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How to Store Old Photos and Take Care of Precious Memories

Nothing gives life to memories like precious photographs. Old photos tend to make us nostalgic and stir up the best of feelings within us. They tell stories of who we once were, where we have been, or the things we love(or sometimes even hate). If you have photos that you are trying to preserve yet are desperate to correct them, you may have to digitize them before storing them. This way, you can quickly alter your photos with the help of photo editing software. You can even remove stray hair from photos and make them much more glamorous!

So you have an album full of photos or a couple of shoeboxes laden with decades of memories in the form of pictures. It may be hard to preserve them all when stored in this manner. Luckily, you could use several storage methods to ensure your photos are safe from destruction of any kind. Although some of them are rather tedious, they could save you the devastation of losing all your precious memories. 

How to Preserve Your Old Photos

Go Digital

If you want to ensure your photos are timeless and will last decades to come, perhaps you should digitize them. You can do this by scanning the picture you intend to store and saving them in their digital format on a device of your choice.

You can categorize these photos in numerous ways since there are many digital album applications that you can use today.

Another advantage of digitizing photos is that you can easily enhance them with modern filters to give them a new authentic feel while still maintaining your memory’s originality.

What’s more, you could edit the contents of the photo in whatever way you deem fit. For instance, you can use a skin toner and make yourself look slightly different. 

When dealing with a vast collection of photos, it is best to seek the professional services of digitization companies. This way, you can quickly digitize without the worry of losing the quality of your pictures.

If you choose to digitize the photos by yourself, ensure that you use high-quality equipment that will not interfere with your picture resolution quality. 

Use a Dark Room

If digitization is not your ideal solution and you prefer to keep your hardcopy originals, then ensure you find yourself a dark room or cabinet to store your memory collection. The science behind this tip is that when photos get exposed to light, the days used to color the pictures in question disintegrate, leading to a faded effect on the image. Therefore, the longer your photo is exposed to light, the higher its chances of fading away.

If you can not find an entirely dark room to dedicate to this purpose, perhaps you could improvise by finding a light-proof container such as a wooden trunk. This may serve the purpose as well as ensure the mobility of your photos.

Use Self-Storage Units

Perhaps you live in a studio apartment or a house without an extra room in which you can safely shove away your memorable photos. In this case, you may find it helpful to rent a secure storage unit. Here, your photos will be safe and out of harm’s way while you enjoy every single free space in your tiny adorable house. 

The catch in this option is ensuring that your photos are not on the bare ground. This is because placing them on the floor may put them at risk of damage in case of a flood. So instead, you may want to fit your unit with wooden racks that will hold your storage boxes above the ground. This will also save your photos from the adverse effects of moisture from the ground. 

Use a Temperature and Moisture Controlled Room

When hunting for a storage room in your house, ensure you consider the room’s temperature and moisture levels. Go for a space that is free from excess moisture and high humidity levels. With this in mind, the basement is the worst place to store your old pictures. An attic is not an option either. 

Avoid places with intense temperature as they will only discolor your photos and make them less appealing than they are. For example, never store your photos near the fireplace or close to heat-emitting appliances such as the electric heater. 

Find a room that is both cool and dry. This will increase the chances of preserving your photo’s original look.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Perfect Storage

Temperature 

A cool temperature is the most ideal when it comes to storing photographs. Cool conditions tend to slow the degradation of both paper and ink and keep away insects that may damage your precious pictures. 

When looking for the perfect temperatures, steer clear of the attic since its high temperatures will do your photos no good. 

Handling Methods

It would be best to also think through how you will handle your photos whenever the need arises. For example, have it in mind that dirty or wet hands may damage your photo negatives. To avoid this, you should maintain clean, dry, and lotioned hands whenever you handle your photos. 

Labels

Before storing your photos, ensure you label them correctly and classify them based on their different categories. For instance, you could group your photos based on the dates, venues, or events in which they were taken. This will give you an easier time as you sift through the memories. 

It will also guide you any time you want to retrieve a photo. Rather than interfering with the entire stash, you will only pick the one that is relevant to your search. Consider it as a manual filter, just like the filters employed in search engines. Labeling will also ensure you remember the fine details of the photo, such as its context.

While labeling, be sure to use soft pencils or archival markers instead of ballpoint pens. Ballpoint pens exert negative pressure on the photo, leaving them in bad conditions. 

Moisture 

You have probably seen the impact that both high and low humidity has on paper before. In extremely high humidity, mold and other organisms may start to grow on your photos and leave them with ugly patches that will be far from flattering. On the other hand, extreme dry places are bound to leave your photos brittle and ready to disintegrate at any time. When it comes to humidity, it is best to find the best midground that will keep your photos safe from any damage at all. 

