Engraving photos – What constitutes a good photo for engraving?

Laser Engraving Photos

While engraving photos is becoming popular among our customers in Uganda, we still have a challenge of getting good images. For instance, most people these days snap photos with phone cameras and bring them for engraving. However, phones do not produce high-resolution pictures with which you can work.

One important thing to note with engraving photos is that the original picture must be of high quality. Garbage in, garbage out is an expression used in the computer language to mean that poor-quality input leads to reduced output. Likewise, if the original photo you want to engrave isn’t right, it’s less likely that you will get a quality engraved picture.

Because we want to offer quality photo engraving services to our clients, we have thought it necessary to educate you on what constitutes a good photo for engraving. It will enable you and us to produce a high quality engraved picture that will appeal to everyone.

When engraving photos, what makes a good photo for etching?

What you should keep in your mind is that not EVERY PHOTO is going to engrave well. It’s is a crucial element that makes engraving photos difficult. So, as you bring your photo for engraving, it’s essential to know what makes a photo ideal for engraving. It’s when we shall be able to produce for you a quality engraved photo. Therefore, consider the following vital points.

Engraving Photos

#1 – Shading

The original photograph must contain a full depth of shading that ranges from light to dark. It means that you should have a variety of colours, from light to dark within your photo. Photographs containing large areas of a single colour don’t engrave well. It’s the reason why you should not bring pictures with extensive backgrounds providing only one colour.

Engraving Photos

Photograph 1 is a good photo for engraving because it has a variety of colours from light to dark. It doesn’t have large blocks of a single colour. Secondly, it contains the right amount of detail. It shows more contrast between the subjects and the background. When we engrave it, the results will turn out to be good. And if we edit it a bit to remove the background as you see in Photograph 2, the results will be superb.

Photograph 3, though it looks visually appealing when printed, it isn’t good at all for engraving. First, it doesn’t contain the right amount of detail. Secondly, it doesn’t shade well from light to dark. Thirdly, it has an abundance of large blocks of single colours in the background. When we engrave it, we cannot achieve the results we want.

Bad Photo

#2 – Close-up subjects

While etching photos, the composition of the photo matters a lot. The quality of the engraved picture also depends on its structure. If the subjects of the original photo are close like it is in Photograph 2, the results turn out to be good. But if they are distant, as in Photograph 3, the photograph loses detail when we etch it on wood.

#3 – Resolution of the photo

When engraving photos, we want the original photo to have a high resolution. It enables us to work with the picture conveniently as we edit it and reduce the file size as we want. However, most people bring photos with a low resolution. These are photos they take with phone cameras or get from the internet.

Photographs are taken using a phone camera usually have a low-resolution don’t produce good results. Secondly, most internet images have a low resolution, not exceeding 72dpi in most cases. Phone camera photos and internet images may look good, but when you engrave them, they become pixellated, whereby the pixels are large enough to be individually visible from a reasonable viewing distance.

What are the best image sources for engraving?

There are three primary sources for images. They include a hardcopy image, online image and a digital camera image.

We can achieve the best results with photos that have a high resolution as already said. So, it’s right for you either to come with a hardcopy and we scan it in the required resolution or a digital camera image. Photographs taken with digital cameras with over 2.0 megapixels produce high high-resolution images that engrave so well.


Engraving photos is not as easy as printing them. While some images may look visually pleasant when printed, they don’t come out well when you engrave them. For the photo to etch nicely, it must possess the three elements mentioned above.

Hello! My name is Charles Kiyimba, a creative engraver, a professional teacher, a passionate blogger, a confident graphic/web designer and the founder of Goleza Designers Ltd, an engraving business that turns images into real products. Through my hands-on experience, I share with you free helpful information on our products and services, business, marketing and personal development. Always dive in for more!



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