Preserving Your Photo Books
Photo books, along with the wedding dress, are the quintessential wedding cornerstone. Nothing brings a family together like a wedding; photo books let us share those experiences with friends and family for generations. But time takes its toll on our cherished photo books. These simple tips will help you preserve your memories for generations to come.
What About Digital Photography?
You may have thought about stopping here because your wedding photos are digital. They are safe and sound, right? One of the best things about digital photography is the idea that photos can be preserved indefinitely.
Unfortunately, we find that many people do not prepare for computer and hardware failures, viruses and other causes of data loss. That why it’s so important to have a solid backup strategy in place for your most cherished photos including cloud backups, and disc (media) backups, and even your printed photos and photo books.
Often forgotten is that your wedding photo book is a memorial and heirloom of your special day. There is only one original. Isn’t there something special about picking up the wedding book that bound you and your spouse together? There’s something magical that happens when grandchildren and great-grandchildren pick up something passed down through generations. Receiving an email or downloading a copy just isn’t the same, and that’s why this is so important.
Your Photo Book’s Greatest Enemies
While it might be great for our skin and the environment, sunlight is one of the most common reason photos are destroyed. Sunlight contains UV (ultra-violet) light which breaks down the chemical bonds that bind pigment molecules together. This is why anything with pigment, such as rugs, paintings, photos, hardwood floors and clothing will fade when left in the sun.
All photos and photo books are susceptible to damage when exposed to intense light for extended periods of time. To avoid damage from overexposure to sunlight your photos and photo books should be placed in a location that does not get direct or intense sunlight.
By keeping books closed and covered to protect from binding damage and dust, you are also protecting the inside from exposure to light.
Water & Humidity
Water will cause serious damage to your photos and photo books. To protect your books from water always store them away in water protected and well ventilated areas.
One of the best investments you can make is a waterproof breathable fabric cover. This type of fabric will not allow standing water to pass through, but will allow the book to “breathe”. Ventilation is important because moisture can build up inside plastic bags and containers.
It’s also important to avoid high humidity and tightly packed environments. Always store your book in a location that does not contain a source of water or heat and has good air flow. Avoid places like kitchens, bathrooms, tightly packed closets, outdoors, garages, attics etc.
Heat & Cold
Always store your photo books away from sources of heat and cold. Avoid kitchens, garages, space heaters, ventilation ducts, car trunks and attics. Always store your book somewhere that you would be comfortable.
Gravity (Standing & Displaying)
Okay, so gravity isn’t really the enemy. But please take care to store your books in a manner that does not put stress on the pages and binding. Sometimes we like to showcase our photo books vertically in a glass case for continued display. Sometimes we leave them open on the coffee table to display our favorite page.
Over long periods of time, this will cause the binding to warp and sag leading to eventual binding failure. Even the highest quality books cannot withstand being stood vertically indefinitely. Always store your photo book closed, laying flat, and covered with protective cloth when not in use.
Never use cleaning agents on any photo book. Even cleaning agents advertised as “safe” or “mild” can cause permanent damage to your books and photos. The damage may not be apparent at first, so testing a small area will not be enough.
Use a clean, dry, lint-free microfiber cloth to wipe your books. If absolutely necessary, use clean water to dampen the microfiber cloth, but always use as little as possible. Avoid using soiled or abrasive cloth and paper towels to wipe down your books as they may cause permanent scratching.
Scratches & Tearing
Some photo books are more susceptible to scratches (such as acrylic and leather) than others (glass). All books should be protected during storage, display, and handling. Books should always be stored in a lint-free breathable microfiber sleeve. For hard material books such as glass and acrylic, rubber or plastic feet can help in avoiding scratches when being placed on tables. Similarly, leather books should be handled carefully to avoid tearing.
Books should only be cleaned with clean, dry, lint-free microfiber cloth. Never use paper towels, clothing, or other materials to wipe down your books.
Ideally, all photo books would be handled only with white gloves. Oil and acid from contact with skin will cause damage to your photos over time. This is exacerbated by handling with dirty hands.
You can’t be expected to ask friends and family to put on gloves to handle your books, but you can do the next best thing. After heavy handling, you should give the book a quick wipe with the microfiber cloth. This will minimize the acids and skin oils that tend to break down books over time. Make sure to wipe down both the front and back covers, as well as the pages inside.
Leaving your books in storage for extremely long periods of time can result in pages sticking together. Even the highest quality materials will begin to bind together over very long periods of time. This is especially true of photo books. It’s important to take them out at least once every three to six months, open them up, let them breathe, and enjoy your precious memories.
By following these tips, you will be sure to hand down your photo books to future generations. For more tips don’t hesitate to reach a FrameSmile team member at email@example.com or find meet us in person at one of our Shows & Events.