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Preserving Photographs

Photographs are vulnerable to damage. Here are some things you can do to ensure they last for the longest possible time.

Handling photographs
Handle photographs by their edges to avoid leaving fingerprints. Oils and salts in our fingertips leave permanent marks on photos and contribute to fading of the image.

Do not try to repair photographs that are torn or in pieces. Materials such as sticky tape and masking tape cause fading and staining. Keep the photograph in a folder or sleeve by itself.

Storing photographs
Light, heat, water, pollution, and insects can damage photographs. Keep photographs somewhere they will not constantly be moved or disturbed.

The best place to store your photographs is somewhere clean, cool, dark, dry and well ventilated.

Avoid storing photographs in the following places:

garages or sheds: they are often damp, have insects and can get very hot in summer
on the floor: this will put photographs at risk of water damage if there is a flood
hot water cupboards: the combination of heat and moisture causes mould.
Storage materials for photographs
Storage materials for photographs include boxes, folders, albums and sleeves. They can be made out of paper or plastic. Use conservation-quality materials to store photographs if possible.

Avoid laminating unique or valuable photographs. Once photographs have been sealed in the plastic they cannot be removed. Over time the material used to laminate the photographs can damage them.

Photograph albums
Good photograph albums provide excellent protection for photographs. Poor ones can cause damage.

Choose a photograph album where the photographs can be easily removed, for example albums with plastic sleeves or with corners for the photos to be placed in.

Do not use magnetic albums (albums that have sticky cardboard pages and plastic covers that cling to the photos). Adhesive on the pages will damage the photographs. It can also be difficult to remove the photographs once they are stuck to the pages.

If your photographs are already in an album, it is best to leave them this way. Removing the photographs may cause more damage. The original sequence of the photographs may also be lost.

Negatives are very important and should be carefully looked after. If anything happens to the print you can always have another copy made from the negative.

It is best to store negatives in individual sleeves, and separately from prints. Rubbing together can easily cause scratching.

Glass negatives require extra care. They can be easily broken. If you have glass negatives in your collection, store them upright in a sturdy box and prevent scratching by placing them in individual sleeves.

Recording information about photographs
It is important to keep any information about the photograph, such as:

who the photograph is of
where it was taken
when it was taken
who the photographer was.
It is not necessary to write on the photograph. If you do:

write on the back of the photograph in the border area or near the edge
use a soft pencil like a 2B (pen or felt tip marks could seep through to the front of the photograph)
print softly.

Displaying photographs
You can prolong the life of your photographs by taking care over the way they are displayed.

You should avoid:

hanging photographs in sunny places (this will make them fade more quickly
hanging photographs over fireplaces (high temperatures and smoke will cause damage over time)
putting pins directly through photographs
using self-adhesive tape, glue or paste in direct contact with a photograph.
Framing photographs improves their appearance and helps to protect them.

If you are using a professional framer, ask them to do it to ‘conservation standards’. This is more expensive but will give greater protection to the photograph.

Hang photographs in places where they will not be knocked or bumped. Use strong hanging devices and hang framed photographs securely on the wall. Hanging devices should be in proportion to the size of the frame. Very heavy frames require cleats or extra heavy D-rings. A good picture framer can help with this.

Making copies of old, rare or valuable photographs
Having copies of special photographs made is a good option. The original can be stored safely somewhere else and the copy placed on display.

It is best to use a reputable company for making copies. Choose one that is experienced in working with historical photographs.

Making digital copies is not a good way to preserve photographs. If you decide to scan photographs keep the original, as the original photo is likely to last longer than the digital copy.

More about preserving digital photographs

Preventing damage from water and fire
Taking small precautions like keeping photographs off the floor and away from sources of water will help reduce risk of damage caused by floods.

If photographs are damaged by water in an event like a flood they can usually be salvaged. To prevent further damage:

act as quickly as possible: mould can develop in a very short space of time.
dry wet photographs face up on a clean flat surface in a room with good air circulation. Use a cool fan to promote air circulation if necessary.
rinse photographs gently in clean water if they are covered with silt or debris from floodwaters.

Custom Picture 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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