Microfilm

Given the onset of the digital age, you probably haven't even thought of a microfilm machine like the kind you used to use at the library in a very long time. Microfilm, though, is one of the safest ways to preserve special photographs. It can last as long as 500 years and is becoming a staple for some professional photographers [source: Hesseldahl].

How to Preserve Photos

You've got your old print photos out of the shoeboxes, organized, scanned into your computer and integrated in your digital albums. Now you're probably wondering what to do with all those prints.

Photos, unfortunately, are subject to wear and tear and will not last forever. There are steps, however, that you can take to prolong the life of your prints. Make sure that pages in photo albums and scrapbooks lay flat and are not overloaded to the extent they bend or buckle when the album is closed. Most photo album pages are manufactured to be photo-safe, but look for verification just to be sure. And don't use album pages or paper storage boxes that contain acid, which can discolor photos over time [source: Davis].

Furthermore, pay attention to where your photos are physically stored. For maximum durability, they should remain in an area that's cool and dry. This may mean you'll have to dig them out of your crawlspace and make room for them in the hall closet. Photos also need to stay out of the sun. Go ahead and display your favorite framed photos near the window -- just be sure you have copies in case the sunlight fades them [source: Davis].

And finally, if you're intent on taking film photos as opposed to digital, consider using black and white as an alternative to color. Because of differences in the types of film, black-and-white photos can last twice as long as color photos [source: Davis].

For more tips on preserving, organizing and storing photos, visit the links on the following page.