Laser Engraving: Photos

Methods for Wood, Canvas, Mirror, Slate and Tile

Precise focus of the laser is critical. Every laser is different – practice makes perfect.


Wood is one of the more popular options for engraving because it’s easy to find and relatively low cost. However, engraving wood can be a frustrating endeavor if you aren’t aware of some key considerations.

Not all types of wood engrave well, and even the same wood may not engrave the same due to differences in moisture or resin content. So let’s look at some considerations when selecting wood.

Resin Content

Higher resin content is found in softer woods, which are typically lighter colored, and the more resin, the darker the burn (engraved markings). Resin levels are affected by where and when the wood was cut. Alder, Maple and Cherry are premium options.


Lines naturally present in some woods caused by mineral content. The streaks are visible after engraving and reduce the impact of the final result.


Lighter wood provides a stronger contrast to the engrave (burn) lines, allowing your work to stand out.

Good examples of wood for engraving include:

  • Alder (great for photos)
  • Cherry (great for photos)
  • Maple (great for photos)
  • Basswood
  • Plywood
  • MDF
  • HDF
  • Balsa

On Maple plywood, general settings for 2W – 5W laser

  • 1900 mm/min
  • 80% power
  • Jarvis dithering

Photo and engraving by Jeff Vortisch, Photo Laser Engraving FB group

On Alder plywood

Tip: Mask a high contrast portion of a photo and run on different settings to find what works best for your laser.

Norton White Tile Method

Two Trees 2.2w Diode Laser

  • Nero Dithering
  • 318 DPI (line interval .08)
  • 1200 mm/min
  • 80% Power

Photo and engraving by Edward Kraushar, Photo Laser Engraving FB group

Ortur LM 3 10w laser

  • 3700 mm/min
  • 90% power
  • Jarvis dithering (Lightburn)

Photo and engraving by Thorsten Fichtel, Photo Laser Engraving FB group

Snapmaker A350 1.6w laser

  • Rustoleum PaintersTouch 2X Smokey Beige paint
  • 700 mm/min
  • 318 dpi
  • 60% power
  • 90 degree scan angle, Stucki dither

Photo and engraving by Alan Fox, Photo Laser Engraving FB group


10w diode laser

  • Clear coat first
  • 318 dpi
  • 10000 mm/min
  • 50% power
  • Denoise 30, Autosharpen 6 (Imag-r)

Photo and engraving by Philip Baird, Photo Laser Engraving FB group

10w diode laser

  • 300 dpi
  • 3000 mm/min
  • 60% power

Photo and engraving by Richard Jones, Photo Laser Engraving FB group

OLM2 LU2-4 5.5w laser

  • 318 DPI
  • Kasia processing
  • 3000 mm/min
  • 90% power
  • Sprayed slate with black paint first

Photo and engraving by Andrea Dawson, Den of Lasers FB group

Ortur LM2, 20w diode laser

  • 2000 mm/min
  • 75% power

Photo and engraving by LA Hobby Guy (also see, Creating a Laserbed Template)