How to Care for your Prints (hint: Direct sunlight is the enemy)

Ok, so you have had your beautiful portraits printed but what now?

Well, now it's the time to treat them right. 
In my previous blog post, How do your Portraits Deserve to be Treated? I talked about what to do with your files and how to back them up properly to make sure that they will be the most useful for you for the longest period of time. Now it is time to talk about how to preserve your prints. And guess what, hanging them over the fireplace or in direct sunlight is NOT a good idea. 
Read all about what to do and what NOT to do once you have your beautiful printed portraits!

 

1. Keep your printed portraits out of any direct sunlight:

UV rays don't only damage your skin, they will also damage your beautiful portraits. The UV light will substantially shorten the life of those invaluable heirlooms so maybe you should consider keeping them out of reach of those damaging rays.
A great way to help reduce the damage that the sunrays can do is to protect the prints behind a 99% UV blocking glass or acrylic. This will help extend the life of your prints so future generations can enjoy them as well. 

 

2. Avoid hot and humid locations:

UV light isn't the only thing that might damage your print. Heath and humidity have an equal share in damaging your portraits and determining for how long they will last. 
A general rule of thumb is; the colder the better. Cooler temperatures will slow down the ageing process of the paper. So the hotter it gets, the faster the paper will age and deteriorate.
Therefore, maybe rethink when you are considering storing your portraits in the attic where the temperatures can easily get overwhelmingly high. 
Also, humidity won't do them any good either. Therefore keep them out of damp basements and maybe don't hang them in your bathroom.  

3. Don't touch them too much:

Prints invite touch. You want to feel them. Feel the texture. Maybe caress the memory of a loved one, but try resisting. Any handling should be kept to a minimum and when you do, only do so with clean hands, free of any lotions and oils. If you are going to handle them, either hold the prints on the sides or wear a pair of protecting gloves. Cotton is usually a good idea though there are other materials that won't affect the archival quality of your print. 

4.Mats will keep your portraits safe:

One of the reasons I sell my prints matted is because it helps protect your portraits and will help them last for as long as possible. When you go to have your print framed, the mat will keep the print from touching the glass of the frame. Sometimes moisture and humidity get inside the frame and the print will get stuck to the glass thus ruining the print when you try to remove it from the frame. Mats will help avoid that. Because the mat is higher than the portrait, the only thing touching the glass will be the mat. 

Your prints do NOT like acid!:

Believe it or not, prints do not like to be stored in acidic materials. Acid and environmental pollutants will cause your prints to deteriorate over time. This will make them yellow and they will lose their original colour.  This is bound to happen eventually, but to slow down this deteriorating process, consider storing your prints in acid-free containers and materials. 
The boxes that I deliver your portraits in are all acid-free and made to keep the prints safe and protected. Back when I was first looking into offering prints as well as the boxes I wanted to deliver them in, I was looking to have wooden boxes......until I learned about acidity and what it does to the longevity of the print. Do NOT under any circumstances store your prints in wooden boxes. They are naturally acidic and will, therefore, do damage to your portraits in the long run. Another good idea is to put sheets of vellum between each portrait in the storage box. That will help the prints rubbing against and damaging each other. 



Now, after knowing all of this you can go and take proper care of your family heirlooms. 
Show me pictures of your prints in the comments below!