Just recently I was working on a scrapbook for my family tree and I wanted to use some old and precious photos.
As I was sorting through them I was reminded of how careful we need to be when working with fragile memorabilia, so I thought you might appreciate some of the useful hints I’ve learned over the years when working with priceless family photos.
Because many of the photos you will be using will be very old and delicate, I suggest you don’t actually use the originals in your vintage scrapbook. Here are some alternatives:
How To Protect Delicate Photos
- Scanners: Scanners are very cheap these days and they allow you to scan your old photos into the computer. You can then manipulate them in programs like Adobe Photoshop. In many cases it’s hard to tell the difference between the original and the scanned one.
- Photo Editors: Also, using a photo editor like Photoshop enables You to crop them, make them lighter or darker, blur the edges and fix blemishes and marks. Even torn photos can be ‘fixed up’ on the computer.
- Photocopy: Alternatively you could photocopy the originals. However rather than copying the photos on a black and white copier, it is worth getting color laser copies, which will give you the true sepia shades.
- Don’t Forget the Inscriptions: Any old photos on thick card will need to be copied and don’t forget to copy the backs of the photos with original inscriptions as you may want to include them next to the photos.
Backing Up Your Precious Photos
It seems that these days we are having an unusually high number of natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, bush fires and tornados etc. Events like these all conspire to destroy our homes and our treasured keepsakes and often without warning.
For this reason it is very important to have copies stored in a safe place. As stated above it is a great idea to scan copies of your old photos onto your computer (not forgetting to scan the reverse of the photos if there is anything written on them).
This allows you to store them digitally on CD or DVD along side any other important information about them, where they will not fade or be affected by light. This also allows you to store them at another site, maybe with a relative or friend, in a bank deposit box or with a business that specializes in this service.
There are also services like Dropbox that back up you photos and other documents on the internet, but still allow you to have access to them on you computer whenever you want them
This way, if the originals are accidentally destroyed, you will still be able to make copies.
Also, to preserve the original photos for longer, Keep them wrapped and stored in an acid and lignin free box away from the light, as many old photos fade in the light.
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