Simple Steps to Digitize Photos for Embroidery

Embroidery has taken a modern twist in the 21st century. You can now use digital photos to create beautiful embroidery pieces or digitize photos for embroidery easily. If you're new to this trend, don't worry, to digitize photos for embroidery is easier than it sounds.

In this guide, we'll walk you through digitizing a photo for embroidery in just a few simple steps. It's easy, fun, and can help you achieve impressive results on any project.

We'll discuss the basics of digitizing photos for embroidery and give you tips on how to get the most out of your files. You'll also learn to troubleshoot common pitfalls and optimize your settings for the best outcomes. So get ready. Let's dive into the world of photo embroidery!

What is digitizing photos for embroidery?

You've probably seen a friend or family member create a beautiful piece of embroidered art with a personal photo and thought to yourself, "how do they even do that?" The answer is digitizing. Digitizing is converting an image or logo into a format that an embroidery machine can read and use.

Digitizing photos for embroidery require special software that allows you to adjust the design's stitch type, size, direction, and density. While this may seem complicated initially, it's quite easy once you understand the basics.

To start your project, upload your image into the software and break it into separate elements (like text or graphics). Once you have all your elements ready, you'll need to select stitches for each element and adjust them according to how large you want the finished design. Finally, once you save your file, it will be ready to send directly to an embroidery machine!

Preparation/Selecting Photos and Software to Digitize Photos for Embroidery

Getting started with digitizing photos for embroidery is easier than you think! The first step is to select which photos you want and the software you'll need.

If you don't have any photos, no worries! Scour your photo library and find something that stands out. It can be of anything, from landscapes to family vacations. Once you've selected the photo, print it in black and white on high-quality paper or cardstock at a print shop or online store.

For the software, most embroidery software will work for this project. You'll need to ensure that it supports your photo's file type (for example, JPEG or PNG). But if you want something specifically designed for this job, try a program like Wilcom Truesizer Pro or Pulse Signature. Both are great options!

Scanning or Uploading Photos

You can start digitizing photos for embroidery by scanning or uploading them. You'll need a printer/scanner combo to scan in high-resolution mode if you're scanning your photo. This will ensure that the photo is clear and crisp.

Depending on where they are stored, you can upload photos directly from your phone or computer. When selecting a file for upload, ensure it is in a format compatible with the embroidery software. It should also be saved in a high-resolution format to help maintain clarity when digitized.

No matter which method you choose, make sure it provides high-quality results so that the finished product looks great when embroidered!

Image Editing in Your Software

Image editing is one of the most important steps in the photo-to-embroidery process. After selecting your photo, you can open it on photo editing software for fine-tuning.

Adjust colours

Photo colours can vary from very pale to very rich, depending on how it's taken and how much natural light is in the image. Using image editing software, you can adjust colours to suit the look of your design. For example, if your image has too much yellow, you can adjust it to have a cooler look by reducing the yellow saturation.

Resize and crop

With an image editor like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, you can also use tools to crop out or resize parts of your image. You'll need these tools if you want the focus to be on one part of the photo or make its dimensions smaller to fit better on your fabric. Cropping and resizing also help reduce file size, which is important for embroidery designs.

It's also important to keep contrast levels in check so that any small details won't be lost when digitized. Also, ensuring that light and dark parts are visible makes navigating your design easier and reduces stitch direction changes during stitching!

Preparing to Digitize the Photo

Another important step in digitizing a photo for embroidery is preparing it. Before diving right into the actual digitizing process, it's important to ensure your photo is ready to be converted into embroidery.

Image Quality

First, you want to ensure that the image you're working with is high enough quality. A low-quality image will translate poorly into an embroidered one and look blurry or distorted. Aim for an image with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi to get the best results. If your image isn't up to par, programs can enhance it, such as Adobe Photoshop and PicMonkey.

File Formats

You will also want to ensure you have the right file format for embroidery. The most common file formats used are DST (Tajima), PES (Brother), EXP (Melco) and XXX (Compucon). Each format is designed for a certain type of machine, so if you need clarification on your machine's requirements, check with the manufacturer before proceeding.

Now that you've covered all the basics, it's time to start digitizing! Taking these few extra steps at the beginning ensures that your photos are ready to be transformed into beautiful works of art on fabric.

Digitizing the Photo for Embroidery

Digitizing photos for embroidery is easy and can be done in a few simple steps. Here's how to do it:

Scan or Take a Photo of the Image

First, you'll need to scan or take a digital photo of your image. Make sure you take a high-quality scan or photo and ensure that there aren't any glare or lighting issues that may affect the quality of the embroidery. Utilizing a scanner will usually give you the best results as it will capture all of the details of your picture.

Load the Image into Embroidery Software

Once you have scanned or taken a photo, load it into the embroidery software. This software will allow you to resize and adjust the image and select the type and size of stitch you would like to use for your design. This is also where you can add text if desired.

Convert Your Image into an Embroidery File

Once you've adjusted your image within the software, it's time to convert it into an embroidery file. This is done by exporting your design as either a. pes (compatible with most commercial-grade machines) or .dst (compatible with high-end machines). Whichever format suits your needs best should be used for this stage.

You're now ready to send this file off for stitching! Digitizing photos for embroidery has never been easier than now, so give it a shot and create unique designs for yourself, friends and family!


Embroidering a special photo or pattern onto a garment is a great way to customize clothing or other items. Although digitising photos for embroidery can seem intimidating, with a few simple steps, anyone can digitize a photo and create the perfect embroidery design.

Whether transforming a family portrait into a custom pillow, making a monogrammed towel set or just sprucing up a plain t-shirt, digitizing photos for embroidery or embroidery digitizing in a way is a fun and relatively easy way to customize any item with embroidery design digitizing. The possibilities are endless with just a laptop, a photo editing program, and a bit of creativity!