Three Ways That Your Storage Method May Be Destroying Your Photos

Posted on: 28 October 2016

Though most digital and modern prints can usually be easily restored if they get damaged, some older prints may be irreplaceable. It's important that these old photographs be stored and cared for properly. However, even if you think you're protecting them the right way by placing them in an album or in a box, you might actually be contributing to their demise without knowing. Here are three ways you may be destroying your photos by the way that they're stored.

Improper mounting or framing:

It's extremely important that no part of your photo touches any type of paper or cardboard that is not archival quality. This includes mounting them in photo albums or matting them so you can put them in a frame. Regular paper or cardboard has acids which can turn your photos yellow or cause them to change color or even completely destroy the photo. You can often see such damage when you remove the photo from the album or frame. In addition to the paper, make sure you also use archival-quality adhesives.

Incorrect plastic storage:

You may have one of those albums with the plastic covers or pockets to keep your photos secure. The good thing about plastic is that it protects your photos from moisture. However, many inexpensive albums are not a good choice for long-term storage of your photos. Like paper, some plastics may have properties that can cause a photo to break down or fade. Some plastics may even lift the colors right off the photo if they are removed from the album. Try looking for photo-safe plastics such as mylar or polyester.

Storing them in a box:

There's nothing inherently wrong with storing your photos in a box; however, it shouldn't be just any box. If you want your photos to last a long time without damage, then use a box specifically designed to keep photos safe. To further protect your photos, make sure you organize them and keep a sheet of archival-quality paper between each one to keep it from being scratched.

When storing your photos, make sure you keep them in a cool, dry place. Never store your photos near a heater or in the sun, and keep them away from any water sources. The suggestions above also hold true for keeping negatives safe. If you've found that your photos have also been damaged by improper storage, and you want to restore them, see a specialist who can take a look at them to see what can be repaired. Then, after they've been restored, you can store them in a better place.

For more information, contact local professionals like Photography Collections Preservation Project.