Your old photographic prints are priceless and precious. But how can you preserve them?
Tucked away between the pages of books, hidden in shoeboxes at the back of the closet or even piled up in a suitcase in the attic. Are these unprepossessing spots really the place to store precious possessions? Yet that’s where many of us keep our treasured memories, or at least the photographs of those moments.
Photographs have a talismanic power: the ability to transport you to a different time and relive moments with a loved one. But when pictures are relegated to these storage places, they lose their potency. Not to mention that they are placed at risk of damage from damp, fire, mishandling and simple neglect.
The first step to safeguarding your memories is to create a digital photo archive. This preserves your photographs for the future and, if correctly done, unlocks the moments for you and others to enjoy.
As an art director for Tip Africa Publishing, the company that produces Stellenbosch Visio, Riaan Vermeulen is extremely aware of the value of photographs and he’s got advice on how to archive your pictures. “You might want to tackle the task yourself by simply taking cell phone pictures of your old prints, but while this is a feasible way to create a digital record, it can be time-consuming and won’t give you the best result. A professional scanning service can manage the task for you and the images it provides will have better resolution. But whichever route you choose to go, it’s vital you label your photographs.
“When you scan your old snapshots, you want to organise your pictures so they are searchable,” he adds. “I’ve ‘lost’ photographs in the past because I didn’t label them clearly. The more information you can include, the better.”
Get it done!
Prior to scanning, sort your prints according to date or theme and place them in envelopes labelled accordingly. The scanning service will digitise the pictures according to this structure and provide you with labelled folders in a digital format. Alternatively, you could sort your photographs into digital folders after scanning.
Not all photographs are loose prints, of course. Some of your most treasured memories may already be framed and may have been handed down through the generations. “In this case the solution is to take a photograph of the original still in its frame. It’s something we’ve done very successfully for a number of books we’ve produced,” says Riaan. The correct lighting setup will eliminate the effect of the glass and will leave you with a high-resolution digital version. The same approach can be used with portraits and other paintings, as well as memorabilia.
Once you have a digital record of your photographs, Riaan advises that you store the images both in the cloud and on an external hard drive. Your digital photo archive provides an overview of your memories, empowering you to select pictures for printing or to compile a photo book to mark an occasion. Perhaps an album of their schooldays for your child heading off to university? Or a keepsake for a special birthday?
To find out more about Tip Africa Publishing’s photo archiving service, download the spec sheet and price list.