How to Care for Your Photographic Prints

So you've bought or created some beautiful, heirloom prints from your family, headshot, or senior photo session?  Wonderful!

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Here are some tips for keeping those prints beautiful for several lifetimes.

Some professional photographers I know recommend handling photographic albums and prints with special non-scratching microfiber or nitrile gloves.  I don't include those with my print products, but I do think it is a good idea to use them.

Do not write on the back of your unmounted portraits with anything other than a soft, blue, photo-safe pencil created especially for these purposes, and then, mark LIGHTLY.  Test your photo-safe pencil on the back of a blank, white piece of photo paper, checking to make sure it does not indent or show through, before using the pencil on your portraits. If you choose to write on the back of your portraits, always write at the very bottom edge of the portrait. 

If you aren't displaying your prints in frames, store them in acid-free boxes or albums.  Minimal light, heat, and humidity are recommended to avoid fading, deteriorating, and warping of the prints. 

When matting or framing your portraits, use only archival quality mats, tape, etc. Printed portraits that have been purchased directly from me have been sprayed with a clear, protective coating and may have arrived mounted, so you do not have to frame them under glass. This is one way to avoid the glare that glass creates. You can also purchase a special non-glaring glass from a professional framer or art store, but this type of glass can sometimes add a color cast to the look of your framed photograph. If you do choose to frame your portraits under glass, make sure to use a mat or spacers between the photograph and the glass, so that your portrait does not touch the glass, and there is space left for your photograph to 'breathe' between the photograph and the glass. If enough space is not left between the photograph and the glass, over time the photograph may become stuck to the glass and permanently damaged. Make sure to display any framed photographs out of direct sunlight, and away from excessive cold, excessive heat, and humidity.

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The canvases I offer are a little less sensitive than regular prints and photographic albums, and with the UV technology available today from my high-quality vendor you can expect to have your canvases last, without fading, from 120 - 300 years!  It's still best to avoid constant, harsh, direct sunlight when displaying canvas, as well as extremes in humidity or temperature.  

Canvases can be cleaned with a soft, dry or slightly damp cloth.  Canvas can be easily nicked or scratched, though, so handle yours carefully, with that in mind.  

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Professional portraits are meant to be printed, displayed, and enjoyed - so whether you buy prints from me, or print your own through a good-quality print lab, make sure you take good care of your family, headshot, or senior photos, and they'll stay beautiful for generations.

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