7 tips for extending the life of a photo print

Updated: 2021-08-17

One of the best things about digital photography is the fact that you can save your precious photos in a variety of different formats. Yet, most of us take our digital photos to a printer at least once a year to make a few prints to display on our walls or frames.

You might have some photo prints posted on your fridge door or ones that are even framed and hanging on your bedroom wall. Do you know what to do to extend their life as much as possible?

Check out the following tips:

Use pigment inks

The photo industry is evolving. More and more devices are turning to digital printing, and while this is great for saving on ink costs, it is not without its disadvantages. Digital printing can result in uneven color saturation, bleed-through, and poor image quality, to name just a few.

Whenever printing photos that you plan to display, it is essential to use pigmented inks instead of dye-based inks, due to the strong archival qualities of the pigmented inks.

Heat-sensitive documents or photos printed with pigmented inks last longer and can be archived for a longer time, than the same documents printed with regular ink, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

On contrary, if the print is from a printer that uses a dye-based print technology, it can be hard to keep the prints from fading or degrading over time.

Use good paper

An important part of printing photographs is the paper. The paper can change the outcome of the look of an image from the quality of the paper to the color of the paper.

Some papers are designed to be good for photo printing while others are made for making prints that are meant to be viewed at a longer distance without losing the quality of the original picture.

Use the best brand of cheap paper that is being sold at the store, and don’t just go for any type of cheap paper. It is a good idea to read reviews and you can also experiment with glossy papers versus those with matte finishes to see which one you prefer.

Prevent Their exposure to sunlight

Light is the most important source of energy in the universe, and the sun is its main power source. It’s also the source of the most destructive type of sunlight—UV light. As the radiation from the sun reaches the Earth, it can cause a variety of problems with your electronics, ranging from fading to broken circuits and circuit boards. 

Sunlight is also among the most significant factors in the reduction of the lifespan of printed output. So, it is best to keep your printed pieces out of direct sunlight if you want to display them. It has been shown that the photos would last longer if the amount of sun exposure to the photos is limited.

Have your outputs framed

Framing your photo prints is an excellent way of displaying and protecting your favorite photos. The glass will not only filter light but will also protect your prints from dust. You should consider having your prints professionally framed in order to achieve the best results.

Photo frames are not that expensive, and that is why it would be best if you could invest in the reasonably priced ones than the cheap ones.

Do not touch your photos

I am sure that you have little amounts of oil and dirt on your fingers even though you cannot see them. Many beautiful paintings throughout history have been damaged by the oils coming from peoples fingers. Therefore it is a good idea not to touch your photos.

Have them sealed

There are many companies out there who specialize in sealing photo prints. They put a non-destructive, protective coat over the photo prints so that their lifespan can be extended even for just a little longer.

Rely on technology

Once all printed photos will reach the end of their lifespan. It is definitely a good idea to save soft copies of your photo outputs so that you can reprint them again whenever you want in the future.