How to Engrave Photos

grayscale snow on trees image by Evan Meyer from

Things You'll Need

  • Scanner
  • Laser system
  • Photo editing software
  • Engraving material

Engraving a photo is a great way to preserve an image and turn it into a beautiful piece of art to showcase in your home or give to someone as a gift. The engraving process involves a machine called a "laser system", which uses lasers to etch the image into the material you are engraving it on. Laser systems can etch an image into wood, acrylic, coated metals, plastic, glass and stone.

Scan the photo you are going to engrave. Set the scanner resolution at the highest quality.

Open the photo in a photo editing application, such as Photoshop, GIMP or Picasa. Turn the photo into a grayscale (black and white) image. Then, crop the image to the same dimensions as the object you are engraving it on. Save the image as a high-resolution TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) file when you are done.

Connect the laser system to your computer. Follow the instructions that came with your laser system to properly connect it to the computer.

Refer to the instructions that came with your laser system to send the photo as a print job to the laser system.

Place the material you will be using on the bed of the laser system. Set the type of material you will be engraving to by choosing the options menu on the laser system, and then pressing the "Start" button. The laser system will begin etching the image into the material.


  • Photos that have a good balance of light and dark contrast work best for engraving.

    For best results, use only images that have a resolution of 250 pixels per inch or higher.