Scrapbooking is a great way to preserve all your memories, but keeping your photos safe requires a few extra steps many beginners don’t consider.
Buy Acid Free Products
This is probably the most important thing to consider when making scrapbooks. If something is an acid, it means it breaks stuff down, including your pictures. When you see pictures in albums that look really old, most of that damage is degradation from acid. To keep your pictures looking great longer, be sure your paper, glue, ink, and photo paper are acid free.
Protect from Fingerprints
If you handle your pictures, the fingerprints can easily be wiped off, but a few years down the line, those fingerprints you couldn’t see before have started to degrade the photo. Handle your pictures as little as possible when putting your scrapbook together. Try putting together layouts then adding the pictures at the last minute. Plus you should always remember to handle the edges of pictures rather than grabbing the actual print.
It’s great to have pictures to pass around if you want people to see them before they go into a book, but don’t pass around pictures you want to stay in mint condition. Why not just email your favorites to friends and relatives to see, or post them on a photosharing site like flickr? This way your prints stay safe. If you must pass around prints, get an extra set for people to see.
Protect scrapbooks from your environment
You only need to scrapbook for a short time to learn that acid can age your pictures, but it’s not the only thing that can ruin your photos. Sun, extreme temperature, and moisture can destroy your hard work and precious memories.
Be sure to store your scrapbooks and scrapbooking materials in a dark, temperature controlled area that is not in danger of flooding or other water damage. While it might be more convenient to set up your scrapbooking area in a garage or basement, it’s dangerous for your pictures and other materials.
Flipping through piles of pictures or leaving them out and unorganized will not only get fingerprints on them, they will also get wear and tear and begin to collect dirt and dust. Be sure to properly store photo’s you’re not using. You should also file them so you can easily find the one you’re looking for without needing to shuffle through too many. If you take digital pictures, just wait until you know what picture you want to use, then print it.
Back up, back up, back up
While it may take some extra time, you should always make sure you have back ups of all your pictures.
If you use film, always keep your negatives in a safe spot where they aren’t likely to be destroyed if your pictures are. You should also consider getting doubles of your prints just to have that extra back up.
If you take digital pictures, be sure to back up your pictures on a different computer, removable media (external hard drive, cds, ect), or on a photo sharing site (watch for sites that decrease the quality of your pictures when you add them). When it comes to your family’s memories, you can never be too careful.