My Perfect Archive System to Store Negatives: Useful, Easy and Cheap


One thing that really makes me angry is the fact of knowing that I have something but I can´t find it by the chaos and the disorder. It was crazy trying to find a negative to re-scan, make copies on paper or simply see it. It was virtually impossible to find it immediately. It took hours and hours looking in all places to have the negative. The situation was desperate.

I needed to use a filing or archive system that would allow me to simultaneously:

  • Keep the negatives protected.
  • That was a convenient storage and easy to use.
  • Quick search for a specific negative.
  • Cheap and affordable system.
  • Open to improvements and modifications in the future.

With these needs in mind, I was maturing a system that suits my personal needs. The solution I found in a useful document files. I tried to move the function of my file folders to my back negative-file. The materials I used are:

  • Document Classification Folder (2.5 € in any Chinese store).
  • Paper sheets (as many as pages have the classifier)
  • Adhesive tape (1 € x 2 rolls in the same chinese store)
  • Tags-adhesive stickers (0.50 € in the Chinese store too)
(You see, the material is so common and affordable as cheap)

The idea is to make a document archiving system, which associates each reel or roll to a sheet numbered for easy location. To do this, we create with our computer a sheet template to be filled later with data from each film. I have printed (without fill the forms) all sheets. Each time you save a roll, fill the form by hand. You may want to do everything at hand and will be more analog …

The fields chosen for the roll information, in my case, were:

  • Number: (Number ID. I have put in a circle to indicate it)
  • Date: (When the images were taken)
  • Location: (Place where taken)
  • Camera: (Info and model of your best friend…)
  • Accessories: (Extras you used, lens, filters, back, etc.).
  • Film: (Type, model, ISO,…)
  • Comments: (Additional information of interest to indentify and locate better the roll: “First roll with redscale”, “Birthday Party of dad”, “Holidays in Hawaii, 2011”,… ).

The next step is to put the films on every page of the archive. With this, all pages display data of the film. Then’ll stick with some tape (if you have double-layer adhesive tape will be better), the film to the sheet. Glue also a bumper sticker to the film. Thus we can identify each numered film with the right sheet number, in case that separate desired film to return to scanning, copying, etc.. These have always identified each of our sheets of film.

Additionally, I like to keep the boxes of some reels. Therefore, what I do is disassemble the box and paste near the negatives and in the data sheet. I only do this with movies rather strange and unusual. So I can better locate in the future if I want to buy it back.

Now I plan to put on the back of the cover, a list that associates the number of the film with the description. This will allow me to take a look at the list and see if the negative is there (without having to review the information on all sheets one by one). Another option is to paste the sheet of contacts on each page, or put the scanned CD images too. This would facilitate the location of pretty pictures.

Therefore, you can customize to your personal likes. I think I got what I wanted: a system convenient, simple, cheap and keep my negatives.

Do you have any idea to improve it? What system do you use to store your negatives? Do not hesitate to expose your suggestions!

written by jesushp on 2011-08-24 in #gear #tipster #select-type-of-tipster #trucos #negatives #film #almacenamiento #archivo #store #pelicula #negativos #select-what-this-tipster-is-about #artesanal #archive
translated by jesushp


  1. sidsel
    sidsel ·

    I use a system which is almost the same as yours. My negatives are stored in chronological order, and in the first three pages I have four different index-classification: by date [eg 1999-01: negatives 1,2,3...], by camera [listed alphabetically, eg. agfa isolette II = negatives 4, 16...], by film [first divided into bw/color negative/slide, then each section is alphabetically ordered, and again eg agfa ct precisa= negatives 5, 9...] , by place [once again, in alphabetical order].
    It's a bit complicated and might sound boring for some, but I love archiving so I could eventually add other types of classification, like "people in the picture" or "dominant color of the shot"... maybe I will! :-) Nice article, I'm sure a lot of people will find it useful!

  2. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    Great! I really need something to store my cut negs, this is a good idea! The ones that aren't cut I store in the film can with a sticker with the info and then keep it in boxes - the Horizon box, the Spinner box... :) Thanks! ;)

  3. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    This is a good system for cut negatives. My storage issues are for my uncut film.... :)

  4. micheal
    micheal ·

    I really like this system of storing and keeping negs.

More Interesting Articles

  • The Instant Project

    written by suizidekid on 2015-06-23 in #world #lifestyle
    The Instant Project

    It was a cold and cloudy winter day in 2012 when I came up with the idea of compiling photographs of people's faces. I decided that the most personal way to do it is through instant shots. They are one of a kind and you immediately have something in your hands.

  • Early Inspirations in Film Photography: A Tomato Project

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-10-21 in #lifestyle
    Early Inspirations in Film Photography: A Tomato Project

    I’m lucky enough and old enough to have grown up in an era where film was the only form of photography available. I’ve always had a passion for film but it was a certain series of images that inspired me and changed my idea of photography forever. Find out what that was after the jump.

