How to Preserve Your Photos in Your Scrapbooks
Learn to preserve your photos for your scrapbook album like a pro! Whether you are hoping to immortalize a treasured past event with serial scenes, or digitalize them to keep them for all eternity, there’s an art to doing this for your project or album,
Once you’ve chosen a batch of pictures that follow a certain theme you desire for your album, you’re going to want to take a few precautions before dropping them on the pages of your new album.
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First off, the photo paper used could have chemicals in it that could mess up the integrity of the album pages, or you may just want to keep tabs on your original copy; especially if it’s the only one of it’s kind.
📷 Why You Should Digitize Your Original Photos
Some of the chemicals used in photos in the past can reduce the preservation time of your scrapbook album. The safest route to go is to use digital photos simply because they can be easily printed out directly on lignin-free and acid-free paper.
Even though your collection may be special….the paper that they were printed on way back in the day may not be archival-quality. Creating digital copies that you can use in your scrapbook is the way to go!
Many times, you may have feelings of sentimentality towards some of your photos which is totally understandable. My family is like that too with photos – I remember things like old Polaroid snapshots and getting to go to the photo lab place way before the digital camera was invented.
If you only have original “hard copies” of treasured family photos, once you lay them down in the book they will be permanently affixed for good – for this reason, you may want to create digital copies of your most cherished photos.
Scan and Save Your Photos
If you have access to a good quality scanner, use it to create files and save them in the format of your choice, You can save them to your hard drive, on a CD, or cloud based storage place. Below is the scanner feature of my printer which has four different functions.
Be sure and label the files correctly so you can easily retrieve them later; in which you can print them out for affixing into your scrapbook pages later.
Enhancing Your Photo Collection with Graphic Tools
If you want to make your photos especially unique, consider the use of a photo editing software program to alter the look of your photos. Picmonkey is my favorite graphic photo editing tool and I use it daily on my personal images . It’s got a lot of cool image editing tools that can bring new life into your collection!
Here is an example I did with a picture of my cat Buddy and different color and tone filters I applied, just to give you an idea.
You can make that color photo black and white , or vice versa, or add a sepia filter ( a unique brown-ish tone) which would be GREAT for getting that retro look – if you are really into scrapbooking vintage photos, you will love some of those features.
You can and should cut and crop your images as well; if you have some writing or notes written on the photo in question (which was a common practice once) definitely make sure you preserve those for authenticity and sentimental reasons.
Now for some great tips on storing your scrapbooks and preserving all that amazing work you did!
Location, Location, Location
This This is a step that must come first. Choose a good storage location, and choose it wisely!
Some major location taboos to avoid include:
- The attic – Not a good gambit. Attics get super hot in summer, cold in winter, and all those temp extremes could spell disaster for your book collection.
- Basements – All of that humidity, need I say more?
- Garages – Not a good place…I know many of you keep them tidy, but not the best choice.
Liquids obviously can destroy memorabilia, photographs and negatives. Be sure to store your scrapbooks ( as well as supplies, albums, photographs and negatives) in a dry, cool place. away from things like hot water heaters, toilets, etc.
Also, seek a place away from direct sunlight. Over time, sunlight can diminish photos, negatives, layouts, and album quality, and can result in fading.
Check the Temp
Extreme temperatures can definitely wreak havoc on your scrapbooks and albums. Which is why I mentioned that attics are bad choices because they radiate outside temperatures so readily. Make sure that your books are to be stored in an area with a moderate temp and low humidity.
Humidity is a tough one to overcome as I live in one of the muggy Southeastern states; so I know from experience how this goes. You may want to consider looking into a standalone dehumidifier – obviously you can’t change the climate but you can change the conditions of your own environment.
Label Your Books and Storage Containers
It might be a good idea to consider labeling your collection if your scrapbooks follow different themes, like birthdays. weddings, family treasures.You can create labels to affix to the album cover or spine itself, and/or the container you have chosen to place it in.
The use of a web-based graphic editing tool is perfect for this. My favorite is Picmonkey, which has a plethora of different labels you can customize to your liking; and afterward print them out on sticker paper.
You can choose a template from the wide selection, and customize it to your liking; write in details like what the scrapbook is dedicated to or about, date you started creating it, you know, special touches like that.
Store All of Your Books Straight Up
This question does get asked a good bit from time to time…so I researched it 😊 Should you stack your books down flat on top of each other or vertically, and does it make a difference?And yes, it does….Make sure to stack them VERTICALLY.
Your collection is filled with various odds and ends and used adhesive. If your books are right on top of each other, the weight may not be distributed well, and the pages may end up compressed down, or stuck together . Just remember that books are always stacked up vertically at places like libraries!
Safe Storing and Handling
Make sure you handle and store your photos, negatives, and layouts carefully to minimize the chance of scratches, tears, and bends. Look for acrylic or polyester sleeves that fit into a 3-ring binder, and store album books in an archival storage box.
Be sure to handle photographs by the corners to minimize fingerprints and oily spots (remember that our skin has natural oils in it.) If you have to wash your hands or use acid neutralizing wipes, do it, or make sure you wear cotton gloves when handling.
Don’t leave all of that work you did up to chance – that’s blood, sweat and tears along with all of those treasured mementos stitched together.
You don’t need to look into vaults and secret safes…..just take these important precautions. Follow them and you’ll be well on your way to preserving a lasting memory for posterity 😊.
All in all, the way your photograph collection is arranged and presented can enhance the overall look of your album and turn your project into a professional-looking memory album. Have fun and happy photoing!