JACK SAADY - The Wedding Photojournalist Association
When making a decision about a wedding
photography package, couples often ask, "Will the negatives
be included for us to keep?" The answer varies. Some photographers
prefer to keep the negatives because the photographer or studio
is skilled at preserving these precious originals.
If couples do purchase the negatives or have them included
in their wedding package price, the responsibility for preserving
these important originals falls to the couple. Here are some
guidelines that should be followed for the safest storage.
Negatives should be stored in archival negative sleeves and
the sleeves placed inside an acid-free box. The box should
be clearly labeled.
Place a desiccant (silica gel pouch) inside the box to prevent
mold and mildew.
Store in a cool and humidity controlled room.
Safe Handling of Negatives
Negatives are most easily damaged when they are removed from
the archival sleeves. Dust, scratches and fingerprints can
result when negatives are removed from the protective sleeves.
Negatives can be permanently ruined if bent or creased. This
can happen with any negatives but especially larger (medium
format) negatives are prone to creases from improper handling.
If you must remove the negatives from the archival sleeves,
handle them only by the edges with cotton gloves.
You can avoid removing the negatives from the archival sleeves
by simply viewing them while they are in the sleeves. Negatives
do not need to be removed from the archival sleeves until they
are at the lab to be printed.
If you wish to only print a part of the image or 'crop' the
image, follow the instructions of the photography lab that
is printing the negatives. Sometimes, special negative sleeves
and cropping guide tools are used. The lab can provide these,
or, if you order prints over a customer service counter, the
customer service person will assist you.
Storage of Negatives
Room temperature will work well for short-term storage. However,
long term storage of negatives calls for special care. Relative
humidity should be kept below 60 percent. Using a room dehumidifier
and silica gel helps further control the humidity inside the
box. Keep the storage containers away from windows, radiators,
and warm air registers. Coolest possible temperatures are best
for long-term storage.
Light can affect the photographic dyes in color negatives.
Storage temperatures for true black and white negatives is
not as critical as for color negatives. Some newer types of
black and white negatives are actually black and white images
recorded on film that contains color dyes. Check with your
photographer to get the specific name and type of film you
While humidity and heat control is still important, fading
due to light exposure is a further concern for color negatives.
It is best to place negatives in metal drawers or file boxes.
Metal is superior to wood or plastic because woods and plastics
may contain volatile substance that can adversely affect your
negatives. Properly stored color negatives can be printed many
times without noticeable fading.
Protection from humidity, heat, and light combined with careful
handling to avoid dust, scratches and bending will ensure that
negatives will last for many years to come
by JACK SAADY - The Wedding Photojournalist
© 2003 The Wedding Photojournalist Association
The Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) consists of
professional photographers that document weddings and events
in a candid, natural way. We prefer to work in an unobtrusive
way capturing the real moments as they happen. Most of us have
developed our skills working for newspaper and/or magazine