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

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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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