Keep Your Pictures Perfect

By Maureen A. Taylor
June 22, 2009
Keep Your Pictures Perfect

Treasured family photographs will last for generations if they are handled properly. Here are some tips on how to preserve your photographs:

  • Storage areas should have a relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent and a constant temperature no higher than 70°F. (Basements, attics, and garages are not suitable.)
  • To minimize fading, limit exposure to light, including photocopying.
  • Keep photographs where pests such as mice, silverfish, and termites can not have access.
  • The best containers and albums are either acid-free or of archival quality; cardboard, wood, and plastic containers emit gases that are potentially harmful to photos.
  • Use only polypropylene or polyester plastic sleeves; avoid polyethylene.
  • Avoid acid-containing or gummed paper folders or envelopes, such as those made from brown kraft paper, which can stain images.
  • Do not bind photographs with rubber bands or paper clips, which may cause stains or indentations.
  • Handle photographs by the edges and wear white cotton gloves.

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
–Eudora Welty, American writer (1909–2001)


Adapted from "Preserving Your Family Photographs" (Betterway Book, 2001)

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