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How to Protect Your Fine Art Photography

How to Protect Your Fine Art Photograph
Information on how to properly care for photographs, photographic prints and the care of photography collections. Since photographs can be easily damaged, taking precautionary measures is the best defense in protecting their values. This article and web page have been designed to help you understand the of care and handling of photographs. Resource links and books are also featured providing you with a wealth of knowledge and hours of reading.

Several everyday situations can potentially cause damage to photographs. Avoiding these situations and potential problems, is much easier than trying to correct damage once it has occurred. Major areas of concern are broken down into the following categories:

Handling the Photograph
Proper handling is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent photo damage.
Always wash your hands before touching a photograph and if possible wear clean white cotton gloves that are designed for handling art. When picking up a photograph always use both hands and make sure the back of the print is supported so it does not bend. Never touch the surface of a photograph with you finger. If you are trying to blow something off the surface, make sure you do not accidentally spit on the print. The surface of photographs can be damaged by sliding prints against each other and by placing objects on top of them. Once damaged this way photographs are very difficult if not impossible to repair.

Never hang or exhibit photographs in direct sunlight. Next, try to avoid strong indirect daylight. It's a good idea to change prints frequently if they hang in strong light situations. Ultraviolet light is what you want to avoid. Many fluorescent tube lamps give off ultraviolet light, and filters are available and should be used. Also, you can purchase ultraviolet-shielding Plexiglas or glass when getting you photographs framed. Normal household light bulbs usually do not present a problem for photography

Heat and Humidity
Try to avoid extremes of heat and humidity. Keep photographs away from Fireplaces, radiators or other heating devices. When storing photographs keep them out of damp basements and hot attics. It is best to keep them at a constant temperature humidity, museums try to keep a temperature around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 40%. If the humidity is too high, be on the lookout for Foxing, a type of mold growth. If you live in the tropics, the best advise I can give you, is to contact a local museum in the area, and ask for information on taking care of your artworks.

External Pollutants
Where you hang and store your photographs can make a big difference, if you choose the wrong place they may become damaged. Here's my list of what you should try to avoid: Smog (good luck here), fumes from fresh paint, cleaning solvents, motor exhausts, burning wood and smoke of any kind, rubber bands and other rubber based products, moist air from the oceans. Also, try to avoid displaying photographs where food is being prepared (like a kitchen or a restaurant). The best way to protect your photographs remove them place them in a safe area whenever the conditions became extreme. Heavy duty air filtration systems are a common place in museums but most private collectors do not have them. Home air filtration system are becoming more popular and my be useful in protecting your artwork. Making sure your artwork is framed correctly and covered with glass is the easiest ways to protect artwork from air pollutants.

Internal Chemicals
Photographs are processed and created in chemical baths. The responsibility of making sure the prints are clean and free of chemicals is the responsibility of the photographer. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that can be done once it has left the possession of the photographer. It sometimes takes years to discover whether a print was processed and washed correctly. It is a good idea to always inquire with seller or the photographer on whether archival print washing has occurred on the print you purchased.

Keep an eye out for insects. Insects have been known to eat the emulsion on prints, and are attracted to certain types of glue such as wheat-flour paste. insect secretion can stain a print. A properly framed photograph is your best protection.  If you see an insect in a framed photograph, remove it immediately and check for others. If you store your photographs, occasional check the storage area for nests of various kinds.

Custom Framing
Make sure you take your photographs to an framer that is experienced in handling photographs and understands good archival framing. If they are not experienced, make sure that you stress to them the importance of proper handling and framing and make sure they know the value of your artwork so they will take extra care in framing it.

If your photograph is damaged and in need of repair, consider your options carefully, sometimes it is best to leave as is, because all restoration steps carry some risks.
Proper framing, display and storage may be your best option instead of restoration.

Moving Artworks
If you are involved with a major move, make sure that you artwork is protected from the elements as well as uneducated movers. Look out for weather problems, wrap your artworks in plastic to prevent water damage and to protected frames use some cushiony material like towels or blankets. Frame corner protectors are also available or you could completely wrap the artworks using cardboard and tape.

Custom Framing
Canvas Printing

Printing on canvas is incredibly versatile and a great way to create a ready-to-hang image or artwork. Every canvas that we print  is protected with a UV coated acrylic finish to guard the print from dust, moisture and fading. Do you want your canvas stretched on bars or non-stretched? Framed or unframed? Customize the work to make it truly your own.

Art Prints – How are they made?

Photography by Laurie Barone-Shafer
Nowadays just about anyone can take a good quality photographs with a digital camera. Or take a few hundred pictures and the chances are few will be good, and even one or two outstanding.

Here are a few tips, tricks and techniques on how to make art print poster ready photographs and print ready digital files. Don’t get overwhelmed, there is a lot of information here, but a lot of it is just intuitive. Well, a bit of patience will always help.

First thing – Photo Size

If you taking a digital photo of you family or friend the largest size you would print is usually 5 by 7 inches, maybe 8 by 10 at the most. Even small size digital photographs (2MB or less) are ‘good enough’ to create a decent print. But if you want to create prints that are 16 by 20, 20 by 24 inches or larger you need more pixels (in pixels 20 by 24 inches photo is actually about 40 times larger than 3 by 4 inches photo assuming they have the same resolution).

Learning to Paint Watercolors

Watercolor is an easy, fun medium for creating art.  Color theory, composition and design can be explored freely with watercolor paint, paper, and brushes.  Several techniques may be used with watercolors for varying effects including painting wet on wet, wet on dry, layering washes, and more.

Watercolor paper comes in cold press, hot press, and rough.  Rough paper has the most texture, and its hills and valleys can result in interesting effects when paint is added.  Hot press is the smoothest and has the finest texture.  Cold press has a moderate amount of texture and is the paper most commonly chosen by watercolor artists.

Watercolor paper comes in several weights ranging from 90 lb. to 300 lb. based on the pounds per ream of paper.  Most artists prefer to use at least 140 lb. paper.  Papers vary somewhat between manufacturers, so sampling different papers is advisable.  Paper can be purchased in pads, in blocks or in large sheets.  The large sheets are usually the most economical and can be torn into whatever size is desired.

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