Photo printing Tips and Paper
- When printing photos, wait at least
one week before putting in any frame or photo album.
- Even fast drying papers should cure
overnight; if possible, wait 24 hours to cut, handle etc. or put into
envelopes for mailing.
- Don't put more than 10 or so sheets
in printer (avoiding jams)
- High humidity may affect prints;
anything above 80% humidity or over 90 degrees; could cause bubbling
of ink or evaporation of ink when Sharpie or other writing implement
is used on the photo. Any temperature below 15 degrees and lower than 20%
humidity could cause other problems (cracking etc). If the harsher of
conditions exist, it's best to store FLAT in a plastic sealed container.
- Use good quality ink when using good
quality paper; ie don't use refill cartridges etc; use the ink that goes
with your printer.
- Better printers use better inks so
use better paper to get the best quality photos you can.
- Don't be fooled by paper that says
"Ultra", "Premium" etc. The reason is these phrases are overused and
quality will still vary from paper to paper.
- Price is not an indicator of quality.
Please see chart "Paper
Comparisons" to see that the one star paper is the most costly
paper. Meaning the worst quality paper was the most costly. Price is a
general indicator of quality, but not always!
- Pick qualities that are most
important to you. Most people look for fast drying, non-smudging, even
printing. Cost is a factor to some people, but remember that if a
paper costs less but you have to throw out half of it due to terrible
quality, it might end up costing you more in the long run.
- The most difficult difficult to
achieve color-wise in printing are realistic metallic, flesh tones and
black/very dark blue that doesn't come out "matte". If you are
printing out primary colors, simple colors etc, a moderate paper will be
cheaper and fit the bill. But if printing a portrait, you'll want a
paper that prints flesh tones out well. Only the very best paper will
print out black that doesn't smudge, absorb too much ink or turn out matte.
So if you have a photo with a LOT of black in it, go for the best paper.
Storage of prints/autographs/photos
- Keeping out of direct sunlight;
sunlight causes fading, yellowing and drying (which can lead to cracking of
- Paper should be stored flat (see next
bullet if binders are used).
- If stored in binders, use binder
stiffeners (hard plastic inserts that go in front and backs of binder to
keep pages from curing under the metal rings).
- Always look for "archival safe"
and/or "acid free" when choosing poly sheets in binders. The binders
themselves don't have to be acid free if appropriate sheets are used.
- If being framed, use acid free
backings and acid free mattes
- If stored in boxes, make sure boxes
are acid free or "archival safe" OR if put into plastic containers, use acid
free tissue paper on top and bottom of container.
- If stored in boxes or containers,
desiccant packets can be used in storage boxes to keep help keep moisture
out. So if your items are stored in a higher humidity area like a wet
basement or attic (in a humid location), put these packets (commonly found
in clothing pockets, shoe boxes etc) in with your box of autographs or
photos. They are long lasting (perhaps indefinitely) and if they break
open, they will not harm your items. I am not sure of the amounts to
use because it's based on a math formula (and I am horrible in math; sorry).
But I would gage it by clothing items. For example, one packet per
item like a coat or pair of shoes, would be equal most likely to a shoe box
worth or photos/autographs. This is a conservative and probably safe
- Storage should not be located in high
moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
- Storage should not be in extreme
temperature changes (basements or attics unless the basements are heated and
the attics are well ventilated and the area where you live is not extreme
(ie Arizona Desert or Alaska etc).
- If hanging things like autographs,
cloth, painting and prints etc on walls that are OUTSIDE walls to your home,
make sure the wall temperature is not that extreme (ie well insulated)
because temperatures change with seasons and causes expansion and
contracting of glass, frames, mattes and possibly the item itself.
This could cause instability of item.
- Moth balls are probably not a good
idea. To protect from bugs, poly sheets or airtight containers will be
sufficient. Bugs don't like vinyl/plastic etc.
- Never use glue on backs of photos, or
photo corners, or scotch tape on photos
- Don't laminate photos; laminating
will eventually start to peel apart. Bubbling may also occur.
- Don't use photo binders where the
sheets stick to the page; most are not archival safe (will yellow) and if
photos are taken out and the page is peeled on and off again, the photo can
be damaged quite easily.
- Cigarette and other smoke can damage
paper and cloth items irrevocably. It not only yellows the item, but
causes a smell that will take months or years to get rid of.
- When cleaning framed photos, do not
put cleaning fluids directly onto glass as the fluid can leak behind the
image and ruin the item. Never use anything other than a dry cloth or
duster over photos directly and never "rub" spots.