5 Things You Should Never Do to Family Photos


Give Them Some Space

Watch those fingers.
Watch those fingers.

Everyone needs their own space -- photos do, too. Never allow negatives and prints to make contact with each other, frame glass or your bare fingers. Since you'll probably end up putting the majority of your family photos in storage boxes, be sure to place a sheet of acid-free paper between each photo. Without that sheet, photos can stick together and become lost for good. When storing or showcasing pics in an album, select sleeves that are free of PVC -- which can turn photos yellow over time -- or acetate or magnetic-type, which can permanently stick to photo paper, making it impossible to remove the photo without destroying it.

Here's another big no-no: touching the face of a print or negative. Archivists and conservators recommend wearing clean white cotton or linen gloves to pick up photos and negatives. Even then you should hold the photos and negatives by the tips. But if you do handle family photos or negatives without donning gloves, be sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly to remove dirt and natural oils, which can damage film and prints.

It might seem natural to enjoy some refreshments while looking through old photo albums, but beware. We'll discuss why on the next page.