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Monday, 23 July 2018


Maybe I'm naive about this, but what's wrong with using the original boxes that the paper came in? I've been doing this for a while (15 years or so) and no noticeable deterioration. No additional cost, always a box available, they even give you a plastic bag to put them in, and obviously no problem fitting prints to box.

And then there's these: https://www.google.com/search?q=flat+files&client=firefox-b-1&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj59um_r7XcAhWwmOAKHef7D2AQsxgIKA&biw=1184&bih=578

So Mike I'm just embarking on trying to GROW my "pile of prints" - having not printed much in the last decade or so, and am thinking about how to store them once I get up to speed again.

I was planning to use screwpost portfolios, rather than boxes, and using one per year (or whatever time period seems reasonable).

My thinking is that I prefer to have my prints bound in some fashion (but easily un-doable), rather than loose in a box. Is there a downside to this that I'm not seeing, or is loose in a box just your personal preference?

Library supply firms such as Gaylord http://www.gaylord.com/ (no association) also supply a variety of archival products and have helpful info on their website. I bought stuff from them for many years as a post secondary institutional purchaser

I'm fully on-board with ya, Mike, that print boxes are the way to go to store, archive, and review prints. I've also been doing this for years. Nice thing is they, can be organized by project.

But, I'm having a bit of a dèjá vu, here, all over again.

Wasn't there a (nearly identical) article about this on TOP a coupla three years or so ago? ;-)


I recommend the yellow boxes Kodak used for selling enlarger papers in packs of 100 sheets . Also good are the Agfa boxes, but they are reddish. If you like blue, then go for Foma. Ilford is greyish.

Hahnemühle and Canson boxes have the advantage that they are available for 25 sheets. Good for horizontal storing.

I have dozens upon dozens of these. They age well, i.e not at all.

Remember feeling very adult and professional when I got my first Spink and Gaborc- and they hammered the handle in for you in person when requested and picked up.

Clearly your budget is much bigger than mine. Your cases would bankrupt me. I juse 3 ring binders with archival sleeves for my mostly 8x10 or smaller prints.

Wow, I actually own all three types of these cases, they all work quite nicely. My favorite is the hinged type with the carry handle but I only have one of that style. The others work just fine and I consider the last one for WIP prints that have not yet been matted for presentation. Matting is also another topic for discussion, perhaps other comments may dive into matting preferences such as the Matt covering just a bit of the image or the print showing a slight gap on all edges before the Matt opening ? I'm not sure what that style is called, a floating Matt ?

When I worked at an art museum, we made a practice of interleaving archival tissue between works, even those that were matted, just so there was no chance of abrading the surface during handling and storage. I think you have mentioned Ken Tanaka being involved with the Art Institute of Chicago, I wonder if he could check on current best practices for storage of photographic prints? We also ordered materials from Gaylord Brothers, University Products, Light Impressions, Talas and others.

In the UK Silverprint (www.silverprint.co.uk) do a good line in portfolio boxes which I have used and can recommend.

All fine options, but you only need them if you, ... well, print. ;-))
I hope all the previous discussions helped in that regard.
Remember, think more about what you Get, and less about what you have to give.
Someday , your Prints will come....

So this is the answer to the "pile of prints" problem? Put them into boxes!

Those storage boxes are great: they can banish the pile o' prints problem right to the back of the storage closet!

Mike said: It's really strange that after a great many years with standardized photo paper sizes, ... it's pointless, needless, and confusing.

At the start of the digital-age most people, not Very Serious Photographers, use Costco or other Big Box stores for their printing. These BBStores use Fujifilm or Norita printers that make laser prints on 12x18 photo paper, not 8x10 or 11x14.

One LaserJet lab's standard sizes are 8 x 6, 10 x 8, 12 x 8, 15 x 10, 20 x 16 , 24 x 20 , 30 x 24, 36 x 24 , 48 x 36 and 55 x 40—but no 12x18 8-)

Now-a-days inexpensive cameras, like Canon's Rebel SL2, shoot in 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. So don't expect things to improve.

BTW I use a 13x19 Itoya Art Profolio, for about a dozen prints.

I prefer viewing photographs as prints, but I don't have the wall space for large images or the equipment or skill to produce "fine art" prints. My compromise is to produce photo books, printing on double-sided matte paper or printing single-sided on glossy or higher quality papers and then spiral binding the pages between heavier weight covers. There's obviously a limit to the size of image you can present this way, and there is also a need to "frame" the image with generous margins to make it look right in this format, but the result is something that is easy to browse through and that can sit on your coffee table and discreetly attract attention. Of course, you can do much the same thing more easily and cheaply through Blurb or some other book production service, although I find the do-it-yourself approach more satisfying.

I also like to print on cards. It's a nice way of personalizing your messages and a good way of inflicting your pictures on friends.

David Francis

Heretical thoughts here...

...if you get your printing technique nailed down correctly... then you just rip up the print, and you can reprint an identical one five years into the future if you want it again.

...if it's a limited edition, you rip it up, and keep the bit with the signature, and you resign the new copy.

It makes dealing with the expense of getting prints returned after a distant exhibition much simpler and more economical... just ask the gallery to rip them up and post you the sections with the signatures.

I've given up on standard sizes; besides, by the time you add a 1" or 2" border around an 8x10 or 11x14 print it's no longer standard anyway. The real fun begins when someone asks for an 8x10 print of a 3:1 panorama, and doesn't understand why it can't be done. But thanks for this article and links, it's timely for me as I'm starting to accumulate enough prints to officially have my first pile.

Archival Methods offers clamshell boxes in digital paper sizes.

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