Photo Storage & Organization Tips

It’s that time of year! Rolls and rolls of film are being processed and digital prints are plentiful!

During holidays, people pull out their cameras and take advantage of visiting family members, merry making with friends and all-round happiness. The resulting photos can bring back wonderful memories for years to come – but only if you take care to preserve them properly. Whether you have a little or a lot, take the steps necessary to keep your photos organized and picture perfect year after year!

As soon as your prints are developed, write the dateand event on the envelope.

Photo Prints – Organizing Tips:

The first step in preservation of photo prints is organization. The more organized your photos are, the easier they are to retrieve. The easier they are to retrieve, the lower the chance of damage due to improper handling.

Manila envelopes, folders, film developing envelopes, plastic baggies, corrugated boxes and shoeboxes are all unsafe storage options!

Acid, lignin and PVC will ruin photographs! Choose storage options that are labeled as acid free, archival safe, lignin free and are not made of PVC.

As soon as your prints are developed, write the date and event on the envelope so it will be easier to organize later. It would be better to go ahead and organize them sooner rather than later. The envelopes your photos come in from the developer are not safe for storage and photos left “for later” are usually left to be forgotten.

Separate the negatives from the prints. Negatives release acidic gases over time that can be damaging to your photos.

The simplest storage method is to store photo prints in photo safe pouches or envelopes in an acid free/archival safe photo storage box. Keep negatives in a separate box but just as well protected. The boxes should be kept in a cool, dark place.

If photo pouches are unavailable, individual photo boxes can be used instead. These rigid containers can easily hold an entire envelope of 4×6 photos. The clear front and back make identifying your photos easy. The boxes can be purchased individually or in a set with a larger single or double photo keeper.

For a large number of photos, you may want to consider the photo organizing system. It comes with acid-free tabbed dividers so you can easily keep track of up to 2000 4×6 prints. The reverse side can hold larger 5×7 and 8×10 photos as well as panoramic photos.

Digital Photo Organizing Tips:

Digital photos certainly don’t take up much space as their printed couterparts. However, people tend to take more digital pictures than they ever did on film. Unless you have some sort of organized system in place for them, you’ll have just as much trouble finding the image you need on the computer as you would of finding that snapshot of your senior prom!

Organizing your digital photos doesn’t take much time and it can save you a whole lot of headache later on.

Organize pictures first by year, then by date. Name folders on your computer “2007”, “2008”, 2009″ and so on.

As you move your photos from your camera to you computer, place each “set” of photos (those from a certain date) in it’s own folder under the appropriate year. Name these new folders by their date and event (i.e. “Dec 25 Christmas at Mom’s” or “Mar 24 Zack’s Party”). Having a short description with the date makes it easier to locate photos since events are usually remembered more than specific dates.

Create a back-up for each year of pictures on a CD-R, label, and store in a safe, cool, dry place. (CD-R CDs are recommended because they cannot be accidentally written over as is possible with a CD-RW. CDs are also less dense than DVD media which is more easy damaged and would require extreme care)

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