Floppy prints are what we call unprotected loose prints, before they are matted, framed, or properly stored. You've just spent money hiring a professional photographer, buying prints, and of course want these archival quality photos to last multiple generations, so make sure to follow these care tips to protect your precious memories! The best option is going to a local framer to have your prints framed, but the following are some at-home steps you can take now to help preserve your prints.
Handling: Try your best to not touch the face of the photo; handle around the edges with clean hands when necessary, or use microfiber or nitrile gloves. Please don't mark on the back of your photos! There are other really great ways to organize them and remember dates, but marking on them can cause the acid from the pen ink to harm the photo ink.
Storing: For many families, especially military families, moving frequently is a part of life, and photos are taken from their displays and stored for the big move. For proper storing in a box, make sure it's an acid-free box. Keep photos in a dry, cool (preferably 70*F and below) environment, away from humidity. Keeping your photos out of humidity is the single most important factor in preserving your photographs! There are paper enclosures and boxes that are made to store photographs that are acid and lignin-free! They can be found at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or on Amazon. Any mats used to frame around your photo should also be acid free! Make sure to store the photos flat, not curved, to prevent warping.
Displaying: Again, I do recommend going to a professional framer, but sometimes clients have special frames that have personal meaning or find frames that they love at budget stores. A quick caution: these frames are usually not made for archival prints. Ensure the print face does not touch the glass! A framer will do this for you, but if you're DIYing, you can buy spacers for this. If your frame doesn't specify that it is acid-free, it most likely isn't. If you choose to use a frame that is not archival quality, you can put a piece of acid-free scrapbook paper behind your photo to help shield it from the acids in the cardboard. Most importantly, your frame should have protective glass. Think about it this way: if your child (or friend!) was running around the house with a slurpee in hand and they tripped and fell, would glass be easier to clean, or the face of a photo? Yes, glass protects images, even with its sometimes irritating glare (there is an option of museum-quality acrylic instead of glass that will completely eliminate glare, but that's a topic for another day!) Additionally, do your best to keep your prints out of the sunlight (direct or indirect) to preserve them!
Here's a link to acid free mats that will keep your photos from touching the glass frame, and look really classy!
If you use the affiliate links above to purchase your mats, I do get a small percentage of your purchase. This helps small businesses like mine continue to bring you tips! Thank you!
If you have any questions, Life Alive Photography is here to help, so please comment below, email, or call!