Caring for Precious Family Memories

Tips from Carters

Are they sitting in a box, tucked away in a cupboard right now? These family keepsakes are irreplaceable so how can you preserve them for your family to enjoy years from now?

  1. Don’t store them in a damp place. Avoid the roof or in the garage. The space in the roof gets hot and can age the paper and ink way faster than normal. Under the stairs or the garage might be convenient, but they are probably too damp for photos. They will become mouldy. The ideal environment for photographs is a dry, cool place. Choose a place that is room temperature or below, and at safe distance from vents and heat sources.
  2. Protect them from the light. Photographs last longer in dark spaces. Overexposure to light will eventually cause them to fade. Keep this in mind when framing prints too.
  3. Stay away from pen. Use a pencil (or archival felt tip pen) to mark names, dates, and locations in the margins or on the back of the photo, never a ball-point pen. Even better, choose an album that allows you to write labels on a page or card instead of directly onto the original print. Remember to allow the ink to dry before stacking your photos so it doesn’t smear or rub off.
  4. Put them in something safe. The two safest ways to store photos are photo albums and photo boxes. All paper enclosures should be acid-free. If you live in a humid area, choose a drymount (paper) album as photos might stick to plastic sleeves.
  5. Treat them carefully. Paper clips, rubber bands, tape, glue, adhesive, ballpoint pens, and non-archival papers can all damage photos. If you forget to remove them, those photos could be bent and marked forever. When organizing your collection, keep food and drinks far away and wear a pair of 100 percent cotton gloves. These will keep your photos safe from the natural oils on your hands. If you don’t have gloves, handle your photos only by their edges.
  6. Make them digital. Set aside your most important photos and have them digitized. Bring them in to be scanned at high resolution. We can take your boxes of photos, create digital files, and return the originals to you. Once you’ve got your digital files, keep one or two copies of them in different locations. For example, upload your photos to online storage, a flash drive, and an external hard drive.
  7. Print them. Don’t keep them all hidden away. Print your favourites. Some family memories truly matter. It makes us feel good to have them on display, not to mention the great conversations you can start!

Top Tips from Carters Photographics, 42 Grey Street, Tauranga.
Phone: 07 578 9417
You’ll find lots more photography tips at

the  Carters Website Learning Centre: