Conservation: Photographs

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The evocative nature of photography is its ability to capture a figure, a moment, an emotion, and then to allow us to linger upon it.

There are many different processes that have been used throughout the history of photography. Three of the earliest, but not the only, are the daguerreotype, the tintype, and the ambrotype. To maintain their quality, each method requires a unique conservation technique. Even maintaining a collection of modern, color photographs takes care and attention. The one universal, though, is the perfect conditions for storage: dark, cool and dry.


  • Do not touch photographs with bare hands
  • Consult a conservator for appropriate light, temperature and humidity settings
  • Store photographs in safe individual compartments, like archival boxes, plastic sleeves, or acid-free paper
  • Due to the differences within the photographic process, contact a conservator to discuss the appropriate care for your collection
  • If framing photographs, use a glass that filters ultraviolet light, like UF-3 Plexiglas
  • If mounting, only use material that has passed PAT (Photographic Activity Test)
  • If photograph is damaged, always refer to a conservator. Never attempt to mend it
  • Keep documentation of all photographs. Only write on the back of photographs in #2 pencil

Featured Providers

AAMG / Art Asset Management Group, Inc.

[Not Rated Yet]
Xiliary Twil, Accredited Senior Appraiser Fine Art 8549 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 184
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

PhotoArts Imaging Professionals, LLC

[Not Rated Yet]
Kim R. Du Boise, P.A.-AIC 123 Buchanan Road
Hattiesburg, MS 39401-9545

West Lake Conservators Ltd.

[Not Rated Yet]
Susan Blakney Box 45
4207 Rail Road Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152

Orlandini Art Conservation

[Not Rated Yet]
Valeria Orlandini 4515 Willard Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815


[Not Rated Yet]
George Schwartz 6620 E Rogers Cir
Boca Raton, FL 33487

The Better Image NJ Studio

Peter Mustardo P. O. Box 48
37 Carpenter Street
Milford, NJ 08848

Heller Conservation Services

[Not Rated Yet]
Thomas and Dawn Heller
Nashville, TN

Heller Conservation Services

[Not Rated Yet]
Thomas and Dawn Heller
Greenbrier, Tennessee

Mckay Lodge Conservation Lab., Inc.

[Not Rated Yet]
Robert Lodge 10915 Pyle Rd.
Oberlin, OH 44074