Tips: Caring for and Storing Photographs to Maintain Quality

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Damaged Photograph
Damaged Photograph

A photograph can be very valuable because of the image that it depicts. It may be of a once-in-a-lifetime moment or of a time and place you once loved. But over time, the aging process of a photograph is inevitable. If not stored correctly, a photo can be damaged over time and you may lose a very important memory.
Below are tips you can apply to your photograph collections to keep them highly durable:

1. Do not expose your photographs to direct sunlight.
Because UV rays in sunlight can fade the color and damage the photo or the frame. The easiest way to avoid this is to keep them away from windows or doors. If that’s not possible, you can lessen the damaging effects by keeping the photos behind a layer of glass or acrylic that has a layer of UV. Though this does not protect the frame from damage, it lessens the damaging effects of excessive UV rays from the sun.

2. Avoid storing them in high humidity.
Moistures can cause problems such as onset blotches on photos due to the forming of mold. To avoid that, refrain from hanging photos on areas with high levels of moisture like the sink or the bathroom. To lessen moisture, you can also use a moisture absorbent sold in most supermarkets. One trick you can apply is to layer the back of the photo with a tissue or newspaper before covering it with the back of the frame. Don’t forget to periodically check and clean the frame and photograph.

3. Be careful when using glass cleaner on photo frames.
Glass cleaners, especially the spray-on kind, can cause damage when the cleaner solution manages to get into the gaps of the frame and comes into contact with the photo. Before cleaning a frame with a glass cleaner, it’s best to remove the photo from the frame. Or you can lessen the chance of it getting onto the photo by first applying the glass cleaner solution onto a cloth and wiping the frame with the moistened cloth.

4. Do not stack photo frames.
And especially when storing. This can damage the frame because of possible friction.

5. Wrap photo frames in cloth or paper when about to move or carry them.
This is to protect the photo and the frame from any damage due to friction when it comes into contact with other surfaces.

6. Keep photos in stable temperatures.
Don’t store photos in environments with constant fluctuation of temperatures, like the kitchen or basement. Very high and very low temperatures, and also excessive moisture, can damage photos; so avoid storing them in such places.

7. Store images from your digital cameras in a CD or DVD.
And don’t forget to store those Cds/DVDs in a specialized CD case and label them describing its content. Don’t store photos in a portable hard disk or a flash drive because they are more likely prone to damage than DVDs or CDs.

8. Periodically backup or duplicate your digital photo collections.
If necessary, backup in multiple place that’s easily attainable. Better yet, keep them in cloud computing storage spaces (iCloud or Dropbox) or media storage spaces on the Internet such as photobucket, flickr or email attachments.

9. Laminate your photos in plastic layers to prolong age.
Typically, large sized photos like for wedding photos have been coated with a doff or glossy plastic layer. But if not, ask the printing/photo studio to coat the photos if you consider them important.

10. Keep photos in photo albums.
This will allow you to group photos according to timeline and can maintain quality because it won’t come into direct contact with bare hands.

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