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 #film #trucos #pelicula #negatives #artesanal #almacenamiento #archivo #store #negativos #select-what-this-tipster-is-about #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.

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