How to Store Old Photographs Properly and Avoid Damage, So They Last for Generations to Come

Printed photos are a valuable way to preserve memories, but they can be easily damaged if not stored properly. From fading to curling to discoloration, there are many ways that printed photos can deteriorate over time.

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In this article, we will discuss how to store printed photos and avoid damage, so that your memories can be enjoyed for years to come.

1. Avoid Direct Sunlight

One of the main causes of photo damage is exposure to sunlight. UV rays can fade colors and discolor the paper, causing your photos to lose their vibrancy and detail.

Examples of the photo damaged by the direct sunlight

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This is what your photo will look like. These types of photos are often very faded, blurry and have their colors shifted to red, yellow or green.

How to avoid this type of damage

To avoid this, it is best to store your photos in a cool, dark place where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight.

2. Keep Photos Away From Water

Water is another enemy of printed photos. Moisture can cause photos to warp, discolor and even mold. To avoid this, it is best to keep your photos away from water sources and areas of high humidity. Use airtight containers or plastic bags to protect your photos from moisture.

Temperature and humidity

Temperature and humidity can also have a big impact on the lifespan of your photos. High temperatures and humidity can cause photos to warp and discolor, while low temperatures can cause them to become brittle and crack.

Example of photo that was damaged by water.

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This is a subtle example of how water damages photos, because these photos often look much worse, especially if they are not saved immediately after contact with water.

How to avoid this type of damage

To avoid these issues, it is best to store your photos in a cool, dry place. A temperature range of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity around 40-50% is ideal.

3. Use Acid-Free and Lignin-Free Products

Acid and lignin are two common chemicals that can damage photos over time. Acid can cause discoloration and fading, while lignin can cause yellowing and brittleness.

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Furthermore, acid-containing products frequently cause photos to melt and adhere to glass or plastic. As a result, if you try to take this photo out of its frame or album later, some parts will simply stick to the album or frame, effectively tearing them out of the original image.

How to avoid this type of damage

To avoid these issues, it is best to use acid-free and lignin-free products when storing your photos. This includes photo albums, photo boxes, and photo storage sleeves.

4. Store Photos Vertically

Another important factor to consider when storing printed photos is the orientation. It is best to store them vertically, as this will help prevent curling and warping.

Here is an example of what may happen if you will store your photos piled up on top of each other.

old and damaged image before photo repair example after photo restoration and colorization service example

Since this photo was stored in a regular box with many other photos on top, it accumulated many scratches, cracks, and dents over the years, potentially damaging other images in the same box.

How to avoid this type of damage

You can use photo albums or photo boxes that are designed to hold photos vertically, or you can create your own photo storage solution by using binder rings or other similar items.

5. Avoid high temperatures

Similarly to direct sunlight, which causes damage primarily through sunlight beams and temperature, it is still a good idea to keep the image away from high temperatures so that it does not crack or even degrade due to continuous heat exposure!

How to avoid this type of damage

Keep your photos away from heaters, stove and surface above stove, don’t leave them in the car, don’t put them directly under lamps

 

What to Do If Your Photos are Already Damaged

Firstly, don’t panic! We have a full article how to act when you accidentally damaged your photo. In case if it’s too late to save your photos from damage, don’t worry, there are still things you can do to at least avoid further damaging!

Try To Restore Them At Home

It strongly depends on the level of damage your photos have, but, in some cases you can restore your photos at home, using free digital tools and our step by step tutorial!

how to restore old photos at home ultimate tutorial

Here is very short version of steps you on restoring your photos for free, at home in 2024:

  1. Digitize your photos
  2. Transfer them to your computer
  3. Open Photoshop or Photopea (free analog of photoshop)
  4. Open your image in this software
  5. Crop your image using Crop Tool or Perspective Crop tool
  6. Create new layer on top of the original image
  7. Use Clone Stamp or Spot Healing Brush tool to restore damaged pixels with “healthy” parts of picture
  8. Pay special attention to facial details
  9. Use Curves Adjustment layer to improve colors and tones of your photos
  10. Remove any “suspicious” bright or dark areas of the photo with the help of Curves and Exposure Adjustment layers
  11. Save your PSD file
  12. Save and export image either as JPG or PNG
  13. Done

Again, we would strongly recommend you to read the full article if you need everything to be step-by-step!  

Get Professional Photo Restoration Services

Despite all the precautions, there may still be instances where your photos get damaged or deteriorate over time. In such cases, it is best to seek professional photo restoration services. These services can help to restore and preserve your photos, so that they can be enjoyed for years to come. Here we explain how to pick best photo restoration service in 2024.

 

Short Summary on How to Store Photos and Avoid Damage

Printed photos are a valuable way to preserve memories, but they can be easily damaged if not stored properly. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your photos will last for years to come.

To protect your old photos from damage remember to:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight and heat,
  2. Keep photos cool and dry,
  3. Use acid-free and lignin-free albums and photo frames,
  4. Store photos vertically,
  5. Keep photos away from water

These are few main advices that will ensure longevity of your old photos!

What Should You Do If Your Photos Have Already Been Damaged and Your Can’t Restore Them?

Here at Rememorie, we understand the importance of preserving memories. That’s why we offer a wide range of photo restoration services that can help to bring your photos back to life.

From color correction to image repair, our team of experts can help to restore and preserve your photos so that you can enjoy them for years to come.

Learn more about our services and to get a free personalized quote with our honest opinion on what can or can not be done today!

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