In the process of helping my clients decide on prints, I try to take a hands on approach so they end up with the best quality reproductions. Some of the options I offer are things like aluminium prints or canvas. They might cost a little more but they don’t need framing and are pretty sturdy objects. For clients who want to frame their photos I want to make sure they make informed choices.
Framing photos isn’t new and is often the best way to protect and display your photos. The thing to note is that not all frames are created equal. Even more important than the frame itself is the matte holding the artwork. When you go to the local art store or even the drug store down the street to buy a frame, that construction of that frame can ruin your photo over time. Most of the backing and the mattes used are made with cheap materials that have acids in them which, over time, will eat away at the artwork.
What you want to look for is a framer who can make sure that your artwork will last a long time by using acid free matting options. Many of these mattes are white or off white because just adding color to mattes can add that acid you want to avoid.
For my clients, I don’t offer framing in house but depending on where they live, I have connections with a few framers who understand the importance of archival mounting and will treat my photos like the work of art I try to create.
You might also have a stack of important photos in a shoe box or in a manila folder somewhere. You have the same problem because these paper products still have those acids in them. They weren’t designed to keep for many years. There are good art supply stores or online places that you can get replacement storage. Print File has been around the photography storage process for a really long time and you can check them out.
One last note is if you have your older family photos that were stored by the photographer and think those are safe, you should check on them. Care and archival concerns for photography didn’t really happen until the 1980’s so many of the photo sleeves that photos came in will turn brown and start eating away at photos and negatives over time. But that’s getting a little off topic. What’s important is that these images are records of your life and your family. To get the most out of your past and to send it along to the future, you are best to protect them today.