Resource: How Best to Store and Organise Your Analogue Work

How Best to Store and Organise Your Analogue Work

Resource: How Best to Store and Organise Your Analogue Work

On Photography

As part of our Develop at Home series, we hosted a live Q&A on Instagram with Alice from Parallax Photographic Coop to learn more about best practice when it comes to storing and organising your analogue work. Here are some key takeaways from the conversation.

Parallax Photographic Coop are a film and darkroom supplier based in Brixton, South London.


Top Tips for Handling and Storing Film

A photograph of a roll of film laid out on a blue surface.

1. The second you process your film or get it back from the developers, think about the long term.

You want it to be easy to find after a few years when you have developed loads more rolls of film. People often make the mistake of forgetting about this part but try to do the organising job as soon as you get the film or prints. This can really improve your workflow in the future.

White gloves laid out on a blue background.

2. Use a pair of gloves when handling the film.

There are natural oils on your hands that can leave finger-marks on film. Wearing cotton gloves will protect it and prevent touching up in post-production.

A film camera on top of a contact sheet on a blue background.

3. Store your film in sleeves.

Keeping your film in A4 sleeves makes it easy to sort through them and they are archival so will prevent film from getting damaged.

A loop on top of a sleeve of film on a blue background.

4. Be thorough with labeling.

Write as much information on the sleeve as possible including what film you used, camera, location, date, who developed it, and the time, describe the shoot. Create a numbering/tagging system that allows you to remember where to find specific images you are looking for.

An open folder with a pink background.

5. Store your sleeves in a dust-proof box at room temperature. 

Use a dust-proof binder box which you can easily organise your sleeves. Dust is not going to ultimately damage your files but can take a lot of time to clean. Do not put them next to the radiator and keep away from direct sunlight.

Top Tips for Cleaning Developed Film

A bottle lying on a blue background.

1. How to clean dry negatives with water spots?

Try rubbing it with a soft cleaning cloth (ones made by Ilford are good). This technique should work if it’s not a serious mark. Remember to wear gloves too when handling film.

More serious drying marks can be removed by rewashing the negative and using more wetting agent which is the chemical you use after developing the film. Most dry marks are not that serious and should be easy to rub off.

An image of a canister and sleeve with negatives in on a pink background.

2. How to remove dust from your negatives?

Don’t blow on them because you can accidentally spit on them.

Get a hand/bulb air blower or canned air.

Top Tips for Handling and Storing Prints

1. Keep them in a box away from direct sunlight.

2. Store in sleeves. You can get cheaper and simpler sleeves made out of paper to protect the surface of the print if you pile them up. Dust is not so much of an issue at the print stage. When you present them you can get a clear polyester sleeve which you can see the print through.


All images courtesy of Parallax Photographic Coop