How to store film

Storage PreparationJune 26, 2020

The photographic materials that you use to record images deserve a lot of care and attention. Before you accidentally expose film or paper, you must store and handle it properly for the finest possible results. Unprocessed photographic films and papers are perishable products. They can easily suffer damage by high temperatures and high relative humidities. Additionally, photographic characteristics—speed, contrast, color balance, and fog level—change gradually after manufacture. But cheap storage units Columbus Ohio are here to the rescue. We have all the conditions to prevent these changes from happening. We know how to store film, so read on and you’ll learn everything we know.

developed film
Color materials are more seriously affected than black-and-white materials because adverse conditions usually affect the emulsion layers to different degrees.

When you need to store film, keep the temperature in the unit low.

Most companies package films and papers in plastic and metal cans, foil envelopes, or polyethylene bags. This protects them from contaminants and from changes in relative humidity. Never open the original package until you are ready to use the product. Find the specific storage instructions for each product on the package. But here are a few general principles that Columbus moving companies recommend you keep in mind in order to store film safely:

  • Use the film promptly.
  • For best results, always use film before the expiration date printed on the package.

You can store color films, at temperatures up to 70/ 21°. However, you must keep all products away from places where they could be subject to excessive heat. Such places are a car parked in the sun or an attic during the summer. Remember, the glove compartment, trunk, and back window of a car in the sun become very hot on a summer day. If you carry a film in a car, always keep it in an insulated bag or cooler.

We recommend that you store professional color films in their original sealed packaging under refrigeration. Keep them at 13°C (55°F) or lower to maintain consistent performance.

  • Store color papers and display materials at 13°C (55°F) or lower in their original packages.
  • You can also store unexposed black-and-white films for short periods of time. Keep them at temperatures up to 24°C (75°F).
  • If you need to store film for a longer period of time, maintain these storage temperatures for black-and-white film whenever possible.
strip of film
Film mailed in clearly marked processing mailers sold by photo-finishers is usually not subjected to x-ray inspection.

Warm the film up after refrigeration.

If you want to store the film properly, you must prevent condensation on the surfaces of the film. This especially happens when you take it out from a refrigerator or freezer in climate-controlled storage. After you get it out of storage, remember to allow the package to warm up to room temperature before breaking the seal or opening the container. Warm-up times vary depending on the amount of material. The type of package and the storage temperature take part here as well.

Keep the relative humidity low.

  • Although the packaging helps to protect the materials from moisture, there is also humidity to look out for. Exposure to relative humidity (RH) of 60 percent or higher for long periods damages cardboard packages, labels, adhesives, and metal.
  • Humidity promotes the growth of bacteria, molds, and fungi. Some species of fungi can destroy emulsions by ingesting the gelatin.
  • Usually, the relative humidity in refrigerators and freezers is high. That’ why we advise investing in humidity-control or inspecting the packaging periodically for signs of deterioration and fungus growth.
  • Lastly, it’s a good idea to use a room dehumidifier to keep the humidity low—ideally below 50 percent RH.

Open all the packages carefully.

  • After you have opened the original packaging, the material will no longer have protection from mold that forms in high relative humidity. But also from the damaging effects of atmospheric contaminants such as chemical fumes.
  • That is why it is important to use the material promptly.
  • Chemical fumes that can harm photographic products may come from several sources. For instance: industrial emissions, motor exhausts, paints, solvents, cleaners, mothballs, chipboard, glues, mildew and fungus preventives, foam-injected insulation, fabric treatments such as permanent press and stain inhibitors, and insecticides.
  • Fumes may contain formaldehyde or aldehyde derivatives, sulfides, or other agents that can harm either unprocessed or processed photographic materials.

How to store film when you want to protect it from x-rays?

X-rays can fog the film when the level of radiation is high or when the film receives several low-level doses. That happens because the effects of x-ray exposure are cumulative. However, once you process the film, it will not be affected by x-rays. Be aware that when you travel by commercial airline, your luggage usually goes through an x-ray examination. So how to store film when traveling for example? You can avoid this danger by hand-carrying your supply, including loaded cameras. But remember to request a visual inspection. The walk-through and hand-held electronic devices are not x-ray devices and do not affect the film. Sometimes packages that you mail will also be x-rayed. If you include the unprocessed film in a package, remember to mark the package “Undeveloped Photographic Film. Please Do Not X-Ray.”

how to store film just like this one in the photo
Metal is better than wood or plastic because wood and plastic may contain preservatives or volatile substances that can affect the negatives.

How to store film negatives?

Of all photographic products, negatives usually get the least attention when it comes to the essential question of how to store film. People don’t normally display or look at them. Most of the time you print them and forget about them. However, even when you store them in the dark, color negative images do change. If you intend to reprint your color negative images, note that they require the same care and attention as other photographic images.

Most importantly, avoid a buildup of fingerprints, dirt, and dust. These contaminants often contain chemicals or fungus spores that can harm the image. If you suspect that your negatives got dirty, clean them carefully before you put them in storage. In case you are using envelopes or plastic sleeves to protect the negatives, be sure that the material is absolutely safe for them. The glossy surface of some plastic sleeves could cause stereotyping (glazing) of your color negative images. This potentially leads to density variations in a print made from it. On the other hand, paper envelopes that meet the standards for photographic materials are better for long-term storage.

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