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Defend Your Photos

Once you bring your photos home from the photofinisher, they face a host of enemies. Left undefended, they will crack, fade and discolor long before their time. But, with a few simple defenses, your photos can last for generations to come.

The Enemies

Light

Light is the number-one enemy, causing photos to fade. While sunlight and fluorescent light are the worst culprits, even the average light in a room will cause fading.

Extreme temperatures

High temperatures attack the photo’s emulsion, which is the layer that holds the image on your photos.Temperatures that fluctuate between hot and cold, such as in your attic, cause the emulsion and paper to expand and contract, in turn causing cracking and flaking.

Humidity

Damp or moist conditions will cause mold to grow on your photos and provide the perfect environment for other microorganisms to attack the emulsion.

Acid & Lingin

Found in paper, acid and lignin cause paper to yellow, crumble and deteriorate over time.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Many plastics contain PVC, which can break down and emit a gas causing your photos to stick to the page, discolor, fade and rapidly deteriorate.

The Defenses

Keep photos in the dark.

Store photos in the dark, and consider making copies of photos you plan to display in frames.

Keep photos cool and dry.

As a rule of thumb, a photo’s life span doubles for every 10-degree drop in temperature.

Keep your hands off them.

Handle photos by their edges, or wear lightweight cotton gloves. Also, avoid using clips or binders that can scratch the emulsion.

Use archival materials.

The majority of the scrapbooks, albums, adhesives, pens and papers at Archiver’s are acid- and lignin-free. Our plastic sleeves are PVC free and safe for your photos and memorabilia. By stocking only products of archival quality, we’ve taken the worry out of choosing materials for your photo preservation projects.