How To Preserve Print Photos

Memories may fade over time, which is why we treasure photos. How many of us remember visiting an older relative and seeing walls of framed portraits from graduations, weddings, and other events? How many photo albums do our parents own from past family vacations? These days it’s easy to snap pictures on our phones, but print photos from the past are a great reminder of people no longer with us and places we visited and hope to see again. Naturally, we want to preserve them for future generations.

Scanning old photographs into digital files is one way to keep such images safe, but there’s something to be said for hanging onto print copies. If your parents and grandparents were active “shutterbugs,” it’s important to properly store pictures to keep them from tearing. Print photos may fade over time, but how they are stored can help determine their lasting quality.

Use the Right Box

Your first instinct may be to keep all the loose family pictures in the shoebox in which you found them. An article in the New York Times about print photo preservation discourages this practice. Boxes that contain dyes can potentially damage a photo. 

With the photos you want to keep, place them in a box made with acid-free materials. You may also want to augment storage with acid-free plastic sleeves to keep the photos free of wrinkles.

Re-Label if Needed

“Who’s this?”

“When was this taken?”

Check the backs of some of your photos. Has the handwritten ink faded? Of course, it’s a good idea to label each picture with as much information as possible. Pictures bring focus to the memory, but details provide context. Writing directly on the photo paper, though, is not the best practice.

White label stickers, with information written in pencil, may last longer. Printed sticker labels or index cards affixed to the photos will also work. The more you provide, the more future generations will appreciate what you left behind.

As for a good place to store your archival boxes… climate-controlled self-storage offers room and a secure and clean environment. At Eden Way Storage Center, our Chesapeake self-storage units can house practically anything, especially your most precious memories. Contact us today for availability and see if you qualify for our $1 first month discount.

Source: The New York Times