Ask A Pro

By Maureen A. Taylor Premium

Before hiring a professional photographer, ask these questions:

? What type of photo paper do you use, and how long does it last?

Photographic papers fade at different rates. Some surpass others in quality. Once you know what materials the photographer uses, ask a professional photo store for details about the best types of paper. Special photographs should be printed using the processes recommended in Henry Wilhelm and Carol Brower’s The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs. For the most up-to-date information on color permanence, consult Wilhelm Imaging Research’s Web site <>.

? Do you water-process or chemically process your prints?

Water processing is the better choice because it cleans chemical residue — leftover from developing — from the surfaces of prints and negatives.

? How long do you store negatives?

This question is important if you ever need reprints. Under copyright law, you must go to the original photographer to get reprints. Photo labs won’t duplicate the prints because it would infringe on the copyright.

? Do you use lacquer to coat photographs or to create texture?

Ask that your prints not be coated.

? Is the photo studio going to frame the prints?

You might take your prints to a professional framer, who will frame them using the methods employed by museums.

? Will images be presented in an album supplied by the photographer?

Ask the photographer where he buys albums, so you can see if they pass preservation standards.
From the May 2004 Preserve Your Family History