Surprising Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Print Photos

print photosIf you’re like most people, you have a lifetime worth of photos stored in your home. While you may be in the process of digitizing print photos taken before the Digital Age, it’s still essential to preserve your photos.

While you may think you’re doing everything to ensure analog pictures last for generations to come, you may be surprised to learn about the following three factors that can damage your favorite shots.

Underestimating the effect of indirect light

Most of us are aware that direct sunlight contributes to a photograph fading over time, but indirect light can be a factor as well. Even a bright lamp can cause similar negative effects. To preserve the vibrancy of your photos, keep framed shots under UV blocking glass. While this may add to the cost of framing, you’ll be glad you made the investment. If the photo is special enough to be framed, it’s worth preserving. And of course, always make a digital copy of framed photos.

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Like to keep snapshots on the fridge? Keep in mind these will fade and curl fast. And remember, if you need help restoring an old photo that’s showing signs of damage, we can help!

Storing precious memories in the basement or attic

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The ideal environment for extending the life of your photos is one that’s dark, cool and dry. While attics and basements may be the perfect place to store old clothing or toys, it’s not good for photographs. Depending on where you live, basements can get too humid and are subject to flooding, while attics get hot in the summer if they don’t have climate control.

Instead, store your keepsakes on a bookshelf in your home. When it comes to print photos, the cooler and dryer, the better.

Keeping photos in cheap photo boxes or albums

Acid is a photo’s worst enemy. It interacts with the chemicals used to create the image and can ruin it. For this reason, we recommend you avoid storing photos in cardboard boxes, traditional envelopes, or cheap albums. This goes double for materials made from vinyl. Specialty stores carry acid-free albums and photo boxes that will ensure your prints last.

Other surprising acidic culprits include newspaper clippings, adhesives, and even the ink from a pen or marker. If you need to write on the back of a print, use pencil instead.

While taking good care of your photographs can help, no method is perfect. All prints will likely fade and change in color over time; the older the photo the more sensitive it will be to the elements. For this reason, digital copies are essential to ensuring the longevity of your family’s history.

If you’re ready to transform those analog memories into digital keepsakes, contact us today. We can help you create a digital file of your photos before wear and tear damages the images.