Five Tips for Preserving Your Printed Photos

Five Tips for Preserving Your Printed Photos

Today kicks off the start of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week. Libraries across the country, including the Library of Congress, hold events highlighting what we can do to care for our personal collections and support preservation efforts in libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies. I’m here to give you some tips on how to preserve your printed photos. I know you’ve got them all over your house, in envelopes, albums, boxes, and bins. You’ve got them hidden away in the attic. You’ve got them in a dusty corner of your basement. Here’s the bad news: those aren’t safe places to store your photos. Here’s the good news: you can move them!

How To Preserve Your Photos In Five Steps:

  1. Store your photos in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. No damp or humid areas, either. So that eliminates the attic and the basement. Closets on the main living floors of your home tend to be good options.
  2. Use acid-free materials to store your photos.  Acid can cause photos to deteriorate over time. You can find sleeves, boxes, and albums at most craft stores. I can also point you in the right direction if you need help!
  3. Handle photos with clean hands! You may even want to use gloves for your oldest and heirloomiest (I just invented that word) photos. Oils from our fingers can damage photos.
  4. Don’t use adhesives on the backs of photos. Tape and glue can damage photos. You can also tear your photos attempting to remove them from whatever they’re stuck to. Put your photos in albums with acid-free sleeves, or even use photo corners!
  5. One of the most important things you can do to preserve your photos is to make copies! You can make digital copies and back them up to an external hard drive or to the cloud. You could even make printed copies and then store them in a separate location.

How can *you* preserve your photos? Do you need to get them out of your attic? Are you worried about the photos in those weird sticky albums? If you have any questions about how to preserve your personal photo collection or you want to know more about my scanning services, you can always email me –


Posted in
Margaret Belanger Photography | Five Tips for Preserving Your Printed Photos

Meg Belanger