Acid Free Storage Boxes for Photography

By: Susan Slobac

Better Photo Storage and Archival

While there are pundits that think the advent of digital photography has made traditional methods obsolete, the fact is that prints taken from even the best digital sources require the use of archival storage boxes if they are to be preserved in non-digital form. Proper photo storage techniques are even more important when it comes to photographic images produced using traditional methods; light, humidity, temperature and low pH levels can all wreak havoc on traditional photographic prints. By using the right Acid Free Storage Boxes and paying attention to other factors that can damage your prints, you'll be able to archive your images and preserve them almost indefinitely.

The Basics

A good photo storage box is made from acid-free materials, is water tight, secure and compact. Ideally, such archival storage boxes are also treated with special "buffering agents" that neutralize any acids that may be present in the environment of the photo storage area. Such acid-free storage boxes represent the most effective archival photo storage solution for prints that must be stored for extended periods of time.

In addition to the proper kind of photo prints storage box, you'll want to place each print in individual clear bags in much the same way as collectors of vintage comic books store their issues - for much the same reason. It is another layer of protection, ensuring that your photographic prints remain dry and contaminant-free.

Protection From The Elements

Once you have securely stored your prints in clear bags and acid free storage boxes, you'll need to protect them from light and temperature extremes.

The former issue may seem confusing at first, since light is what makes traditional photography possible in the first place. Once printed and mounted however, light can make short work of an image's quality. This may not be an issue if photo storage boxes are sealed and placed in a dry, cool, dark space, however.

What is more of a threat is temperature. Heat causes materials to expand, while cold causes them to contract; needless to say, this can cause substantial damage to stored photographic prints, particularly if such prints have been mounted. Ideally, your photo storage location is temperature controlled, or remains at a constant temperature. If this is not practical, there are other steps you can take to safeguard your mounted images from temperature-related damage, including the use of photo corners and special mat boards that allow the image to "breathe" and expand without damage to the print itself.

Good Acid Free Storage Boxes are not expensive, but are nonetheless an important investment in the protection of your priceless photographic prints. In addition to clear bags and the right mounting materials (if applicable), use of proper archival storage boxes are vital in the preservation of photographs.

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