Pick the Perfect Paper

paperHere is what to look for in photosafe paper for use in scrapbooks with digital and conventional photos.

  1. Bleed-resistant – Colored paper should not transfer dyes under wet or humid conditions. Check this one yourself by placing the paper in contact with a piece of white paper. Use a paper clip to hold the two pieces of paper together and place them in a bowl of water for one day. The white paper should not show any dye when the paper clip is removed from the water.
  2. Acid-free – Uncoated, white paper can be checked with pH pens. For other papers, you will need to rely on the manufacturer’s labeling. pH pens are not reliable when used with coated or colored papers.
  3. Lignin-free – Skip the newsprint and construction paper. These low-cost papers generally contain lignin that will damage photos over time. They are also likely to become brittle.
  4. Buffered – Buffering prevents paper from becoming acidic over time. You will need to rely on the manufacturer’s labeling.
  5. Photographic Activity Test – Ensures that paper contains no other harmful components.  This test is complicated and cannot be run at home.

To be completely safe, paper should comply with all of these ISO 18902 requirements. However, from a practical standpoint, high-quality paper that is acid-free and bleed resistant should be all right.


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.
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4 Responses to Pick the Perfect Paper

  1. hellocherylcmc@aol.com says:

    Thanks so much for your insight……..I find your blogs interesting.

    I don’t know the circumstances of how you left CM……..but I “knew” you did before anyone confirmed it. There were many ways that I could tell. I even told my friend “I don’t think Mark Mizen is at CM any more” and I was very ticked off that someone thought they should come in an change everything. I knew when it started sliding downhill, there were just little ways to tell. Someone(s) sure stepped on their own landmine!

    Best wishes and I will continue reading your blogs, Cheryl Yates

    Cheryl Yates Creative Memories Consultant

  2. Useful information to read ,Thanks

  3. Pingback: Paper Weight and Photo Safety | All About Images Blog

  4. Pingback: An Open Letter: How to Make a High-Quality Album | All About Images Blog

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