3 Essential Steps for Preserving Heirloom Photos

preserving heirloom photos

3 Essential Steps for Preserving Heirloom Photos

Almost everyone has pictures, but not everyone has heirloom pictures.  Heirloom material includes the pictures and albums which came down the generations from grandparents or aunts and uncles.

Heirloom material could be more than just pictures.  It could include books, toys, baby clothes, shoes, or letters.

If you’re lucky enough to own any heirloom materials, you really understand how precious and fragile they are.  You want to share them with family and friends, but often, these materials are damaged or even disintegrating, so you don’t want to handle them too much.  What to do?



The first thing to do is to scan the pictures or the albums with a photo scanner.  For best results, the pictures need to be scanned at 600 dpi.  This will allow them to be enlarged, so people could see small details. 

If you don’t have a photo scanner and you don’t care about the resolution and quality of the scans, you could consider using an all-in-one printer/scanner.  Taking a picture of your heirloom material with your phone is the very last resort.  My experience with scanning apps on phones and tablets is that the results don’t hold a candle to images scanned using a real photo scanner.

Letters, diplomas, certificates and other papers could be scanned.  Small three-dimensional objects can also be scanned on a flat-bed scanner.  Larger objects could be photographed, making sure that there are no shadows.

Damaged or faded pictures could be pulled into Photoshop for correction and enhancement.



For best results and longest life, the original should be stored in an archival sleeve, within an archival box.  If you cannot get these, any box is better than nothing.   Archival sleeves and archival boxes could be purchased from Archival Methods (www.archivalmethods.com).  Photo-safe plastic bins could be purchased at retail stores such as Container Store or Michael’s.



The most fun part is sharing the pictures with family and friends.  Some ideas include posting the pictures on a family website, or creating a photo book with the digital images and distributing the books for holidays or family reunions.

A Photo Organizer can take on all or any part of the project.

If you would like help or guidance on how to preserve your heirloom photos, please contact PreciousMemories at amira@PreciousMemsPhoto.com or visit the website www. PreciousMems.com.


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