How to Care for your Photos

A sign on a wooden table

With the day and age of digital photos upon us, it’s important to remember how to care for your photos. Digital photography is actually just a stage of photography that makes it easier to use and store photos. It is best to get them printed and have your digital records as a back up. There is just something nice about having the real thing to be able to hold in your hands and share with your family and friends. So how do you care for your photos?

Protect them from the Elements

There are many different things that can damage photos including displaying them in light. Now a lot of people think this means direct sunlight which is very true but ultraviolet light can also reap havoc on your photos. It is best to make a copy of your photo for display and keep the original put away for safe keeping. Photos should be stored at around 70∞ F and humidity should be kept around 30-50%. What this means is you probably don’t want to store your photos in your attic or basement. Even in the main area of your household, temperature and humidity can fluctuate greatly.

Be Careful when you Handle your Photographs

Photos can become damaged just from handling them. Natural oils that we have on our hands can cause major damage to our photographs. You should wear white acid free gloves when handling photos. This may not always be possible in a normal world so make sure you wash and dry your hands well and only place your hands on the edge of the photo.

Never Use Ink on your Photos

It is always a good idea when dealing with photos to document who is in the photo and where it was taken. This can especially come in handy years down the rode when the person who took the photo is no longer here to tell us the story behind it. NEVER use ink when writing on a photo as it will bleed through and you will see it on the front of the photograph. Use a pencil on the backside of the photo and only on the edge. You will be able to record who is in the photo and where it was taken without tearing up the photo itself.

Create a Good Storage System

I know you have all feasted your eyes on those old photo albums that have sticky all over the page and you place the photograph on the page and flip the plastic piece over it to hold it in place. Have your ever tried to remove the photo from such pages? If you are lucky enough to be able to remove it from the album in one piece I would be surprised. If you were lucky enough to get it removed in one piece I can just about guarantee that the back of the photo is horribly sticky.

So now that we have figured out that we should never use self adhesive or magnetic storage systems, we need to find another way to store them. It’s crucial that you choose a quality album that has passed the Photographic Activity Test. If you are going to use plastic sleeves to store your photos, make sure you choose one that is not made out of PVC plastics as they can stick to the photo making it impossible to remove.

How do you care for your photos in your home?




  1. I have all my photos in a big box. I don’t have all that many anymore, though – most are just digital.

  2. I haven’t been putting photos in albums lately, just storing them in boxes. I do tend to leave them on the camera or computer for a long time though.

  3. My issue is I never have time to print the photos. I love having them all in books. Lately for special vacations, events etc. I have been using “Mixbook” to make special photo books.

  4. We don’t have many printed photos that aren’t framed, anymore. It’s pretty sad, actually. I used to love flipping through photo albums as a kid!

  5. I have most of my photos on memory cards.. I know I have to get them made, and now I know how to care for them.

  6. This is timely as this is an issue we are struggling with at home – what to do with our photos

  7. Great tips. Photos are fragile to say the least. It’s very hard to keep them from getting that faded, ratty look after a long time.

  8. I love this post! I learned the hard way about dating pictures using ink pens. Don’t do it!

  9. This is a great post, and boy did I need it! I have pictures that are only a year or two old, but you’d think they were my grandmother’s!

  10. Great tips!!! I don’t have too many printed photos but I really need to print more. All my old ones are started to show wear though.

  11. All of my childhood photos are in those sticky page albums with melted glue on the back. The rest of our physical photos are now all in a giant plastic storage bin!

  12. my hubby ruined so many of ours. he put them in the cold cellar I told him not to but he did and most of them have mildew on them. and all my vhs of the kids when babies totally ruined.

  13. I rarely print out photos these days and when I do, I wait for the free photobook offer from ShutterFly 🙂 But good tips, none the less.

  14. Some older photos yes we have ink on the back and yes you can see even the print kind of through the photos.
    Great article

  15. right now all my photos are in a large tote or all the recent ones on the computer still

  16. I appreciate the tips because I have a giant manilla envelope of my husband’s baby photos. I have to organize them and make sure that they are protected.

