Digital Photo Printing Tips
Photographs taken with film can fade with age, but digital photographs retain the same colour and clarity every time you view them on your computer screen. Your digital photos will last forever if you take good care of them. Below we have some helpful tips for storing, displaying printing and archiving your digital images.
Inkjet printers that are especially configured for printing colour photographs will offer 6 or more colours to provide superior colour graduation as well as colour matching. If you are planning on printing lots of photographs you should consider purchasing an inkjet printer which has separate ink cartridges for each colour and includes special photo inks.
The kind of ink and photo paper that you use can have a significant effect on the lifespan of your photograph. The standard photo ink for inkjet printers will typically last a maximum of 20 years. Inkjet photos always fade faster than photos done in a photo lab or a digital photo printing booth. Photo labs use a special ink that is archival quality and can last well over 100 years. Kiosks use a dye-sublimation process where layers of film are fused onto a special paper. These are more expensive but the prints that are produced are dirt and water resistant and last up to 5 times as long as inkjet prints.
If you are looking for excellent quality photo prints, you should use the glossy photo paper that is recommended by the printer manufacturer. These photo papers are always configured to work best with the printer’s inks to offer the top quality and longest lasting photo prints.
Photo Storage Tips
Memories will fade but you don’t want this to happen to your digital photos. No photo print is going to last forever and contact with artificial and natural light, pollutants in the air and the humidity of the environment in which the print is stored will cause it to fade over time. You should always avoid storing photos in direct sunlight; it is not even a good idea to store photos under a bright light indoors. Harsh light can cause the ink to break down and the pictures will quickly begin to fade. Also avoid heat, like sunlight heat can cause the ink to break down faster then normal. It is best to store your photos in a cool, dark area where you won’t need to worry about temperature fluctuations. You will need to avoid humidity; it’s obvious that water is bad for pictures but humidity can permanently damage your digital prints and speed up deterioration. High concentrates of pollutants and ozone in the air with significantly increase deterioration in your digital prints. Even if you live in an area with low pollution, it’s still not a good idea to leave your prints constantly exposed to the air.
The best way to protect your digital prints is to put them in photo albums with clear protective covers. The clear covers protect the photos from moisture and air pollution and keeping them inside the album prevents fading and exposure to light. If you don’t fancy using photo albums, you should find sealable containers to store photos in as they will also protect your digital prints from light, moisture and pollutants. Regardless of which photo storage method you use, make sure you keep the albums or containers in cool, dark places to avoid temperature fluctuations.
A print displayed on a brightly sunlit wall may fade faster than you would expect it to. Similarly, a print displayed behind glass will last considerably longer than one in contact with the air. You can extend the life of your printed photos by putting them in frames with glass panels.