Some of your best memories might be living on negatives you have been waiting to convert to digital. Even though you might not look or display these the same way as prints, negatives still require the same care and attention as other types of analog formats.
The life expectancy of a negative greatly depends on the conditions and manner in which they are stored. Take a moment to think about it - do you know where your negatives are?
Before converting your negatives to digital, we recommend being aware of the condition they are in so that when the time comes to send your archives to a digital imaging service, your results will be the best possible!
5 Pieces of Advice For Storing Negatives
1. Keep negatives clean.
When handling negatives they are very susceptible to a buildup of fingerprints, dirt, and dust. If there is too much of these elements present, it might produce fungus spores that can harm your image. Before storing your negatives, take a few minutes to carefully clean them. Don’t worry - it is never too late to provide some TLC to your archives.
2. Control the temperature and humidity.
We understand that controlling the temperature and humidity is easier said than done. If you are planning to have negatives in storage for a short amount of time, normal room temperature will do. If you’re looking to keep them in storage for a long time you need to take special attention to their surroundings. Try and keep your negatives in a cool, dry place away from radiators, warm-air registers and windows where sunlight streams through.
3. Use storage envelopes.
Besides trying to find an ideal room in your house, you can also store color negatives in a household freezer. To make this possible you will need moisture-proof storage envelopes that protect your negatives from humidity. Moisture-proof storage envelopes have a barrier that keeps the total amount of water in the film constant during storage. Do not store color and black and white negatives together or tightly pack negatives in these envelopes.
4. Protect your negatives from light.
If you are looking to store your negatives for a short amount of time, try and keep them in a dark place. Metal drawers or file boxes work better than wood or plastic areas. Wood and plastic places might contain substances that would affect the negatives.
5. Provide good atmospheric conditions.
Avoid storing your negatives in areas that share space with photocopiers as these are ozone generating machines. Ideally you want to evade a high level of airborne pollutants as these chemical fumes can harm the negatives. Regularly change the filters of any air conditioning systems.
For more information on how to identify what you have in your archives, check out our free ebook, “The Ultimate Guide to Slide, Negative, Film & Video Formats.”
Source: Technical Data from Kodak