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Aug 30, 2016

Tips for Safely Storing Photos

It’s a digitized world, indeed, but many of us still have tangible photographs we treasure. These memories are precious and keeping them safe from damage is high priority for most people. If you’re nervous about storing your photographs, check out the following tips to learn how to preserve and protect them from deterioration.

Wear gloves

Using white cotton gloves to handle photographs is a fool-proof way to keep them safe. Human hands contain oils and salts that can damage photographs and leave lasting fingerprints. To avoid smudging a precious photo, purchase an inexpensive pair of gloves.

Temperature matters

The right temperature is absolutely crucial to preserving photos. High humidity found in basements and attics encourages mold and mildew, both of which can permanently stain and damage photographs. Fluctuating levels of humidity can cause photos to crack as the paper backing and emulsion absorb moisture at a different rate. Basements and attics are also at risk for flooding, which will obviously destroy photos immediately. A temperature controlled storage unit will keep your prized photos and memories safe at just the right temperature.

Use high quality boxes

Archival boxes might seem extreme, but they are truly the best way to keep your photos safe from harmful lingins—a byproduct of the paper-making process —and acids. When lingins aren’t removed they will eventually cause the photo paper to become acidic. You can purchase the safest photo boxes for storing prints and film from archival suppliers. Safe boxes pass the Photographic Activity Test, AKA PAT, a third-party test that uses accelerated aging to discover whether box or envelope will interact with the photos in any way.

Make Digital Copies

Although the whole point of physical photos is that they are not digital, it’s always wise to have a backup. Use your own scanner or visit your local photo-printing shop to easily make digital copies of your timeless photographs. Store digital photos in the Cloud, hard drives, USB drives, Google Drive, storage sites like Dropbox or Facebook albums to ensure that you’ll never lose a photo should something happen to those in storage.

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