Best Way to Store Photographs

By Shea Laverty
Proper storage, photo deterioration
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One of the ways we preserve our memories is through photographs, which when stored properly can survive for future generations to examine. No one method of storage is the best for everyone, but there are several good options for preserving your photos that may fit your needs. The most commonly used options are to store them digitally, put them in albums or store them in other containers.

Digital Storage

With digital photography having essentially replaced traditional prints, storing your photos digitally is a quick and easy way to keep them safe. Using scanners, you can also create digital copies of old prints and heirloom photos for archiving, using either your computer's hard drive or cloud storage to hold all the files. Digital storage does run the risk of losing your photos due to hard drive or computer failure, and cloud storage services aren't completely secure from intrusion.

Photo Albums

Photo albums have traditionally been the main means of photo storage, and for good reason. They are often build with durable exteriors to prevent damage to the photos inside, while using sleeves or pocketed pages to store the photos. These sleeves or pockets protect the photos from moisture, dust and harmful contaminants like skin oil that can damage the prints. Photo albums can be cumbersome though, and store a limited number of photos for the amount of space the album itself requires during storage. They can also be lost to incidents like fire or natural disasters. Albums are best used to store your favorite photos, with other means used to store the rest.

Folders, Envelopes and Plastic Storage Containers

Photos you won't be looking at often but still want to archive can be stored in for the long-term in folders, envelopes or plastic containers. Like albums, storing your photos in this way will keep them safe from most contaminants like moisture and dust. Depending on how often you handle the photos, placing them in plastic sleeves first may be useful to prevent deterioration. Once the folders, envelopes or sleeves are full, they should be carefully stacked in boxes or plastic containers and stored in a cool, dry section of your home.