Basics of Keeping Your Negs Safe


If you don’t want your film to be ruined, follow these tips!

Film archiving is important if you don’t want your negatives to be ruined. I’ve found mine to be coated with dust, growing fungus or scratched in my years of shooting and it can be a nightmare! As a result, you learn that you should treat your negatives properly (assuming you cherish and want to keep them).

Some of my endless pile of negatives:

So if you’re keep on keeping your negs in top-top condition, there are certain things you should do.

1. The most basic thing to buy:
Archival-quality storage sheets – do an online search and you will find them on sale on Amazon and other websites. These sheets are acid-free, among other things, so well acid won’t eat into your film. There are clear and translucent ones, and they usually come with holes on the side so you can keep them in binders (found in bookshops). There is also a slot on the sheet usually for you to fill in details about the negatives.

2. A second option to boost protection:
There are archival storage binders too, which you can find on sale on archiving shops (they have many online) – there are boxes too, which provide a more secure storage place as they keep water and dust out. If you don’t want to make the investment, you can always use normal files.

3. And you could go one step further:
Buy a dry cabinet if you don’t already have one, or a dehumidifier, so you can keep your negatives (and cameras!) even better protected from moisture and the evil film-destroying fungus.

Have fun archiving!

written by cherieamour on 2011-08-31 #gear #tutorials #film #tipster #film-tipster-negative-archival-archive-safe-protection-basics-film


  1. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    I've the dry cabi, but it's too small for all my cameras ... Not to say any of my negatives haha.. I might get a big dry box and store my negs! :p

  2. cherieamour
    cherieamour ·

    @awesomesther: haha i had that problem too and bought a bigger dry cabi in the end! it fits lots of cameras and you can store film at the bottom. i use the small one to store my equipment that have grown fungus (sad)!! a big dry box for your negs sounds good! ((:

  3. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    @cherieamour I have A LOT of those envelopes filled with negs. I think if I were to use a Dry Cabi, I need a HUGE one... So I think buying a huge dry box is more economical hahaha :D When I am rich, I shall have 1 entire dry store room for all my cameras, lenses and negs!!! HAHA :D

  4. cherieamour
    cherieamour ·

    @awesomesther: me too! heaps of them... that's why this filing thing sounds good, i should get round to doing it to all of my negs soon! haha... you could also put them all into a file and fit them in a teeny cabi (: but yes the entire room sounds ideal! i was actually thinking of buying a dehumidifier, i think that'll work for a room, although i think if you use aircon 24/7 it'll be the same too (:

  5. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    @cherieamour I think air con 24/7 would cost A BOMB hahaha :p I think U can try the dehumidifier and let us know how it goes :D

  6. milou2011
    milou2011 ·

    Another good ideas, instead of an archiving binders, you can use a binder that closed with a zipper around. It is not totaly waterproof but it certainly can do the job for dust. If you can't buy a dry cabinet, you can use a good old trunk or any big metal box. Put some old newspaper in it ; the paper absorb the humidity. Change the newspaper regularly if it is really humide. It's also good to make a contact sheet of every pages. It's easier to find a particular picture.

  7. cherieamour
    cherieamour ·

    @awesomesther haha yes it would but i know some people who can't live without aircon 24/7!

    @milou2011 yes the old newspaper idea is v workable and cheap, it certainly absorbs lots of moisture (: the contact sheet idea is great too! i prefer to write details on the film sheet or a post-it as its not always convenient to have a contact sheet done (: thanks for adding the tips!

  8. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    @milou2011 wooo.. the old newspaper idea sounds GREAT!!! and really economical + GREEN too... I might give that a go soon... First, need to find a big box :p

  9. milou2011
    milou2011 ·

    Trunks can be find in a good old second hand shop. White gloves (the museum kind of gloves or plain white cotton gloves) are another good thing to have when you manipulate you negative and pictures so you avoid leaving finger prints on your stuff. You can use it to dust off too before scanning it. That and a can of Compressed-gas duster (the same we use for cleaning the keyboard of our computer)

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