Display Recommendations, protecting the durability of the print


We all have seen colour pho­tos that have fad­ed with time.  It’s an unfor­tu­nate fact that expo­sure to light fades colour photographs.

I find this quite iron­ic, con­sid­er­ing that expo­sure to the light cre­at­ed the pho­tographs in the first place how­ev­er, chem­istry and physics get the best of the inks and papers eventually.

Colour pho­tographs will fade pre­ma­ture­ly if they are not dis­played or stored cor­rect­ly and even with the advances in paper tech­nolo­gies and ink tech­nolo­gies over the past decade, there are still some guide­lines that should be fol­lowed to max­i­mize the lifes­pan of your prints.

The infor­ma­tion on this page is intend­ed to give you some guide­lines to help you extend the life of your prints for as long as is possible.

While all of my prints are pro­duced with mod­ern inks and papers and under nor­mal view­ing con­di­tions, these prints should have an archival life of 75 years or greater.


The fol­low­ing points apply, albeit can be fur­ther off­set by pro­tec­tive sprays and var­nish­es on canvas.

  • The low­er the ambi­ent light­ing lev­el of your room, the longer your print will last.  A print in a mod­er­ate­ly lit room will last much longer than one in a bright­ly lit room. Do not dis­play your print in direct sun­light — expo­sure to direct sun­light is the surest way to fade it.
  • Avoid dis­play­ing your print in areas of high heat or humid­i­ty. A cool, dry room is bet­ter than a hot one with loads of humid­i­ty in the air. An air-con­di­tioned room is best.  This is not pos­si­ble when you live in warmer cli­mates; how­ev­er, for those of you in envi­ron­ments such as the Rocky Moun­tains where the air is dry, try not to dis­play you prints direct­ly over your fur­nace heat vents.
  • Avoid dis­play­ing your print in a room where the air is pol­lut­ed. Pro­longed expo­sure to cig­a­rette smoke, cook­ing fumes, pes­ti­cide sprays and oth­er air­borne con­t­a­m­i­nants will reduce the life of your print.


  • Nor­mal View­ing Con­di­tions means that the pho­to is mat­ted and framed under glass and is dis­played under aver­age room light­ing conditions.
    Dark Stor­age Con­di­tions means the print is stored in the dark at 23° Cel­sius and 50% rel­a­tive humidity.

Orig­i­nal­ly Post­ed: Sep­tem­ber 15, 2010
Updat­ed: Octo­ber 20, 2021

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