A. A traditional color photograph can begin to fade after 10 to 15 years under average display conditions (the light, temperature and humidity levels in a typical living room). But according to Wilhelm Imaging Research <www.wilhelm-research.com>, most computer-printed photos last only one to five years without fading or, for some inks, being affected by humidity.
The paper you use is important in the longevity of a computer-printed image, too. You’ll find premium photographic papers from both Epson and Hewlett-Packard (on the HP home page, click Home & Office, then Digital Photography). Hewlett-Packard marketers point out that not only is digital photography convenient, but storing a photograph on a CD means it can be reprinted, perfectly preserved, years later. The main concern there is whether advances in technology will allow access to those digital images years down the road so always transfer your images to the newest media you can afford and keep paper copies.
Balance is the key. Experts recommend using a combination of traditional and digital photography to preserve your memories for generations to come.
From the May 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.