Inkjet prints will last longest when they are protected from direct sunlight, heat, humidity and airborne chemicals. Storing them in ø¢â‚¬Ëœarchival’ albums provides the very best protection but, with today’s long-lasting inks and papers there’s no reason not to put prints out on display – as long as you consider these issues.
Inkjet prints will last longest when they are protected from direct sunlight, heat, humidity and airborne chemicals. Storing them in ‘archival’ albums provides the very best protection but, with today’s long-lasting inks and papers there’s no reason not to put prints out on display – as long as you consider the following issues:
1. Strong, direct sunlight can cause both traditional photos and inkjet prints to fade over time. Magenta dyes are the most susceptible to fading in dye-based inkjet prints and this will cause a colour shift in the picture that is often quite unattractive.
2. Ozone is the main chemical that can cause inkjet prints to change colour. Again, prints made with dye inks are the most susceptible with cyan dyes being the fastest to fade.
3. Fading is faster in polluted urban environments than in clean, rural areas – unless the prints are displayed in rooms frequented by smokers. Cigarette smoke contains many chemicals that can attack dye inks and settling smoke will disperse a fine layer of ash over the surface of prints, subduing their vivid colours and reducing overall contrast.
4. Humid tropical cities like Darwin and Cairns place prints at risk of fungal attack, whereas fungus-affected prints are rare in dry cities like Alice Springs and Adelaide. A relative humidity of 40% and temperature of between 15 and 22 degrees Celsius is recommended as the ideal conditions for long-term print storage.
Always wear cotton gloves when handling valuable prints to prevent damage to the print’s surface. If you have to remove a print from a frame and find it has stuck to the glass, seek the advice of a professional conservator.
If you print with dye inks, always allow at least half an hour for the colours to stabilise before judging colour accuracy. For all inkjet prints we recommend covering each print with a sheet of plain paper as it comes off the printer and leaving the prints covered for at least 24 hours before framing or mounting them. Encapsulating prints in plastic (‘laminating’) is a useful way to protect prints from airborne chemicals if you want to display them without having to frame them.
Keep at least two archived copies of each image you print in digital form, preferably in different locations. Computer hard disks may crash unpredictably so having additional copies ensures your valuable images remain accessible – and reprintable. Save images at a minimum of 300 dpi resolution in JPEG and TIFF format. JPEG images can be viewed in most applications and are easily compressed so they download and email quickly. TIFF files are ideal for archiving and printing and offer the maximum amount of detail, colour and flexibility.
This is an excerpt from Mastering Digital Photography Pocket Guide 2nd Edition.
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