Tips to organize, store and preserve photo slides

Today’s post is from a guest blogger: Julie Ann Morris is president of the photo scanning service FotoBridge and chief memory preservation evangelist (I love that title!). I know you’ll find her information about slides helpful. ~ Monica

Now that so many people are used to digitized images, it’s easy to forget about slides and printed photos stored away in dark corners, whether at home or in storage units. Although slides may not be common now, they’re still important, having captured memories and therefore deserving the same attention and care as digital images. Therefore, there’s no good excuse for not taking the steps to preserve photo slides.

Tips for Storing Slides

#1: One slide storage method is via display, whether in photo albums or in frames. When you store slides in photo albums, place them in acid-free albums that aren’t magnetic or adhesive.

You can use albums with acid-free paper that you can put your slides in using corner brackets for each image, similar to “old-fashioned” albums. Ideally though, opt for photo albums with plastic sleeves that you can slip slides into.

#2: Some people display slides in frames, but be careful because sunlight, humidity, heat, or fluorescent lighting are plentiful in all households and can quickly damage or ruin slides even when behind glass. When framing slides, get frames with acrylic or glass covers that filter UV light, which are usually made of Plexiglas.

#3: If your slides aren’t on display, they’re likely in boxes and environments that may damage slides. If slides aren’t safe behind glass, imagine their vulnerability in areas we’ve become accustomed to storing photographs. The threats of heat, lighting and humidity ruining slides are greatly increased when stored this way. The ideal temperature is about 72 degrees and humidity of 45-50%.

Dramatic changes are never good, but if you’re unable to constantly monitor temperature and humidity, use yourself as a guide – when you’re comfortable, often slides are, too. Remember, the human body can withstand much more than slides.

#4: Store slides in folders or envelopes constructed of acid-free paper and/or a durable plastic film. Slides should be put only in acid free boxes, and don’t pack them tightly – they need air, too.

Tips for Organizing Slides

Organizing slides can be difficult. Finding the organization method that works for you can be frustrating, time consuming and exhausting. If you don’t think you have the time to organize your slides, you may want to hire a professional photo organizer.

Fortunately, many slides have dates written on the back, but here are some additional organizing tips:

#1: Start by creating a sorting scheme. Organize by date, subject, event, family, or other sorting categories.

#2: Try not to overwhelm yourself with the task of organizing; start by spending 15 minutes a day organizing your collection.

#3: Set aside slides you would like to send to a photo scanning service to convert to digital.

#4: Store your slides in a protective, temperature-controlled environment, like the methods listed above.

Additional Tips

Another part of preserving slides is the way you handle them. Handle them with care: Slides are sensitive when image surfaces are touched, so hold them like CDs (on the edge). For extra caution, wear cotton gloves so oils or other chemicals on your hands don’t come into contact with the slide image. Additionally, never use cleaners, anything adhesive including tape, or paperclips on your slides.

Slide Scanning

One of the best ways to preserve photo slides is utilizing a photo scanning service. By doing so, you get more than digitized image files: you usually receive a DVD/CD of your photo slides, automatic online storage, optimized and quality digital versions, and other options. You’re getting the peace of mind that no matter what happens to slides physically, they’re permanently digitized and thus won’t be lost.

We may have memories ourselves, but knowing the photos capturing those memories are intact is priceless.

JulieAnnMorrisFotoBridgeAbout the Author: Julie Ann Morris is President of the photo scanning service FotoBridge and chief memory preservation evangelist. She is a highly energized presence and knows how to spark the trust it takes for clients to hand over their precious memories for digitizing. A New York native, Julie Ann lives in New Jersey with her husband Ed, son Jackson and dog Maggie.

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2 comments on “Tips to organize, store and preserve photo slides

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