Preserving Old Family Photos

By Susan Saunders

Preserving Old Family Photos by Family Line VideoIf you’re like most, you have a box or album filled with old family photos sitting on a shelf somewhere. Are they labeled? Do you know the people in the photos? What are their stories?

Remember the faded old photo of your father as a toddler? Or the one of your Grandparents on their wedding day? Those priceless old photos are windows into your family’s story and preserving them now is important to preserving your family heritage for future generations.

Below are a few tips to help you safeguard your old family photos.

Photo Preservation Tips

  • Label, Label, Label
    It’s all too easy for vital information to be lost as old family photos are passed from one generation to the next. Take the time to identify and write down the names, places, and dates that go with the images. Always use an acid-free marker or #2 pencil when writing on the back of old photos, never a ball point pen.
  • Choose Photo-Safe Storage
    Your old family photos are your family’s legacy, so why are they relegated to a dusty box? Changes in temperature and humidity can damage these fragile heirlooms. Preserve your old family photos in acid free photo-safe albums or archival boxes. Avoid storing in the basement or attic in favor of a more temperature controlled environment.
  • Handle Old Photos with Care
    Unseen chemicals, moisture and oils on your hands can speed deterioration. Always work with clean dry hands and, if possible, wear cotton gloves. When handling old family photos, hold by their edges and avoid touching the images themselves. Make sure any surface you work on is clean and dry as well.
  • Avoid Natural Light
    Old photos are extremely light sensitive and can fade quickly if exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid viewing or displaying yours in such conditions. For best protection when displaying old family photos, use an acid free mat and archival glass when framing.
  • Scan Your Old Photos
    While nothing can replace the beautiful black and white images and delicate paper of your old family photos, having only one hard copy leaves your legacy vulnerable to floods, fires, and other disasters. Although time consuming, scanning your old family photos onto a computer or disc gives you the extra safeguard of a digital image. When scanning, be sure the glass is clean and the photo is free of lint as flaws will be magnified.
  • Distribute Copies
    Sharing your old family photos is important, especially as families grow and spread out. After labeling and scanning your pictures, burn them to DVDs and print out several hard copies of each. Make a set of the best photos for every family member and distribute at Thanksgiving or Christmas. That way, you know they will have access to those images and stories in years to come.
  • Post to a Family Website
    Another way to share old family photos is to post them to a Family Website. There you can share information about your family history, traditions, recipes and updates along with old photos. A family website is a great way to keep everyone up-to-date on family happenings!

Beyond Old Family Photos: Legacy Videos

Your stories in a Legacy Video by Family Line videoHere at Family Line Video, we help families preserve their stories and history by capturing them in Legacy Videos. These video memoirs weave filmed interviews with family photos, documents, maps and other memorabilia to bring stories and history to life in a captivating and very personal way.

To learn more about Legacy Videos, contact us. We would love an opportunity to help ensure your stories will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Learn more about family legacy videos at Family Line Video

Susan Saunders
Owner/Video Biographer

Family Line Video, LLC

Old Family Photos
Family Line Video

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