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Turn the moments into memories correctly storing photos

The albums with family photos are one of the most expensive family treasures. Nevertheless, treatment and maintaining them in good condition is by no means a simple matter. Knowledge of the rules of storage will prolong the life of photographs and help to preserve the memory of important events of your life for many years. Therefore, you just need to watch over the proper storage of photo albums, in the video below “Preserving Old Photo Albums Video” will be given the very first tips and rules for storing albums, but let's talk about if you have just old photos that should immediately be taken to the workshops, offering photo restoration services or to scan them, so as not to lose the pictures dear to the heart.

As you can see from the video, the photo albums and photographs are best preserved in an atmosphere comfortable for a person: not too cool, not too hot, not too wet and not subject to sudden fluctuations in temperature or humidity. This means that garages and cellars are the most inappropriate places for the photographs.

The best way to store the photo albums is a sealed case made of high-quality plastic. If it is a question of long storage, then this type of case will better protect the albums from atmospheric influences than cardboard boxes, even if they have a label “for archival storage”. If you know how to store old photos and albums, you should be sure that boxes or albums with plug-in transparent pages should not contain PVC materials.


The photo albums care

If the photo albums are more than 50 years old, then the quality of the photos in them has significantly worsened. The battered photo albums themselves are an expensive reminder for those who lovingly collected and placed photos in them. Keeping the album in its original form, you save for posterity the whole era of your family history. Older albums are easiest to store in a special box labeled “for archival storage”. If the albums are damaged so much that they require repair or replacement, then follow the recommendations below. If you are in doubt as to how best to do this, contact a photo storage specialist. 

If the photo album as a whole is in good condition, but has one or two damaged pages, then replacing or repairing these pages is the best way out. Simple repairs using properly selected materials can prolong the life of the album. If you cannot or do not want to repair yourself, contact a restorer or a bookbinder.


Encapsulating the album pages is a more complicated process, used when you want to remain the album pages intact, but there is a danger of their deterioration. The essence of the encapsulation process is that the restorer glues each page between two sheets of mylar-D film. As a result, the album page will be protected from the effects of the atmosphere and careless handling. The encapsulated pages can later be rearranged in the album at yours and sole discretion. 

If the album collapsed enough to stop protecting photos from damage and if it is made of materials that adversely affect the photos, then the photos should be transferred to a new album. If the photos are so firmly attached to the pages of the album that they cannot be deleted without damage, and then such an album can be taken to a photo studio where each photo of the album will be photocopied, each studio has its own accumulated base of the photo restoration samples – which are the scanned images of others of people. From the received copies of photos you can make a new album. The original album and the new album should be stored in special archive boxes.


Over the past two decades, two types of plug-in pages have appeared for photo albums that are NOT recommended for use in storing photos. Each of these types of pages may, in time, partially or completely destroy the image in the photographs. 

• The pages for albums on an adhesive basis.

The pages of the first type are called “magnetic” or “magic”. These pages are made of hard cardboard and have a transparent film with an adhesive latex strip. To place photos on this page, it is necessary to lift the transparent film, place the photo on the cardboard page and close it with a film. The adhesive strips used for pages of this type, eventually turn yellow and often cause the appearance of yellow stripes appearing in the photographs. Finally, after a few months the adhesive strip becomes so hard that the photo cannot be removed from the page without the risk of tearing it apart.


• The pages with pockets made of polyvinylchloride (PVC).

Not all plastic pages for photo albums spoil photos. However, pages from PVC show a clear tendency to spoil the image on the photographs. Recognize the pages with pockets of PVC-material can be by smell. To many, this smell resembles the smell of a new beach child's ball or a shower curtain. After several years the PVC material begins to decompose with the desorbing of the chemical components that make up its composition. These greasy or sticky substances can cause the appearance of stained spots in the photographs. In addition, this often leads to the gluing of photographs with the material of the pockets, as a result of which it is impossible to remove the photo from the pocket.


If the photos are stored on the pages of the album under adhesive tape or in pockets of transparent PVC film so that they can be peeled from the page or taken out of the pocket – do it by all means and place the photos in safe photo albums following the tips given below. 

1. Before removing the photos from the old albums, you need to prepare new albums for taking photos. You cannot save photos by taking them out of damaged albums and leaving them unattended on a desk or in a desk drawer. Here you can contact the services of retouchers or photo restoration workshops, “Gear you need to start retouch old photographs”, and your new old photos will revitalize and decorate an album that you can proudly show to your parents and leave it to the memory of your children and grandchildren.