  17. My photos are literally everywhere! I no no organization for them at all! I need a good system!

  18. One word to describe my photo care: CHAOS! LOL! Organizing them has been on my to-do list for far too long! Thanks for the great tips and ideas. This might get me in gear to clean them up!

  19. Thank you for bringing up this subject. Mine are stuck together in a storage box in the humid basement. I hope that they are not ruined already! I have to get them out a cared for properly.

  20. These are some great tips. My photos are precious to me, and most reside in Acid-Free scrapbooks with protective page covers. Worth the investment in time and money

  21. They’re in boxes and in albums, but with the new ones, I’m really bad about having them printed

  22. When I do finally get them off the computer, I like to have them made into photo books. I try to do yearbooks (or base them on season or theme). I find they get looked at more often than a pile of loose pictures.

  23. What great tips… I really love looking through all the old photo books that my Mama put together and wish I had the time to do the same… these are great tips

  24. We try to keep photos organized and backed up on the cloud. Cheap storage on Google Drive has been a godsend! Otherwise we put photos in frames and only print what we need.

  25. Great information. I write the date and who was in the photo on an adhesive label and attach the label to the back of the photograph.

  26. I recently found a bunch of photos in a box and I cringed, hoping they were not ruined. I was lucky. It is so important to take good care of them.

  27. I’m a scrapbooker so I use all archival materials. This is one area of life I’ve got handled…the rest of it, I’m a mess. lol

  28. I have most of my photos scrap booked, albumed or in a box or framed. I had some in a basket and found them quite dusty, this didn’t do them any favours, so now they are in a closed box. Great tips! 🙂

  29. It’s been quite a while since I’ve stored photos in any photo albums. I have so many on disks and memory cards that I would like to get printed out eventually and put into albums. Wonderful tips! I never thought about using pencil instead of pen when writing on the back on them so it doesn’t bleed through. Very helpful!

  30. Such great tips – I have so many old photographs of my parents (and hey, my baby pics too) that mean the world to me!

  31. These are great tips! I am an avid memory keeper and the condition of some of my ancestors photos makes me cry! I wish they would have know all these tips!

  32. I’m glad to say that we are in the digital age and so photos are getting to be rarer. Hopefully this means they’ll be better looked after. The photos of children will no doubt be passed on to them later so good care is essential. Thanks for some great tips 🙂

  33. I have pictures in boxes, pictures in albums and pictures stored on my computer, one day I am going to have to get them organized

  34. Sara’s baby pictures were taken before digital so I don’t have that back up but I do store them in organizer free from the heat and sun. I have a few photo books that are acid free too. Thank you so much for this post…the tips are invaluable.

  35. I love having my photos printed, but lately they have been stuck on the computer or usb

  36. i have all my pics on my laptop ,but soon going to put on a memory card for just in case 🙂

  37. A lot of my digital pictures are stored on external hard drives / passports. I am currently collecting pictures of my sister’s family to send with her in laws to South Africa; a lot of the relatives there have not ever seen pictures of the family !!! I’m glad I can share the memories !!!

  38. thanks for the tricks. My mom lose almost all her family pictures in a flood and we never take care enough 😉

  39. I do print some of my pictures and keep them in envelopes and special ones I display. I sometimes get a photo book made of a special trip or occasion, too.

  40. I have my photos everywhere… In need of some major organization. (not my strong suit)

  41. I’m so behind in organizing and printing my photos. This is a great blog post on how to take care of photos. Thank you .

  42. I store my photos on a flash drive in case my computer dies. When I do print them, I buy mini photo albums from dollar rama as they are small enough to hold pics from one event. Then I label the cover with the event and date

  43. We have so many photos around here and most of them are in albums or on the computer still. I have to take the time to take them off and get more organized. Never knew about ink on the back of photos. I will remember this.

  44. i’ve never heard of the Photographic Activity Test, so i’ll have to remember that when buying an album.

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