Pictures are important things, this is something that is pretty much universally agreed upon. With pictures, we have been able to document incredibly important moments in our lives, from our wedding days to the births of our children to even the first steps that those children take. Without the ability to take pictures (now pretty much whenever we want to, thanks to the widespread usage of smartphones in the United States and beyond), much of these important moments would be lost to time and the decaying effect of memory.
And while some pictures are relatively casual and not necessarily all that important, some of your most important pictures will need to be taken care of with immense precaution to prevent decay and deterioration over the course of time. From storing them to hanging them up for display in your home, there are a number of things that you’ll need to keep in mind when handling your most prized photographs. In this article, we will start with how to care for photographs that you’ll hang in your home.
For particularly valuable pictures, it’s actually recommended that you keep the originals in a photo album binder or even in another form of picture storage (such as in portfolio boxes or even in photo envelopes) instead of hanging them up. For any valuable prints that you’d like to hang in your home, making a copy is recommended. And even so, there are precautions that can be taken to displaying them safely.
For one thing, keeping them in the right frames can make a big different, as UV filtering glass can prevent the pictures from fading thanks to exposure to sunlight and various types of fluorescent lights. In addition to this, safe mounting practices are also ideal, as is choosing the right type of mat backing and the like. Applying window film to your windows can also be a great way to protect your pictures from fading due to sunlight exposure, and doing so is hugely beneficial for the health of you skin as well, as it blocks out the vast majority of all harmful forms of light that can still make it through windows that don’t have a film on them.
If you decide to store your pictures in a photo album binder, there are different considerations that will need to come into play, though a photo album binder is likely a safer place for storage than your typical wall in any given home. Using acid free paper in any give photo album binder is typically ideal, as this acid free paper can last up to 200 years if it is cared for well. When we look at normal types of paper, however, we usually find that this is very much far from the case. Therefore, the use of acid free paper is hugely important to the longevity of your images as well as your photo album binder as a whole.
Storing your pictures and your photo album binder at the right temperature is another important component that should not be overlooked by any means. For instance, you don’t want the humidity of the place where your photo album binder is stored to rise too high, as this can actually lead to problems like mold growth and insect activity. If you keep the relative humidity below 65%, however, such problems will likely be able to be mitigated for the most part, if not entirely. If you keep the overall temperature of the room at or lower than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll further decrease the risk of insect activity and mold as well.
But you should also not let the relative humidity of the place where you are storing this photo album binder drop too low, either, as this can actually be just as damaging, if not more so, than letting it rise too high. If the relative humidity of any given space where your photo album binder is stored falls below 15%, in fact, you risk brittleness developing in your photo paper, which can, of course, shorten its overall lifespan quite considerably. Fortunately, simply monitoring the humidity of the room can negate this risk quite entirely.