Here are six things you can do to preserve your photos:
We all want to store photos from the past. If the numbers of photos are not significantly high, one can use a photo scanner, costing $200+ by oneself, to digitize them for print or slide. For a larger number, online scanning services like Fotobridge or ScanCafe can be availed. For print quality, 600 dots per inch (dpi) are good enough, while 3000 dpi minimum is needed for slides so that they can be enlarged later. Image formats using compression like JPEG cost less while uncompressed ones like TIFF, are desirable for long term storage as information is not lost.
Back Them Up
Multiple back-ups of the same photo should be stored. For example, the soft copies could be stored on an additional external hard drive or on online sites like Flickr. Negatives and slides should be stored properly in original packaging. The most important ones should be printed professionally.
Print copies should be stored carefully, keeping in mind factors like exposure to excess light, temperature and humidity that might affect them badly. They should be covered with protective means in proper albums so as not to cause any kind of discoloration. To that end, one can use acid- or lignin-free paper or inert polyethylene and polyester materials available from sources like Gaylord, Hollinger Metal Edge, Light Impressions and University Products.
Enhancements of photos are usually carried out by the scanning services using touch-up and color-correction. If more serious enhancement is needed. like restoring from a torn or discolored photo, one can avail the service of a professional conservator. Whether such restoration should be carried out depends on how important or invaluable the original photo is. To find that out, an assessment of the photo can be done using professional service of an appraiser (from www.appraiserassociation.org) or a conservator (from www.conservation-us.org).
Photos should be labeled properly using ink or color that can withstand the test of time. They should be categorized according to some broad and meaningful criteria instead of just being sorted chronologically. Only good quality photos should be preserved weeding out the bad or duplicate ones.
Visit These Sites
There are helpful websites like National Archives’ Website for print photos, Library of Congress site for digital images for those seriously interested in preserving their old photographs.