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You’ve been doing photography sessions over the years and now you’re running out of wall space. You’d like to swap some of your pictures out for new ones, but what is the best way to store those older prints so that you can access them regularly but also keep them safe?

There are many options for albums on the market, but since we are mainly interested in keeping prints safe, we have to look for archival-quality options. “Archival”, in this sense, means: “Suitable for storing documents or photographs for a long period of time with minimal destruction.” Cheap (non-archival) options will result in your pictures fading and staining. All of us have pictures from our grandparents that have yellowed over the years and that’s because they weren’t stored properly.

To solve this issue, I recommend the Itoya portfolio products. I’ve been using these portfolios since I was in college and I’ve never found anything I liked as much as these. They aren’t fancy, but they’ll do the job beautifully.

itoya portfolios for preserving your portraits albums for storing photographs

They come in a large variety of sizes. I use the 8×10 portfolio for my 8×10 and 5×7 prints. The smaller prints will swim a bit, but it doesn’t bother me. If you prefer a snug fit, you can go for a smaller size. The links below will take you to Amazon.com for the product that will be good for print sizes:

Up to 5×7

Up to 8×10

Up to 11×14

Up to 16×20

Once you’ve got your portraits safely tucked away in some of these lovely portfolios, you’ll also want to keep a few other things in mind when storing your photographs:

  • Keep photographs in the coolest, driest spot in your home, such as an interior closet. Avoid damp basements and hot attics.
  • Try to avoid touching the surface of the prints with your hands. The oil and dirt from our fingers can hurt them over time.
  • Don’t stuff or over-fill any enclosure that you are putting your photographs in. The pressure and friction when pulling the pictures out can cause tiny scratches on the print.

And if you really want to geek-out on this and get it straight from the guys who archive things all day long, you can visit the National Archives website.

*The links above are affiliate links, but honestly, I’d be recommending these even if I didn’t get a (very) small commission.