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Using Photo Storage

All About Photo Storage

Even with modern materials and more durable types of photographic paper and other media, there is a definite science to photo storage. Unless archival photo storage is done properly, using the right kinds of clear bags and acid free storage boxes, chances are that your priceless non-digital images will deteriorate over time. Here, you can learn more about effective photo storage methods and materials that will ensure the long-term preservation of your valuable pictures.

It?s About Temperature

If you use photography frames, the ambient temperature of the location in which your photos are stored can have a tremendous effect on how well they keep. As you know from your school days, heat causes materials to expand, while cold causes them to contract. This can cause your photo images to warp, resulting in irreparable damage to the prints. By using photo corners on the mounting, prints are held in place, yet there is room to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature fluctuations; this will go a long way toward keeping your image prints in pristine condition.

It?s About Humidity ? pH Levels

Almost nothing will destroy photographic images faster than moisture and acidity. Without proper protection and the correct kind of archival storage boxes, water molecules will combine with acids contained in a wide variety of air-borne pollutants to destroy the chemical dyes and photographic paper upon which your image is printed. Clear bags ? which are also used to store valuable vintage comic books ? are perhaps the most effective solution to this potential problem, especially when used in conjunction with acid-free storage boxes. Such boxes are specially constructed with acid-free materials and are often treated with a special ?buffering agent? that raises pH levels and neutralizes any acidic compounds in the environment.

It?s About Light

It may seem counter-intuitive considering that photographic images rely on proper light levels for their creation, but the fact is that the same light that makes photography possible can aid in the destruction of the finished products. This is another reason that good quality photo storage boxes are important in protecting your valuable prints.

It?s About Framing

All of the information presented here regarding photo storage is also applicable to photography frames as well. The use of mat boards can allow the image to ?breathe,? preventing the accumulation and condensation of water vapor on the inside of the glass. Of course, if you are displaying your prints in photography frames, you?ll want to avoid placing them under direct light. Alternatively, you may wish to use special filtered glass or plexiglass to protect your images.

In general, what works for photo storage is effective in the preservation of framed photographs as well.