More Photo Books to Avoid

adorama_sample1_2Photo books made with true photographic paper, such as those available at, do not follow international standards for photo storage and are vulnerable to moisture and high humidity. As such, they fall on my list of Photo Books to Avoid.

As Adorama indicates in 5 Tips to Keeping Photo Books Safe, “Humidity can cause moisture to get locked between your photo pages and cause the photo pages to “stick” together. Once they stick together, unsticking them may mean the paper will rip.”  It is impossible to ensure that a photo book will never be exposed to high humidity or moisture. Leaks, floods, and the failure of air conditioning systems are inevitable over time, and it only takes one time to turn a beautiful Adorama photo book into a brick.

ISO 18920-2011 Imaging materials – Reflection prints – Storage practices contains the following requirement: “Multiple prints, stored within an enclosure or container, shall be oriented with the emulsion sides against back sides, never emulsion against emulsion.” Note the use of the word shall. This is not an optional recommendation.

The problem is that emulsions in traditional photographic paper are relatively unstable and may be damaged when they are placed in contact with another emulsion. Other photo books that are printed on standard paper using a digital press do not have an emulsion layer and are much less vulnerable to humidity and moisture,

Adorama does make one recommendation that I agree with. Archival Boxes will help preserve photo books, but unfortunately, these boxes cannot totally eliminate the effect of moisture and high humidity.

What should Adorama do? They need to coat their pages to prevent them from sticking together under high humidity conditions.

p.s. The requirement to avoid contact between the emulsion layer of two photographs is one of the reasons to use page protectors with traditional scrapbooks.

About Mark Mizen

At Creative Memories, I evaluate photographic products and related materials so that today's memories are not lost to the future and then communicate this information to Creative Memories Consultants and their customers. My interests extend from preservation of traditional photographs to the production of photo books to the expected longevity of electronic image files. My long-term objective is to direct the development of technology that meets consumers needs for high-quality products.
This entry was posted in ISO Standards, Photo Books, Scrapbooking, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to More Photo Books to Avoid

  1. Bev says:

    Thanks so much Dr. Mark!!!

  2. Jan says:

    Learned something new today. You inspire me. Thanks so much.

  3. Kathy says:

    Thank you for taking the time to let us know. As you know, we are looking for options for our customers & truly appreciate your steering us in the right direction!

  4. Pingback: More Photo Books to Avoid | shootplex

  5. Kim says:

    Good information to know!

  6. Pingback: Panstoria Photo Book Review | All About Images Blog

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