Flood Damaged Photos

Flood Damaged Photos?

If your basement has gotten wet, or even really damp, and you have photos down there you need to take action now. If the pictures are just damp (not wet) and you can get them out of the albums, boxes, etc you need to do so now. Take a towel and lay the pictures on the towel with the image up (not touching anything) and let dry. If you do not do this when they start to dry they will stick together, or stick to the album pages.

If the pictures are wet (and hard to handle without them coming apart) try to drain any standing water then freeze the pictures. NEVER wipe the pictures with a cloth as this will cause the emulsion/ ink to come off. If you can freeze the pictures flat on cookie sheets with the image side up, but do not try and pull the wet pictures apart if they have stuck together – just freeze them.

Also if you have CD’s, DVD’s that are wet get them out of the cases, envelopes and dry them before they stick to the cases.

If you have questions E-mail or call our office 403-327-1114, I have been doing restorations and saving prints for 29 years Paterson Photography Ltd.


I was asked about external hard drives. If they are wet try and get as much water out that you can. DO NOT USE HEAT to dry out! If the case is vented try GENTLY blowing some air through the vents (NO compressed air), gently. When you have dried it as much as you can, wrap the drive in a towel (still inside the case) and put in a bucket or pail full of rice and seal it up (the towel is to stop rice from getting inside the drive). If the case is sealed and water is inside it will have to be opened to get the water out. Be careful, you may want to call a computer person ASAP about how to open the case. The rice also works for other items like cameras and camera cards & USB sticks.

Another thing I was asked about was drying in an oven or with a hair dryer. NO, you want the prints to dry not to be baked. Drying them with a lot of heat can make them brittle and cause curling.

ALSO, once they are dried you should either get them scanned and reprinted or find the original negatives or digital files and get them reprinted as the contamination can cause the prints to age.

Negatives: It is as important, or even more so, to treat the negatives ASAP. Get them out of any negative sleeves and dry them. With negatives you DO NOT want to lay them on any towels that have fuzz or threads as this will stick to the negatives. Negatives that are not dried out will turn to mush and they will be no good. The best thing is to air dry the negatives by hanging them, but only by hanging from the sprockets, not the image part.

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