How to Archival Store and Care for Photos

In today’s world, most of us take digital photos and don’t much have to worry about taking care of them. But many of us still use film cameras or collect photos for our collections and these are important to take care of. So many times you’ll find these old photos in cartons and as you go through them you’ll find a few are damaged. Let’s learn to take care of these photos, and preserve a rich source of memories.

You’ll need the proper environment to store your photos to keep them in good shape. Keep them in a cool dry place. Moisture can destroy your photos, causing the paper to swell or the colors to bleed. Any dampness can also encourage the growth of mold. On the other hand, becoming too dry may cause them to become brittle. About 40% humidity is ideal for storage. Heat can increase the damage from moisture. Heat can damage on its own as well, causing your photos to fade. A cool room is best to keep your photos in good condition, and you’ll need to keep the climate of the room as stable as possible as frequent changes can be damaging.

Oils from your hands can also have a detrimental effect on photos. These oils contain acids that over time can cause spotting or brittleness. Acids don’t just come from your hands though. Acids can be in the papers and plastics that we use to store photos so you must ensure that anything you use for storage is acid-free. This can be through the use of plastic slip covers or paper. Photos that are stored in boxes should be separated with acid-free paper so that they can’t stick to each other. In handling make sure that your hands are clean and that you hold your photos by the edges to minimize harmful effects. You should also be sure not to use items like paper clips, rubber bands, or anything sticky on your photos. Don’t store your photos in a manner that they receive strong light, as this can cause fading.

Framing can be a great way to preserve your photos as well with just a little care. Make sure to use UV-absorbing glass as this will reduce any fading from light. Be sure to use acid-free paper both to border and to give backing for your photo. When looking for an area to place them, avoid vents and radiators. This will allow you to protect as well as enjoy your photos for years to come.