2. Often on the reverse side of the photos there are inscriptions that indicate who and when taken in the photograph and where the picture was taken. This information should be copied for each photo and placed in a new album under the appropriate photos. In the future, when viewing an album, there is no need to get out of the pockets the photos with text on the reverse side to find out who is pictured or where this picture was taken. 

3. To fix photos on the album pages, use only the mylar corners (mylar-D). NEVER USE the usual household adhesive tapes such as “sticky tape” as well as rubber glue or aerosol adhesives. They can cause rapid destruction of the photos and the album pages. 

4. When placing the photos on the pages of a new album, try to keep the original chronological order in which they were located in the old album. Knowing the details of how to organize and store old photos, then you can tell a lot about people shown in the pictures and give additional information about family relationships.


Ordinary tips how to shop old photos

The photos have always been and, most likely, will be the main means of preserving memorable moments for a long time. Today, in the era of digital technology, it's easy to store photos: on different media, in cloud storage, on specialized sites. And what about the photographs taken twenty or fifty years ago?

Of course, they can simply be inserted into the album, and for some time they will retain their quality. But we must remember that the state of old, and even more ancient photographs, deteriorates over the years, and eventually they can be lost completely. That's why it's so important to properly archive and storing photos.

Of course, it is extremely difficult to provide your home photo archive with the same storage conditions as, for example, in libraries or archives. But there are some simple tips that will extend the life of photos. 


Tip #1: The photos should be “clean”. Before creating a photo archive, make the revision of the photos. Remove from them everything that can be attached: stickers, paper clips, clips, remains from the “corners” for photo albums or other photographs. 

Tip #2: Mark your photos. About 20-30 years ago, the marking of the photo (the designation on the back of the site, the date of the photographing, and the listing of the persons photographed in the photo) was common. Gradually this useful habit disappeared. But it is very vain. After all, very often we hardly remember the names of distant relatives depicted in the photo. Therefore, after picking up the photos, write on the back: when the picture is taken, in what place, who is depicted on it, what moment of life is imprinted. For this purpose, it is best to use a soft pencil (4 or 6B) or, in extreme cases, a marker. Do not use a ballpoint pen, because it will squeeze the photo paper and leave a mark on the front side. But some people do not advise writing something on the photo, it's better to sign on the page of the album or on the envelope. 


Tip #3: Choose the right album. For storage of a home photo archive it is best to take the specialized albums, we wrote about it above. They must be made of acid-free paper. As a rule, it is designated as: Acid-Free or Archival. When choosing an album, pay attention to the standards. The albums with thick sheets that are familiar to us are bad because the plastic, paper and glue contained in them can cause with time a great damage to the photos. The modern albums with magnetic sheets or plastic pockets will not suit because the film that comes into contact with the top layer of the photograph, if stored incorrectly, can become stuck and damage the picture. It is desirable that between pages in the album there was thin transparent paper and then you can preserve old photos from gluing.


Tip #4: Use Envelopes. In addition to albums, you can use paper envelopes to store photos. Paper envelopes for a photo archive must have a certificate of passing a photographic activity test (PAT), which determines the safety of the material when it comes into contact with a photographic image.

Tip #5: Make copies! If you have old photographs or even just photographs that you especially value, make copies of them. It is best to scan the original in high resolution (300dpi) and save it in “Tiff” format, which is best suited for further processing of the photo. And for a virtual photo album you can save the same picture in the usual “jpg” format, which will allow store digital photos long term. 

Tip #6: Store the photo the albums vertically, not stack. This will prevent them from sticking together and provide ventilation.


Tip #7: If you like to hang photos on a wall, choose not the sunny side; otherwise they may burn out with time. To preserve old photos, use high-quality frames and glass.

Tip #8: The right conditions for keeping a home photo archive. It's best to keep photos in cool, dry, well-ventilated rooms. Do not store the photo archive in the basement, in the attic or next to the exterior walls of the building. The most optimal conditions for storing photographic images: temperature is not higher than + 20°C and relative humidity is about 30-40%. The photographic negatives are best stored at a temperature of + 10-12°C and a relative humidity of 30-40%.

Store your photos correctly, and they will return you to these magical moments, imprinted on them, again and again! 

What can harm the photos?


Unfortunately, the photos, like everything in our world, are not eternal. Many things can cause them irreparable harm. To avoid this, you need to know what can damage photos and how to store old photos in good condition.

First, it is ultraviolet radiation. Quite often the most favorite photos are placed in a prominent place in the house, on the desktop at work; they are often shown and, thus, exposed to sunlight. It is due to that the photos quickly fade and lose their original appearance. If you want to save a photo, and at the same time, see it every day, make a copy from it, and take the original to the proper place for storage. 

