb.  Most quality scans should end up around 1-3 mb.  Extremely small pictures (less than 2") should be scanned at 1200 dpi.

Cropping of your scan is just as important as setting the proper resolution.  And again bigger is better here too.  When in doubt always leave more of the picture showing.  A properly cropped photograph should show the subject's entire torso including his/her head.  When possible please show the subject's entire head, both shoulders and stomach.  Below are two examples of a cropped photograph.  The first one is a properly cropped photograph.  The second is a poorly cropped photograph.  

Poorly cropped photograph
Properly cropped photograph
    I understand that many times the original photograph does not allow the ideal cropping as in the above photograph.  In these cases always crop the photo leaving as much as you can of the subject.  Also,  if the subject is very small in the photograph (less than 25% of the entire photo) then that photo will generally not yield very good results as the subject will be too small and too far away to show any usable detail.  And I would recommend finding a photo where the subject is more close up.

To summarize, please keep these tips in mind when scanning your photographs:

- Scan most photographs at 600 dpi.
- Higher resolution is always better, just don't exceed 10 mb.
- Most properly scanned photographs should be around 1-3 mb.
- When cropping leave as much of the subject as possible.
        - If subject is very small in photo it might not be usable.

    I can use almost any photograph to create a portrait.  Following these few tips will allow me to design the best possible portrait using whatever photograph you choose.  I can not guarantee any work where these guidelines were not followed or where the original photo was too poor of quality.