Print photos and film aren’t made to last. Film starts to degrade after 10 to 20 years and your print images can start to fade as well. This can be frustrating for people who want to cherish precious memories but watch the images fade more each year.
But why do photos fade? There are multiple factors that cause photos to fade, with sun exposure and humidity serving as the two biggest culprits. Learn why your photo prints are fading and how you can preserve your memories for decades to come.
5 Reasons Your Photo Prints are Fading
Before you can preserve your photos, you have to take steps to understand why photos fade and what specifically is causing them to fade. If you don’t address these issues, then your images might start to look even worse over time. Here are a few top reasons why your photo prints are fading:
- Sunlight: sun exposure is known for bleaching bright colors and turning even the darkest hues light. If your photos are hit by the sun regularly, the pictures will start to fade.
- Heat: print photos use delicate ink to turn your captured images into priceless memories. Unwanted heat can cause the molecules in this ink to alter their compositions, leading to fading or even blurring of the images.
- Moisture: if you live in a humid environment, you might notice that your photos don’t look as nice as they used to. Moisture can seep into the photo paper and warp the images – much in the same way books and floorboards become warped in humid regions over time.
- Dry Air: dry air can also negatively impact your photo prints. When the air is too dry, the paper becomes brittle and can potentially cause the photos to break.
- Too Much Handling: if there is an image that you love, you might keep it in your wallet or place it near your desk. Whenever you touch this photo, oils from your hands get on the print. These oils can break down the photo over time, leaving smudges and stains.
Unless your photos are kept in a perfect climate-controlled environment – similar to what you would see in a museum – they will be susceptible to wear over time. If your photo prints are fading, you need to take steps to protect these memories.
How Can You Prevent Your Photos From Fading?
You can still display your favorite memories even if your photo prints are fading. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your photos and limit the amount of damage in the future.
- Invest in UV-protecting glass. If your photos are displayed in a sunny area during the day, search for UV-resistant frames that block harmful rays from hitting your memories.
- Move your memories to other areas of the house. You might be able to limit the damage just by placing the frame at a different angle away from the sun.
- Control the humidity levels in your home. Your air conditioner doesn’t just cool your house, it also controls the moisture levels in your home. Make sure unwanted humidity isn’t ruining your memories.
- Make sure your photos are framed correctly. Some glues will eat away at images over time.
- Consider making copies of the photos. You can display a duplicate image or have a back-up photo on hand if something happens to the original print.
Even taking a few steps to protect your memories can slow the process when your photo prints are fading.
Digitize Your Photos to Prevent Future Damage
Photo fading is a slow process. You might not notice any changes immediately but could be taken by surprise one day when you realize how light and faded your photos look. Every day, moisture and the sun eat away at your memories, which means you risk losing these pictures forever.
The best way to protect your memories when photo prints are fading is to invest in digitization. You can send your photos to a professional photo scanning company to scan the images and send the files and the originals back to you. At Memory Fortress, we help thousands of customers each year digitize millions of memories to protect them for future generations.
When you digitize your memories, you don’t have to worry about the originals fading. Many of our customers hold on to the original prints but are happy that there are backup files if they need them. They enjoy sharing images online while also holding the physical copies in their hands. It’s the best of both worlds.
Cloud Storage Ensures You Never Lose Your Photos
If you choose to digitize your photos, you have multiple storage options to preserve them. You can store your photos on a USB drive and access the images whenever you want. Some people want DVD slideshows of different events and years past. At Memory Fortress, we can accommodate all of these storage needs. We can also keep your memories in the cloud.
Cloud storage allows you to access photos from any device. If you have a Google drive or use Dropbox, then you are taking advantage of cloud storage. This option ensures that your memories are protected regardless of the device that you use to look at them.
For example, if you store your photos on your computer desktop, you could lose the memories if your computer breaks or your laptop is stolen. Even files on a USB drive could be lost forever if you forget where you put the thumb drive. However, your digital files will always be safe in the cloud, free from damage and fading no matter what.
Take the First Steps to Preserve Your Memories
If you recently noticed that your photo prints are fading, take steps immediately to protect them. You can remove them from the sun and make sure your house is properly climate controlled in order to protect them. You can also digitize the prints and store them in the cloud for a long-term solution.
At Memory Fortress, we want to make sure that you will always have these photos and that your kids and grandkids can look at them, too. Learn more about our process and how you can ship your prints to our Atlanta-based company. We take several steps to protect your memories and return them to you in digital and analog format. If you are ready to protect your photos, start your order today.
Michael B. – “Our large digital photo scanning job was handled with great care from start to finish. Keith and his team stayed in constant communication throughout the process. I will be using Memory Fortress for our future projects.”
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