Saturday, January 5, 2008

Caring for your photos

Nowadays we don't always print out our digital photos but we all have old photo albums or boxes of photos lying around. Some have yellowed with age. This is due to the acid in the paper, exposure to UV rays, or a combination of both. It might be difficult to see the detail in some because they are so far gone. Photo restoration services are available. I prefer to keep the photos that are slightly yellowed as long as I can make out the details.

First, you need to get these photos protected. Invest in some sturdy photo albums and sheet protectors. Most of the brand name plastic sheet protectors are acid free. You can purchase them at local supply stores. You can buy the photo albums and acid free paper stock at most craft and scrap booking stores. Many photo albums hold 8-1/2"x11" paper. Larger albums hold 12"x12".

I mount my photos on the acid free paper in 2 ways: glued to the page with non-permanent glue if there is no writing on the back of the photo and photo corners for pictures that do have writing on the back. My preference for glue is the Hermafix glue dots. They are applied with a dispenser and the glue is not permanent, allowing you to remove or rearrange photos. I like using photo corners for photos with writing on the back so the photos can be removed from the album to read the writing. The photo corners come in your basic clear plastic or you purchase more decorative ones. For me, the album is about the photos and other memorabilia such as certificate or coins so I don't like to add any of the scrap booking decorations such as labels, fancy photo corners, cutouts with funky scissors. It's up to you how you want your albums to look. Add comments/labels under/next to each photo. Be careful about using markers as they may eventually bleed into the paper and damage your photos or become illegible.

As you are creating your album, it's a good idea to get your photos scanned so you have a backup in case the original album is lost or damaged. You can scan the individual photos or scan the album page. Most scanners can handle the 8-1/2"x11" paper but if you have 12"x12" you may have to go to a place like Kinkos to get it done. They charge $1 per square foot (1 page) so it can really add up. I decided to invest in a large format scanner that can handle the larger pages. It cost about $1100 but I made most of my money back with the 3 photo albums I scanned. All of my family photo albums are online, on AOL Pictures, so I can share them with everyone. I also put them on CD and sent them out to the family so everyone has a copy. In addition, there is a copy of each CD in my safe deposit box at the bank.

I also printed off copies of some old photos to frame and have around the house. I took a copy of my parents wedding picture and copies of my grandparents wedding photos, found a rectangular frame, and display all 3 in one frame. I also make one for my dad and for each of my sisters.

Your albums should be stored in a cool, dry, place and should be laid flat.

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