Secondly, it is chemical substances. Pay attention to the choice of container or photo box. The materials should not contain acid, adhesives, rubber, PVC and other substances harmful to paper. Avoid the boxes of colored paper; it often contains unstable dyes and ink that can spoil the picture. Fresh paint and cleansers also release hazardous substances for photos, with harm only visible over time. Do not use glue and various adhesive tapes such as scotch when storing the photo.


Thirdly, it is the humidity and temperature. Low humidity leads to the fact that the paper base of the photo becomes very fragile and cracking of the emulsion layer occurs. High humidity is also bad, as it causes paper swelling and the appearance of mold. The main sign of high humidity: the photos are glued together. The photosensitive component that fixes the image consists of organic materials, including gelatin. This makes the photo susceptible to dampness and mold, especially when high humidity is combined with the elevated temperature.

Mechanical damage. Metal objects like clamps or clips can scratch the surface of pictures and negatives. Do not attach photos or store them with tools or the office incidentals. Bends or jams are inadmissible – this leads to irreparable damage to paper photos. 

Insects. Periodically check to see if there are insects in the photo archives. If necessary, treat the space near the containers, but do not allow chemicals or repellents to enter the container with the photo. 


If you follow these simple tips, then for many years you will keep happy memories and, probably, your photographs will tell your grandchildren and great-grandchildren in many decades how you lived, felt, rejoiced and dreamed about.

The ways to store digital photos long term

Summarizing, we can say that it is always better to store important photos in at least two copies. The easiest and affordable way to store digital photos long term is to transfer photos to DVD / CD discs. But it is more reliable to store copies of all the photos also on the Internet (in addition to the computer and disks). The computer can fail, the disks can be lost, and if you choose the right storage service for photos on the Internet, then you will have more chances that everything will be fine with safety. If there is a possibility to duplicate – do it. 


Scan the photos should be very neat and at the highest resolution, such cadres will be the most high-quality and clear, but their size can reach tens of megabytes. It is desirable to store your old scanned photos in two places: in the cloud and on electronic storage media (flash drives, hard drives, and disks), but in this case, the data will have to be rewritten after several years. Technologies do not stand still, and your media can become obsolete or may get lost. Therefore, think about all the ways and options how to organize and store old photos.


The most convenient way to store are the electronic storages – like Flickr, Google Photos, Amazon Prime Photos, Photobucket or ThisLife – but the services have a free storage limit, however for an additional fee you can add free gigabytes or disable advertising. And the nice thing is that such services offer the ability to group photos into albums that you create and sign you, in general, it is an excellent opportunity for the storing photos. But you need to be careful, because your precious pictures of relatives or your old photos can get into the network. Oh my God! These are the “Top funny old photographs” of the last century, we found ourselves on the Internet, and this is also someone's memory. Therefore, think about the restoration and scanning of your photos with trepidation and accuracy.


Let’s find out how to organize and store old photos

Someone said that “we all need memories to know who we are ...”. A wonderful opportunity to stop a moment, to capture a moment of happiness or joy, surprise or admiration is a photograph. In every house there are dozens or even hundreds of photographs: black and white, color, yellowed from time and glossy.

How to organize all this wealth? How to preserve old photos, we learned correctly above, but the photos should remind us of our moments in life, so you can use copies and restored photos so that they please you and your family. 

The most usual and convenient way of storing photos is a photo album. There are small and large, with magnetic sheets and simple pockets, now it is a huge selection of all kinds of the albums. The main thing is to sit down and arrange all the photos by dates or events. Sign when and where the episode was taking, captured in the photo. It can be a wonderful evening of memories for the whole family. 

Photo workshops offer to make a real book with a collection of your pictures. Of course, all photos cannot be turned into books, it is an expensive pleasure, but you can make a wedding or anniversary photo book. And it's also a great idea to do each year one large photo book of family events for the past year. 


The scrapbooking is a kind of handmade art, consisting in the manufacture and design of family or personal photo albums. Scrap album is a work of art! Each page of this album is a complete story, framed with postcards, clippings, drawings, decorative ribbons, buttons and the photos of course. Such albums are very nice to hold in your hands and look through. You can order such an album or make it yourself.

Photo Gallery: Your walls can become wonderful keepers of family memories. Now you can buy a wide variety of photo frames and decorate them with the walls of your house or arrange photo frames on shelves. 


And in order to have something to keep and organize, write down in your calendar or planner, a monthly (every two or three months) going to a photo shop, in which you probably will have discounts on photo restoration prices. Enjoy the photos and carefully store them!

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