Important Tips for Preserving Your Photographs and Photo Albums

preserving photographsPhotos are a fragile thing. You need to protect them with photo boxes and other techniques. Photos that are properly maintained can last for a very long time especially if you store your photo boxes in the right place. Here are some tips for preserving photos even when decorating an album.

Acid-Free Sleeves

A good way to preserve your photos is to place them into individual acid-free sleeves. These are special clear plastic sleeves that do not contain the acids normally found in plastics and other materials. The sleeves will not damage the photos. They will protect the photos against dust and many other hazards. An added bonus is that the sleeves make it safe to handle even very old photos.

Use Only Archival Materials

You might want to do many things with your photos such as framing or creating an album. You have to be careful about what materials you use. Everything from water-based acrylic glues to normal paper can degrade a photograph over time. You need to use only archival materials. This means archival paper, adhesives and other mounting tabs. Archival materials will not hurt the photo since they are neutral.

Keep Photos Out Of Sunlight

Sunlight is one of the primary enemies of photographs. Do everything possible to keep photos out of bright sunlight. Do not hang pictures on walls or put them on tables where the sun hits. The best idea is to keep photos in folio boxes/image boxes that will block the sun. Even a few days of exposure to direct sunlight can fade colors and make the photo paper brittle.

Digitize Very Old Photos

Something to consider is digitizing your photographs. This is especially important for very old photos. This process involves scanning photos into a computer at a high resolution and saving the image file. Digitized images will last forever. You can share or reprint them as necessary. This is a simple way to preserve your memories.

Store Photos in Cool, Dry Places

Heat, humidity and moisture are all things that will degrade your photos over time. Store your photos somewhere cool and dry. The optimal temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The photos should not be near heat sources, water pipes or windows. Attics, garages and basements are some of the worst places for photos. Try to find an area that is consistently one temperature and humidity level.

Safely Decorating Your Photo Albums

You need to protect your photos even when decorating an album. You want to avoid placing writing or decorations directly on your photos. Keep writing, stickers or adhesives far enough away so that they will not bleed into the photo. Rubber stamps with water-based inks are a good way to decorate photo albums. Watch what is under a page when decorating. You do not want something to soak through a page onto the photo on the opposite side. Keep your album in a photo box unless you need it.

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