6 Tips for Storing Old Family Photographs

Do you like recalling memories by looking through your old family photos? Then you probably wonder how to preserve these valuable pictures for as long as possible. And we are here to help you. In this article, we are going to share a few useful storing tips with you. So let’s get started!

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

  1. Store Images Away from Light 

What can easily ruin a printed photo is direct sunlight. UV and fluorescent lights also break down antique photos with time. Storing photographs in a dark place is a key condition for long-term preservation which does not allow the ink and pigment to fade over time. 

  1. Keep Temperature Low 

Another important point is maintaining the low temperature in the room. Generally speaking, the degradation of both paper and ink gets slower if the temperature is low. Moreover, cool air will keep insects away from your family pictures. 

Most importantly you should avoid sudden temperature changes. For example, old printed photos won’t last long if you store them in a garage. If it is possible, choose a more temperature-controlled place.


  1. Avoid Moisture 

High humidity can also cause deterioration of printed pictures. The chemicals might be ruined by mould, decay, fungus, and other parasites. So the biggest mistake could be storing photographs in the basement. 

  1. Pick Suitable Photo Containers 

Once you figure out the conditions and choose the right place for storing your family photographs, find a proper container where you can keep them. There are two types of storage containers for photographs where we normally store them – photo boxes and photo albums. Basically, it is the right thing to do. However, quality matters the most. Unfortunately, most of the photo albums in stores are of rather poor quality. Many people buy cheap photo albums and boxes and regret it later since their photographs soon get ruined. Make sure the container you purchase can keep them safe. 

But are there any other options? Sure, and quite a lot to choose from. You can consider purchasing acid-free envelopes, bags, sleeves, or folders. Decide whether you need a transparent container or not and pick the size you need – and voila. 

  1. Display Photos Carefully

The way you display family photos is as important as the way you store them. Make sure your family members and guests cannot touch the images with their hands. No matter how clean they are, the old paper might get damaged even by the slightest touch. Still, it is possible in case you have special cotton gloves. 

 Moreover, you can purchase an antique frame suitable for the pictures’ style. But mind the place where you are going to hang it. Remember that it should be a dark room with little sunlight and a low level of humidity. Be sure there’s no risk of leaks and exposure to insects. For instance, you can place the antique photos in a dark corner in your living room away from the window.

  1. Regularly Check Your Images

A quick inspection of old printed photos can reveal problems that you should be aware of. Then you will be able to fix the pictures and avoid deterioration. In case the damage is significant, don’t hesitate to go to a professional conservator. 

And here are a couple of things you should NOT do:

  • do not use clips and rubber bands 
  • do not attach photos to albums with glue or tape 
  • do not store images in paper envelopes 

As simple as that! Now you know how to properly store your irreplaceable family photos so that they can last for decades: just keep them in suitable containers in your living space away from moisture, sunlight, and warm air. For more information, read about other ways and find out how to store old photos digitally. Now it is time to put this information into practice and take care of your photographs! 


Collaborative post.