What You Need to Know About Photos for Laser Etching

We frequently etch photos on a variety of materials including granite, slate, marble, acrylic, wood, and glass. Etching photos can produce beautiful, stunning memorials, awards, and gifts. However, not all pictures are ideal for etching. Please read the following to better understand how to pick and submit a picture.

The old adage (garbage in, garbage out) applies to pictures for laser etching. Our talented graphics staff is skilled at preparing images for etching, but we are not magicians. The better the quality of the original, the easier it is to prepare it and the better the outcome. Following are general rules for selecting and providing pictures to us for etching.

    • NOTE: Many of our products are laser-etched natural materials such as wood, slate, granite, marble, quartz, and leather. Natural products contain variations in color, texture, grain and shape. Small irregularities including chips, cracks, knots, and discolorations are to be expected and add to the uniqueness and beauty of the product. Thank you.

    • Higher quality pictures always produce better-finished results. We understand that high-quality pictures are not always available. In cases where picture quality is questionable, we will look at what you have and give you an honest opinion of what we can do with it before proceeding. We want you to be happy with the final product.

    • Select pictures that are in focus (sharp definition) and have good contrast, with good definition throughout. Avoid pictures with washed-out light or darkened shadow areas. Pictures with contrasting backgrounds and simple backgrounds are easiest to crop around the subject. Avoid small subjects. Even in high-resolution pictures, subjects at a distance will produce lower resolution results when zoomed and cropped for editing.
    • Scanned pictures and born-digital pictures (pictures from a digital camera or phone) should be saved in the highest resolution possible. If you are scanning a photo you should scan at a minimum of 300 to 1200 DPI. A minimum scanned image size of 5 x 7” and 300 DPI is suggested. Image files should be sent to us by e-mail. Photos sent as text attachments are reduced to low resolution and usually are not suitable. Image files should be submitted in JPEG, PNG, TIF, or GIF formats. Please avoid PDF file format which compromises image quality for editing.
    • If the image (picture or negative) you want us to etch is an original, you can send it to us and we can scan it. Contact us for mailing instructions and package it carefully to protect it. We will scan and edit your original for etching and return it with the finished product.
    • The type of material and design will dictate whether your project will be etching in a positive or negative orientation (I.E. light etched image on a dark background or dark etched image on light background).
  • We will e-mail a proof representation of the final design for your approval before the actual etching is performed.

If you have questions, please call us at 574-522-6575 or toll-free at 800-438-2658 / (800-GET-BOLT).