There’s nothing sadder than digging through old boxes of photographs to find old family photos and discovering that pictures have been damaged. Damage can occur from exposure to moisture, sunlight, dirt or humidity. Losing these images to the elements is especially heartbreaking when they are of sentimental value and have no extra copies. Learning how to store your photographs properly is a valuable skill to have, and with these easy steps, it won’t be too difficult to learn.
Start by storing your photographs in a temperate controlled environment, away from humidity and sunlight. Don’t place them in a garage, an attic or in a damp basement. Humidity causes photographs to stick together and develop mold. Sunlight distorts color and dries up pictures, making them brittle. It’s a good option to store photographs inside of the house, under a bed or in a hallway closet.
Place the photographs in PVC-free albums or in photo boxes. The sleeves from the albums will separate the pictures while keeping them safe from light and moisture. If using an archival photo box, make sure you store the photographs upright and don’t jam pack the box full of pictures. This will also keep them from sticking together.
Another great option for photo storage is to place your favorite into rectangular shadow box frames with other sentimental mementos like antique lace or dried flowers. They can also framed in large oval frames or underneath domed glass for an elegant and casual display.
If you are trying to repair damaged photographs, use a quality scanner and scan the photographs, saving them as a TIFF file instead of a JPEG. You use then use a digital photo editing program to crop out bad areas, restore any lost color and to fill in any scratches or tears. Print the image on glossy photo paper and enjoy.
If the photographs need to be restored manually, use a baby wipe to wipe away dust. If images are stuck together or stuck to a glass frame, aim a hairdryer set on a low setting to the back of the photo for a few minutes. If there is discoloration, heavy scratching or deep residue on the prints, then it may be time to use a professional photography restoration company. There are many of these services available online.