Course:3: Processing
Lesson:Lesson 3: Preservation
Topic:Photographic Media

Photographic Media


  • Avoid bending or creasing.
  • Use two hands; donít pick up items by one edge.
  • Wear white, lint free gloves when handling.
  • Keep photographs covered when they are not being viewed immediately.

Processing Tasks

  • Place photographs in appropriate sized Mylar sleeves for easy viewing and protection.
  • If you are maintaining photographs within a paper -based collection, place the photograph in the Mylar sleeve, then place the sleeve in a standard sized, acid- free envelope or fold within acid-free paper.
  • Mylar enclosure can be quite expensive. Another option is to use alkaline envelopes; or create your own folder for the photographs by folding a piece of archival quality paper in half. When storing photographs using this type of folder, make sure it is well supported, so the photograph doesnít bend or curl.
  • Place cased objects, such as daguerreotypes and ambrotypes, in their original cases or frames.  If possible, encase them in custom-made, four-flap paper enclosures to reduce wear and tear on fragile cases.
  • Place individually housed prints, negatives, and cased objects in acid-free, durable boxes that will afford further protection from light, dust, and potential environmental fluctuations. 
  • Mark enclosures with pencil only. If it is necessary to mark a photograph, write lightly with a soft lead pencil on the reverse of the image.

handling photo with gloves
Photographs should be handled with two hands wearing white, lint-free gloves.

 Resources icon

Learn More:  NEDCC Storage Enclosures for Photographic Materials

Preservation of Photographs: Select Bibliography

A Short Guide to Film-Based Photographic Materials: 

Care of Photographs

 Types of Photographs

To view proper handling of large photographs, click here.