Do you have old photos of your loved ones that you would like to store in good condition for years? Well, of course you do. Everybody has photographs they cherish. This especially applies to older, vintage photos from our childhood, or the childhood of our parents. Relatives and family friends who have passed away can be remembered through these images. Unfortunately, old paper photos can be easily damaged. But there are certain ways to help them shine for years. This article discusses the most effective methods to prolong the lives of precious memories.

The delicate nature of vintage photographs

Print photos are easily susceptible to damage. They are responsive to many physical conditions.

Damage can occur to your vintage photos regardless of whether they are antique Victorian shots, or family images from the 1980s and 1990s. All photos developed on traditional photographic paper will deteriorate with time. What can be done to prevent this deterioration?

5 ways to preserve vintage photographs for future generations

  1. Controlling humidity in air. The air in which your photographs are stored affects them and how long they last. A high level of moisture can create the growth of mold, make your photos stick to each other causing tearing and damage, or it can cause photographic boards to warp. The lack of humidity can cause brittles and cracks. Try to avoid storing your images in your cellar or attic. These places can be either very damp or very dry. Do not store your photos in a kitchen or bathroom either. Try to avoid hanging them on north facing walls as these are often colder than other walls. Also, do not store them at floor level.
  1. Changes in temperature and storing at a high temperature. Try to store your vintage photos in a cooler part of your home, not in damp areas as stated above. A higher temperature will lead to your photos falling apart, and it also incubates many insects that will happily feast on your images. Try to keep them as cool as possible without leading to damp conditions. This will help preserve your precious photographs.
  1. Digitally scanning and upscaling images. Perhaps the best way to preserve treasured and delicate images for future generations is to create digital copies of the photos. Most all-in-one printers are low-cost and feature a digital photographic scanner. It may take a few hours to digitize a large collection, but the benefits are incredible.

    Not only will you be able to view digital versions, but you will have the ability to post these memories on social media or websites, and use them within any digital or physical design elements you create. By utilizing an online photo upscaler, you can enhance the quality of these old images to be in line with your digital photographs. The flexibility and durability of this method make it an extremely attractive prospect.

    You can use many types of software to digitize your photograph collection, from free apps to more expensive ones. PC Magazine has a whole article dedicated to methods of digitizing your old pictures.
  1. Keep your vintage photos away from direct light. Light, in particular bright sunlight, is a nemesis to old photographs. The original method of creating these photographic prints in the past included light, but prolonged exposure to light can cause the photos to lighten and fade. This slowly destroys photographs.

    Light that is high in the ultraviolet spectrum damages your precious photos more than other types of light. So, it’s better to avoid fluorescent lamps. You can store your photos in boxes, therefore in darkness, or you can also fit ultraviolet filtering glass to your photo frames. Unfortunately, light can make photos brittle, and this damage is irreversible.
  1. Keep away from chemicals and pollutants. A pollutant, in relation to the preservation of photographic images, can be skin cells, hair and fibres, dust, as well as pollen spores that cause abrasion, attract dirt, insects, or mold. They can also be particles from aerosol sprays. Micro-fibre cloths and vacuum cleaners can be extremely effective at removing dust.

Conclusion

Beautiful works of art and priceless family memories can be found in vintage photographs. However, they need to be properly cared for and stored in order for future generations to cherish and appreciate them as much as we do.

Following the advice above will extend the life of your precious photos, and scanning them will also prepare them for a variety of uses . Vintage photography is a tangible connection to the past that needs to be preserved.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.