Copies Rock

If you’ve been following my little blogging attempts for a while you’ll know that I have a great passion for old photos. Looking at them, talking about them, the people and places they show, and also displaying them. It’s my thing.

While a lot of people have kept negatives and slides from decades ago, and have the printed photo in an album or a picture frame, most would be hard pressed to find that particular negative or slide to have another print made, should their first print get lost or damaged in any way. And the vast majority of people do not even have any negatives or slides, either because they were thrown out eons ago or because their old photos are from a time where there weren’t any negatives. Or the photo they have hanging on the wall in their bedroom was done by a professional photographer, who didn’t hand out negatives or copies.

Displaying an original is not a good idea, because it definitely will get exposed to light (sunlight or artificial light) and very likely get exposed to dust, humidity, to the acids in non-archival frames, backings and matting, or get stuck to the glass of the frame, which happens more often than you might think.

Have a look around your home: if you have any photos displayed – and you should šŸ™‚ – are they the originals?

If they are, I suggest you tackle this task over your next free weekend, and have copies made, or make them yourself. Then you put the copy back up in its frame on the mantle piece and the original photo safely in an archival album. That way your original is not in any danger.

If it is already a copy, well done. Better check you still have that original, or the negative, or the slide, and if not, get a copy of that copy.

To get copies is so easy these days:

  • Use your copy/printer and simply print a copy of your photo. Naturally a copy on ordinary white copy paper won’t deliver a flash result, maybe you want to look into investing in some proper photo paper, it has come down in price a lot in recent years
  • Maybe you have a copy/printer + scanner. Scan your photo, save it on a thumb drive and go to your nearest photo print place. Prints cost next to nothing these days, and if it’s a good photo print place, they will be able to assist you if you have any questions.
  • If you have a fancy camera: put your photo on a flat white surface in a well lit room (no direct sunlight) and take a photo of your photo. You can then either upload on a computer or laptop or take your memory card directly to a photo print place. Or print it yourself if you have a decent printer and want to invest in photo paper.
  • Use your smartphone as you would the fancy camera.

Old photos in particular have odd sizes. Simply print bigger and use some fancy scissors to cut them out, like I did with the two shown in the picture.

Copies rock

Copies rock. I have a whole lot of them of original family photos like that, and I change them around all the time šŸ™‚




  1. Garrulous Gwendoline

    Eeek! Don’t go planting such ideas in my mind. I already have so many unfinished projects. And just the other day I was looking at a framed photo remarking to myself how much it has faded. And I know exactly where the negative is! But by the way, what places still print from negatives?

    1. azpictured

      Haha Gwen sorry. I know how you feel šŸ™‚ Regarding printing from negatives, you might have a hard time finding any photo places who still print from negatives, I know there are a few in the US but I don’t know any here. And for the US ones it would mean sending your negatives away which is a thought I don’t like. You’d have to find a ‘Digitizing’ place, there a a fair few around. Just google ‘digitize negatives’ and it should give you a localized search. I cannot recommend any as I have not worked with any. You can also do it yourself at home but would have to purchase a ‘negative/slide scanner’. They are readily available via amazon and possibly through Camera House and the like. This device has the advantage that it doesn’t need to be connected to a computer, it has a view finder which lets you look at the negative before you decide whether you want to scan it, and if you scan it it will save the negative directly on a memory card. So it’ll be digitized and from there you can go on getting prints. I am looking into getting one myself, so I might keep you posted on that one šŸ™‚

  2. Susi Lovell

    I’m going through my slides now and then I’ll start on the negatives. I was a compulsive negative keeper! I have a ‘negative/slide scanner’ as I’d like to digitize the photos for my daughter. The one I got isn’t expensive – and it’s simple and very quick. I wish I was better with digital editing once they’re in my laptop! Great idea to use fancy scissors to keep the photos looking old – thanks for that! Also that’s a great idea to put copies rather than originals in frames.

    1. azpictured

      Yes I guess I’m a compulsive copy maker of originals of any kind šŸ™‚ Good on you for trying to stay on top of it all. And I’m hearing more and more good things about those little scanner thingies so I’m definitely getting one myself. For general editing like contrast and de-speckle and such there should be many good and free editing softwares about. For fixing more damage there’s always me šŸ˜‰ The scissors idea came from a scrapbooking passionate friend, happy to be passing it on.

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