Everyone loves to learn more about their ancestry. It’s the reason why millions of people around the world choose to discover their origins through DNA tests.
But sometimes, you don’t need to send your DNA to a lab somewhere to gain unique insights about your family. If you’ve discovered an antique photo collection, you can gain a much better idea about who your family was, how they looked, and what their lives were like.
In many ways, these photos tell a much more interesting story because they allow you to actually see your family in their world instead of just finding out where you come from.
But the problem with antique photos is that they are usually in pretty bad condition. Photographs were not designed to withstand decades or even centuries of wear, so every year that passes makes them harder to salvage.
The good news is that there are things you can do to handle the antique photos and preserve them. Using common-sense practices and photo restoration services, you can ensure that you can enjoy the collection yourself and pass it on to future generations.
Let’s explore some of the essential tips to consider below.
Don’t Store The Photos in the Attic or Basement
If you found the antique photos in the basement or the attic, you should move them elsewhere as soon as possible.
Dampness is one of the worst enemies of photographs, and most basements will be much too damp to maintain the condition of old pictures. Over time, they will likely start sticking together, deteriorating, and even attracting mold, all of which are issues that are a hassle to deal with.
That’s why, the first thing you should do when you discover a collection of antique photos is moving them somewhere dry, at room temperature, and without exposure to sunlight.
It’s also essential to store them away from radiators or other heat sources such as pipes. Over time, they can cause serious damage to old photographs that are already deteriorating faster.
Only then can you start thinking about what to do with the collection itself and how to ensure that it’s protected for yourself and your family.
And the good news is that even if the photographs require photo restoration services, managing the process is now easier and more affordable than ever before.
Sort The Photos
When you stumble on a large collection of antique photos, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount and variety that the collection contains. While it is exciting, figuring out how to handle them is a tall task, which many people end up procrastinating for weeks, months, or even years.
But the truth is, the quicker you can get to figuring out the exact contents of the photos and how to group them, the sooner you can get the entire project over with and enjoy a beautiful collection that you can share with family and friends.
So, set a time of day when you will tackle the project and simply get it over with. You will probably find that once you get started, going through the photos won’t be a tiring experience but will even become exciting.
After all, this is your family’s history, so grouping them into different categories will help you understand the background about the people that came before you, the most significant milestones in their lives, and how life looked in their time.
Some of the convenient ways you could sort the photos include by period, by event, by family members, but you can come up with your own methods for grouping the photographs as long as it makes sense and is convenient to you.
Digitize Your Collection
Once your photos are safely stored and sorted, you can start thinking about how to preserve them for the long-term future. Sure, keeping them in a dry and stable place will slow down the deterioration process, but antique photos won’t be there forever, and every year you waste will only make it harder to preserve them in the future.
And the only way to ensure that the precious memories in the photos remain with you and your family forever is to use a photo digitizing service and get them moved to a digital format.
Some people consider scanning the photos themselves, but they usually end up wasting a lot of time and effort only to produce mediocre results. That’s because most people don’t have the necessary equipment to handle and digitize delicate antique photos, not to mention the advanced software used by photo restoration services.
The good news is that photo scanning services are becoming more affordable and available every year. No matter where you might be in the U.S., you can find a reliable provider that will offer competitive prices, excellent customer service, and fast turnaround.
You can leave the entire collection to professionals, give them instructions on how you want the photos sorted, and relax knowing that the memories and in good hands and will soon be protected forever.
An additional benefit of working with a professional service provider is that they will not only scan your photos but also restore them. Most antique images will not be in ideal condition and will require retouching and editing using advanced software tools.
When you entrust your photos to experienced professionals, even advanced deterioration signs can be minimized, allowing you to enjoy pictures that are not only more convenient to view in a digital format but also much more enjoyable to look at and share with your family.
When you receive the entire collection back in a DVD or cloud storage service, you can keep them in multiple places, preventing the copies from being lost even if something happened to your computer or the DVD.
You can also share them with family members across the country with a simple email, instead of having to worry about complicated shipping processes that would involve fragile old photographs.
When you look at the numerous benefits photo digitization can offer, the decision becomes a no-brainer. Since antique photos are impossible to bring back, it’s essential to be decisive and ensure they are protected while you still can.