Photographs need to be organized as well as protected. Professional loose-leaf albums are great for organizing. However, many commercially-available albums, as well as the familiar old photo albums with black paper pages, are considered potentially hazardous because they may have been made of unsafe materials. "Magnetic" photo albums can leave adhesive residues on images, and vinyl album pages can give off harmful fumes.
The photographs can be arranged on archival paper pages and mounted with archival photo corners. Then the completed pages are best stored in clear Mylar or polypropylene pockets/sleeves.
Even recently-made photographs in standard sizes (3" x 5", 4 " x 6", and 5" x 7") can be stored safely, by using multi-pocket album pages made of inert polypropylene instead of non-archival PVC plastics.
- Always protect your photos from direct sunlight.
- The wrong adhesives can degrade over time and damage your photo.
- Store in a temperature controlled environment. High humidity can encourage mold growth. Do not store photographs in basements, attics and garages.
- Always use professional storage materials specifically designed for long-term stability (called "archival" products). Surprisingly, many of the products sold by frame shops and retailers contain materials like high-acid wood pulp and Polyvinyl Chloride that can trigger deterioration. So do your research.