A picture may be worth a thousand words—but that moment frozen in time is priceless. The art of print photographs has been steadily declining since digital cameras joined the scene, but nothing has been as detrimental to photography printing than the smartphone. It’s not hard to see why when you consider that over 1.2 trillion pictures are taken every year with a smartphone. Years ago, you had to print your pictures to find out if there were any “keepers,” but now you can simply take another one…or 50. And thanks to social media and cloud storage, these memories can be stored digitally, if not physically.
But what about the pictures you, your family, your friends, and even your ancestors took the time to develop? The ones that only exist as a single photograph, with no way to recover if they’re lost or damaged? Those pictures need to be preserved properly today to stand the test of time tomorrow—here are five tips on how:
- Safety First. Avoid storing your pictures any place they would be vulnerable to things outside your control. Does your basement flood in bad storms? Is your attic home to the neighborhood’s critters? Don’t keep your pictures in potentially-hazardous places and risk losing them forever.
- Location, Location, Location. When stored improperly, your precious mementos can degrade over time. Photographs are printed on paper with ink and pigments, all of which need optimal humidity, temperature, and light conditions to retain their quality. In a humid environment, your prints are subject to mold and moisture, which can make ink run and cause them to stick to one another. Storage temperature should remain below 23 degree Celsius and stay consistent throughout the year. They should also be kept in a dark location to avoid fading, especially from UV and florescent lights.
- Be Positive About Negatives. If you’re lucky enough to still have the negatives to your pictures, consider them a valuable back-up method that can’t be recovered if treated improperly. You should always handle your negatives with clean hands, free of even lotion, and touch only the edges, as the natural oils in your skin can cause irreparable damage.
- Contain Your Memories. Whether you choose to collect your pictures in a box or display them in an album, it’s important to choose the correct type. Look for special photo boxes and albums that state they are acid-, lignin-, and PVC-free. Avoid using tape or glue, mounting to anything other than archival paper, using paperclips or rubber bands to hold together, storing in envelopes, and writing on the back of pictures.
- Go Digital. While having the originals of your pictures—especially ones that have been handed down generations—is the purest way to enjoy them, there’s nothing wrong with having a back-up system…or two…in place in case the worst happens. Scan your pictures into a secure database and also save the digital files to at least one flash drive, so you can enjoy access to your best memories no matter what life throws at you.
Now you understand how to properly preserve your cherished memories, but what if you don’t have the space to keep hundreds or even thousands of photographs? Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage for a safe, secure, climate-controlled solution to your picture storage needs.