How to extend the life of your photo prints so your memories don't fade away

Photo prints
(Image credit: Ezra Korkmaz)

The preservation of printed images is not only important on a personal level but also for museums worldwide that rely on them to educate society on bygone times. However, time can take a toll on old photographic prints, making it a challenge to see the subject in detail and original colour. 

Generally speaking, black-and-white prints have a longer lifespan than colour ones – this is because most colour processes use dyes on different standards that fade at different rates over time. Often, the blue colour layer fades faster, creating tints after just a few years. For instance, prints from the 1950s tend to have a red tint, while photographs taken in the 1970s will often now feature a yellow tint.

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Kim Bunermann
Technique Editor

Kim is the Technique Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine. She specializes in architecture, still life and product photography and has a Master's degree in Photography and Media with a distinction from the FH Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany. While studying, Kim came to the UK for an exchange term at the London College of Communication. She settled in the UK and began her career path by joining Future. Kim focuses on tutorials and creative techniques, and particularly enjoys interviewing inspiring photographers who concentrate on a range of fascinating subjects including women in photography, the climate crisis; the planet, its precious creatures and the environment.