This year, photo crafts are everywhere from the local pharmacy to photo stores, and that’s not counting all the online processors. Sharing your pictures is a great gift for everyone on your list, whether it’s in the form of a decorated tie, multi-page scrapbook or simple framed photo. If you’re considering giving relatives such a gift, follow these tips to make it a photo-safe holiday:
1. Avoid sending originals.
I’ve heard stories of people sending original photographs to photo processors, but that’s risky business—you could lose your only copy of a picture. Instead of mailing a heritage photo, make a copy at a photo kiosk or scan it at a high resolution (300 dots per inch). Most vendors can work with digital files.
2. Caption your pictures.
If you decide to compile your favorite family pictures on a CD, don’t forget to include a photo key so relatives will know who’s who. Otherwise, your project becomes a unidentified photo riddle for the next generation. It can be part of the CD liner notes, or use software such as Passage Express to easily create a CD. Or use a new free tool called Fototagger that lets you label digital images.
3. Choose good materials.
Magnetic albums are inexpensive, but your photos will pay in the future. The plastic overlays deposit adhesive on the fronts of your photos, and photos eventually fall out or get permanently stuck. Select acid- and lignin-free albums and papers and mount pictures with photo corners. If you choose a pocket-page album, the plastic sleeves should be labeled non -PVC or Mylar. Options in every price range are available through stores such as Archivers, Target, Hallmark and Michael’s. Also try archival suppliers such as Light Impressions and stationary stores such as Paper Source.
Read the fine print for photo products offered from online vendors or call their customer service number to ask about the archival quality of scrapbooks. Kodak, for example, uses acid-free paper in the photo books you create using its Easy Share Gallery.
4. Don’t laminate.
There’s a golden rule of handling pictures: Never do something that can’t be undone. The person who first said this had probably laminated a photo. Unfortunately, the combination of poor-quality plastic, heat and glue creates a preservation disaster that can’t be undone accelerates a photo’s deterioration. Instead of lamination, opt for preservation-friendly encapsulation—you can order a kit from Archival Suppliers. Learn more at https://www.familytreemagazine.com/articles/apr01/encapsulation.html.
Let the holiday gift giving begin! Last year my creative picture presents were such a big hit that I’ve decided to once again share some priceless photographic moments with family. I might make this an annual tradition.