Lighting

As much as possible, ensure your photos are enclosed from direct light and especially the sunlight. Light is bound to fade your pictures and make them look much older, so find a dark space to act as your photo storage area. 

Containers

The containers holding your photos should be well suited for the job. They should be of the ideal size since a smaller container will only lead to the bending of your photos. To ensure their proper look, store your photos flat in an album. Never overstuff your album, only put in the required maximum number of photographs. This way, you will maintain the album’s shape and strength. To keep your album away from any adverse conditions, look for chemical-free, light-proof containers and arrange them inside. 

Ventilation 

Ventilation is another crucial factor you should consider while storing your photographs. This is because well-ventilated areas are more likely to combat mold growth, ensuring that your photos are clean and safe from degradation. However, it would help if you kept in mind that direct contact with ventilators or air conditioners may lead to unnecessary wear and tear on your photos. 

Helpful Tools in Digitizing Your Photos

Digitizing a whole pile of photos may seem rather scary and tedious. However, it gets much easier when you realize the worth of doing it. It not only saves on your space but also increases the safety of your long-cherished memories. So what are some of the tools you may need to get if you choose to digitize your photos?

Scanner

The primary tool you need when digitizing your photos is a scanner. Depending on the number of images you are digitizing, your scanner will range from affordable prices to outrageous prices. It is important to note that the price should not be your determinant on what scanner to get. Instead, be on the lookout for a high-resolution scanner and lose minimal quality from the photo you will scan.

If you already have a scanner at home or your office, voila! You do not have to incur additional costs.

Smartphone

If you lack a scanner and your budget can not support the purchase of one, then surely your smartphone must have a good camera. If so, then download a scanning app from your AppStore and use it in place of a scanner. If your camera quality is very high, you could even use your smartphone camera without an additional app. 

Computer

A computer is crucial to the digitization process since it will allow you t view the photos you have scanned, edit them and save them in the most appropriate format. Of course, you could use whatever computer is at your disposal, be it a desktop or a laptop.

Storage Device

Another essential tool is the storage device. You will need a device that will accommodate all the photos you intend to digitize. You could decide on whatever mode of storage depending on the pictures and the step you intend to take after digitizing these photos.

Cloud Services

Cloud services are by far an essential part of this process. This is because they offer backup services for the photos that you digitize, and this ensures they are safe and easily accessible across numerous devices at all times.

Preserving Your Digital Photos

Now that you have stored away all your old photos and probably digitized some of them, perhaps you are wondering what to do next. How do you ensure they are kept safe, secured, and easily accessible whenever you need them? 

There are several ways to ensure this; here are some of them.

Save Them to an External Drive

You can choose to save your photos on an external hard drive or opt for the more reliable Solid State Drive(SDD). Another option is the USB flash drive that will allow you easier portability of your photos and can be procured at a much lower price than the SDD. 

One of the best advantages with external drives today is that you can store large amounts of data f up to 1TB or even more. You can imagine how many pictures those are!

Save Them to Recordable Media

If you have a relatively smaller amount of pictures to save, perhaps you should consider recording media like CDs, DVDs, and even SD cards. They can be a great way to store your photographs. The only downside is the space capacity, limiting you or forcing you to create more than one recordable media. 

Archive Your Photos in a Cloud

This method is the simplest and best method to use if you are a busy or forgetful person. It allows you to set your preference on how often you desire to back up your pictures. Your device can then upload your photos in the frequency at which you decide. 

Devices today are equipped with several cloud options such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, which you can use for free or at a price if you prefer the premium option. 

Print them out 

You have probably shrugged this option off as soon as you read it. I mean, who prints out a thousand digitally available photos? However, printing out your digital photos may be the best way to preserve them in this era of uncertain digital security. You might wake up one day and lose all the images you have piled up in your cloud.

Imagine your joy if you had printed all of them out! Fortunately, printing photos today is not as expensive as it used to be. You can even print them yourself if you have a high-quality printer. So what are you waiting for? Create a hardcopy backup for yourself!

Store Your Photos in Multiple Libraries

As much as possible, try to back up your photos on several different platforms. This will give you some sense of security in case one of them fails or breaks down. In this case, you will remain with backup photos.

Never bank entirely on a single storage library because when you do, you might end up losing all your files whenever a problem occurs with that library. 

Saving photos in different libraries offer you a certain level of assurance. 

Your Photos Deserve the Best

Keeping your photos in their original state through decades is not easy. To achieve this, you may need to invest your time, energy, and even money. Although it may sometimes seem like too much hassle, remember that you can never relive such memories and your photos are the only evidence to show that it happened. 

Your old photos and fond memories deserve the best care you can accord for them to remain beautiful and enticing to behold. So do what you have to do to preserve those precious memories.

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