  • Tipster: DIY X-Pro Redscale

    written by rancliffhasenza on 2015-09-27 in #gear #tipster
    Tipster: DIY X-Pro Redscale

    Browsing through the Lomography website, you can find a lot of redscale shots, which are all done on color negative films. I asked myself if it’s possible to redscale a slide or chrome film and then cross process it. (And yes, it is.) In this tipster I’m going to teach you how to create the bloodiest homemade redscale film I've ever come across.

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • Lorenzo Antico's 'Final Shot' Presents Last Shots From 33 Films

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-05-12 in #world #lifestyle #videos
    Lorenzo Antico's 'Final Shot' Presents Last Shots From 33 Films

    A movie's parting shot is a crucial element in the sense that it could either make or break the lasting impression that it would have on its audience. It could either wrap things up quite nicely and leave viewers satisfied, or it could do otherwise. For many, it's often the first thing that comes to mind long after the final credits have rolled out.

  • The New Petzval Lens: For Portraits with Swirly Bokeh

    written by wesco on 2014-11-27 in #reviews
    The New Petzval Lens: For Portraits with Swirly Bokeh

    My brother purchased the new Petzal lens by Lomography and Zenit through the Kickstarter campaign. Last spring, I was able to borrow it for a few weeks. Read on to find out my first impressions of this portrait lens!

  • The Gevabox of Wonders

    written by stratski on 2014-11-18 in #reviews
    The Gevabox of Wonders

    Sometimes you see a camera and you just have to have it. I felt that way about this lovely little box camera. Looks don't mean a thing, I know, but in this case, the looks didn't deceive me.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Lomography X Das Salz der Erde Competition Winners

    written by petit_loir on 2015-04-27 in #world #competitions
    Lomography X Das Salz der Erde Competition Winners

    On the occasion of the German DVD release of Wim Wenders' latest documentary, "Das Salz der Erde (The Salt of the Earth)," on April 9, we asked you to send us your best black and white photographs. You have done your best and so making the decision was quite difficult. Read on to find out who will be celebrating with DVDs and piggies!

  • Transient Living: The Craft and the Craftsmen of Denver, Colorado

    written by maliha on 2014-12-10 in #world #locations
    Transient Living: The Craft and the Craftsmen of Denver, Colorado

    The people of a city, to me, speak volumes about its culture and sense of community. And that is why I sought out the people who make Denver that much more interesting after the initial period of settling down. My search lead to a few establishments that have contributed to making Denver what it is today. In the second story on Transient Living, I present to you two of such establishments: The Craftsman & Apprentice, and A Small Print Shop.

  • Finally, My Own Petzval Lens

    written by pearlgirl77 on 2014-11-20 in #reviews
    Finally, My Own Petzval Lens

    In April of this year I had the chance to test the Petzval Lens and to write a review on it for the German photography forum Kwerfeldein. The lens excited me from the very beginning, at the time it was introduced on Kickstarter. I was afraid that once I had tested the lens, I would want to have one of my own! Well, that’s what happened; a year later, I finally bought my very own Petzval lens.

  • Shop News

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Done shooting and want your films to be processed? We can process your colour and black & white 35mm, 120 or 110 films! Development, prints and scans are also included. (Service availability depends on your markets)

  • The World According to Herr Willie: The Amazon

    written by wil6ka on 2015-04-09 in #world #locations
    The World According to Herr Willie: The Amazon

    It was the Amazon which I had longed for my whole life. And when it was finally a set deal that I will travel to Brazil with two of my best friends for the Copa do Mundo (World Cup), we really had to start our adventure in the Amazon. I had known about this magical place deep in the rainforest. There was a lodge run by local people of indigenous background, with wooden houses that float on the water and a limited number of visitors. It was eco-tourism as how it should be. To preserve and to celebrate one of the most impressive locations I have seen so far.

  • Parallel Universes Courtesy of the LC-A Family and Splitzer

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-09-13 in #gear #news
    Parallel Universes Courtesy of the LC-A Family and Splitzer

    If we are to make literal interpretations of parallel universes, they would probably look something like these. Step into our gallery and while you're at it, find out how you can earn piggies and have your own photographs be featured on the Online Shop!

  • Pushing Boundaries: So I Heard You Like Multiple Exposures

    written by Amber Valentine on 2015-04-11 in #world #tipster
    Pushing Boundaries: So I Heard You Like Multiple Exposures

    My name is Amber Valentine and I have a confession to make: I’m not really a photographer. I have a website full of photographs, a bookshelf full of cameras, film waiting to be developed, and a wall full of framed pictures I’ve taken. Even so, I don’t really consider myself a photographer per se. I think that Lomography is more about the experimentation and the fun of film than it is about the photography, and that experimentation is part of the reason I have embraced Lomography so.