How to care for photographs Tiakitanga o te whakaahua
Learn how to preserve photographs – physical and digital.
Handling and displaying
Hold photographs and negatives by their edges and be careful not to touch the surface. Wear clean cotton or nitrile gloves when you can – dirt and oil from fingertips can cause long-term damage.
When displaying your photographs, try to use low, artificial lighting rather than direct sunlight, which will cause the image to fade rapidly.
Store photographs in a dark place with a stable temperature (10–18°C is ideal) and humidity level (35–50% is best, but 40–60% is acceptable). Photographs are very sensitive to environmental conditions.
Ideally, store photographs in Mylar sleeves or acid-free paper. Negatives should be kept in acid-free paper enclosures.
For digital images, keep back-up copies in a separate place – an online account, an external hard drive, or good-quality archival CDs. CDs can deteriorate over time, so store them in a cool, dry place and test them regularly.
To label the back of a photograph, use a 2B pencil instead of pen ink, which can seep into the image. Write on the edge of the photograph (away from the image). If you are numbering the enclosure, write the number before you put the photograph or negative into it.