CD Imaging

Taking care of your photo's

Photographs help to preserve memories of days gone by, and may be passed from one generation to the next. This is why protecting and preserving photographs is very important. Fortunately, there are more ways to store photos today than ever before. They can be kept physically in photo albums, or digitally on a computer, online, or on DVD.

What causes a photo to deteriorate?

Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and sunlight affect photographs more than any other factor. Changes in heat and humidity are especially bad for photos and may cause cracking and separation of the emulsion (image) from the support (paper base of the photo). Dirt, dust, and oils from your hands can cause permanent damage. You should handle prints and negatives along the edges to avoid fingerprints on the surface.

Temperature and Humidity

Store your photographs at low temperatures and low humidity. Generally speaking (for colour photos), the warmer the temperature, the faster the colours will fade. Most photos will store well in your house between 50 and 75 degrees F.

If you’re looking to store your photographs for decades to come, keep them in a proper storage container and put them in a room with a relative humidity of about 50% and a temperature below 35F. The general rule for both humidity and temperature is “the lower, the better” Find a cool, dry room in your house to put the pictures in that does not get a lot of light and doesn’t fluctuate a lot in temperature or humidity. Exposure to light will quickly fade them especially sunlight. Don’t store photographs with newspaper clippings, as the acid in the paper will damage them. If you want to pair a photo with a newspaper clipping, it’s best to photocopy the clipping onto acid-free paper.

Do not write on the back of your photos with standard ball-point or felt-tip ink pens. Unless it is marked specifically for use on photos, most ink contains acids which will eat away at and stain your photos over time. If you need to mark a photo and don't have an acid-free photo marking pen available, then write lightly with a soft lead pencil on the back of the image. Also do not use any kind of adhesive label (the chemicals in the adhesive will cause problems).

It’s advisable to have some form of back up (negatives or photocopies) in case your photos are destroyed. Negatives should be handled very carefully.Damaged photo Avoid getting your fingerprints on them and follow the same storage rules as for photos—keep away from light, heat and humidity. Consider photocopying your photos or scanning them into a computer, if you don’t have the negatives. Be aware that excessive photocopying or scanning can damage photos, as the process involves both light and heat. Store your negatives or other backups separately from the originals so that they aren't likely to be damaged by the same event. These aren't always possible in a home environment, however, so if your photographs are especially important to you, you may want to consider storing them in a safe deposit box at your bank or have them scanned and store the digital back up online. Photo storage today includes several electronic alternatives. There is the option of online photo albums, which allows digital images to be uploaded and saved permanently on a web site on the Internet. The ability to store photos online means there is no fading, tearing, or losing a valued photograph. One of the advantages of online storage is that it makes sharing the photographs with friends and relatives an easy task. If the album is open to the public, the viewer simply needs to know the location of where they are stored on the web. Private albums allow the owner to grant access to anyone he or she wishes to view and download the images.
Along with the online albums, people may choose to store photos in a DVD photo storage format. Taking only a small amount of space, a standard DVD will hold a large number of photographs. It is even possible to create sections of chapters in the DVD photo album, making it easy to organize the photos for easy retrieval. Best of all, it is possible to copy the entire contents of the DVD onto another disk, making it possible to create a backup in case the original is ever damaged, or even to copy the album and pass it on to other people. With very little cost involved, the DVD photo album saves time, money, and easily preserves images that will evoke happy memories for future generations.

Luxury Photo album

So once you have had your precious photograph restored how do you keep it in pristine condition and stop it and any other photographs you may have, from deteriorating again? Follow these guidelines to properly store your photos and ensure they can be enjoyed for years to come.

  • Handle prints and negatives along the edges to avoid damage and fingerprints.
  • Store photos wherever possible in conditions that do not flucuate in temperature and humidity and out of direct sunlight. Consider storing important photos in a safe deposit box at your bank or at an alternative location.
  • Do not store your negatives in the same place as your photographs. If something happens to your photos or albums, your negatives should still be available to reprint your treasured family memories.
  • Do not write on the back of your photos with standard ball-point or felt-tip ink pens. Unless it is marked specifically for use on photos, most ink contains acids which will eat away at and stain your photos over time. If you must mark a photo and don't have an acid-free photo marking pen available, then write lightly with a soft lead pencil on the back of the image.
  • Sunlight will cause your photo to fade. Consider using a frame that uses anti-UV glass to filter out damaging light and position them away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid cheap photo albums and paper and plastic storage products that aren't specifically made for storing photos. Use only lignin free, acid free, unbuffered paper for storing photographs or as interleaving paper in albums. Use only PVC-free plastics such as Polyester, Mylar, Polypropylene, Polyethelyne and Tyvek.
  • For long term storage consider using purpose made storage boxes or alternatively for digital media store on a seperate hard drive, DVD or use one of the many online facilities on offer.