8 ways to store and preserve your photographs

Photographs are priceless keepsakes. Whether the captures involve a wedding, birthday, graduation, or anniversary, seeing them can make one feel nostalgic or sentimental. The value of photographs just can’t be overstated.

Luckily, there are many ways to store and preserve printed pictures easily. And it includes the following methods:

1. Frame Your Photos

For many years, frames have been known to protect photographs from the elements. Aside from that, they give an aesthetic appeal to pictures through their glazing and decorative wooden or metal frames. If you decide to frame your photographs, use acid-free mats to keep the photos from contacting the glass and acid-free backboards to prevent image deterioration.

And if your photographs don’t fit the frame dimensions in the market, you may consider a tailored approach. Custom framing may provide you with a unique and personalized finished photo frame to keep your pictures intact for years to come while displaying them on your walls.   

2.Store Them In An Optimal Setting

Most individuals store their pictures in the attic or basement, believing it’s a great tactic to maintain the quality of the photos. However, this approach is a mistake.

A moderately dry, cold, and temperature-stable setting is optimal for photographs. A cellar is likely overly moist, causing your pictures to clump together or mildew. Similarly, avoid a scorching hot attic, as heat can expedite the degradation of ink and paper.

Choose a room that is at or slightly below room temperature. Also, keep the photos away from heaters and vents.

3.Protect Them From Light

When taking photos, lighting is a vital factor. But for printed pictures, light exposure is damaging. It can cause fading, discoloration, and, ultimately, the destruction of your photographs. As a result, strive to minimize light damage by shielding them from light. One way to do this is using UV-filtering glazing for your frames. You may also take ideas from significant archives and museums on how they protect artworks, fabrics, documents, works on paper, and photographs.

4.Avoid Putting Them In Peel-And-Stick Or Magnetic Albums

While photo albums are a great way to store a few hundred pictures, their materials can damage the photographs. Peel-and-stick and magnetic photo albums, in particular, are typically constructed of glue, cardboard, and regular plastic, all of which can deteriorate the images over time. Once you decide to move your pictures to another album, it may rip your photos due to their strong adhesive.

If you want to place your images in tangible photo albums, look for acid-free ones. A high-quality, acid-free photo album can help you preserve your priceless memories. Remove any rubber bands, paper clips, glue, or staples that could damage the photos before putting them in an acid-free album.

5.Avoid Using Fasteners

If you want to keep your images together, avoid using paper clips, glue, rubber bands, adhesives, and other non-archival grade papers. These items may contain hazardous acids that could destroy your pictures. It would be best to keep them separate from each other not to damage their materials. If you have a rubber band holding a bundle of old photographs together, remove them so your images won’t twist or mar over time. And if you’re storing them together in a box, use acid-free tissue between each picture to avoid sticking.

6.Find Proper Enclosures

Enclosures allow you to view an image without any contact. It is different from an ordinary picture frame as it has more space, enabling the pictures to breathe. This enclosure can be a metal or a wooden shadow box frame with acrylic glazing and a paper backdrop. With these, your photographs are less likely to be scratched, deteriorated, or fingerprinted.

If you wish to use enclosures, they should not contain acid or lignin. Choose a paper enclosure over a plastic one if you want to preserve your photographs in a humid environment so they won’t stick. But if you wish to use plastic enclosures, go for uncoated polyester film, polyethylene, cellulose triacetate, and polypropylene.

7. Invest In A Good Photo Storage Box

If you’re searching for a place to store your photographs, photo storage boxes might be a good option. They provide an easy and orderly method to save all of your priceless memories. They’re also a terrific way to keep things contained and safe from the outside elements.

When choosing a photo storage box, you should consider how long it’ll last, how much extra space it has, and how it looks. The material can affect the long-term survival of your photos, and the size may not fit your photographs if you don’t choose your storage box wisely.  

8. Handle Your Photos With Care

Food and beverages should be kept out of the way when you’re going through or organizing your photographs. If you need to arrange your photos, use a pair of cotton gloves while handling them. These will protect them from your hands’ natural oils. But if you don’t have gloves on hand, hold your photographs by the edges only.

Final Thoughts

Photos provide a window into the past. They bring back memories, allowing you to cherish your loved ones and significant places, even if they’re no longer present. That said, having a safe and efficient way of storing and archiving your images is essential. Take note of the methods above to keep your photos safe in the coming years.

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