I’m going to give away my age here, but in the early 80s when I was a kid, my dad had this big, chunky camera called a Polaroid camera. I was in complete awe of it, and it is probably the camera that sparked my love for photography.
The thing that I loved about it the most was that it could take instant photos, so you didn’t have to take the film to the local store and get it developed. No, the Polaroid camera would print out the photo right after you took it, and within a minute or 2, you had a fully developed photo.
I’m sitting here, 40 years later, and I’m browsing through a photo album with all my childhood polaroids in it. They look amazing, but some of them that I left outside of the album on my fridge do not look that great.
This made me wonder, do polaroids fade? And if so, what can I do to prevent them from fading?
Join me as I take a look.
Do Polaroids Fade? Yes, polaroids can fade if they are not stored properly in a photo album or in a container stored in a dry, dark environment. When exposed to the elements such as heat and humidity, polaroids tend to fade and change color.
How Long Does It Take For Polaroids To Fade?
Unfortunately, polaroids do not last forever. After all, they were designed for instant gratification and not to record a moment in time to be remembered forever. Even when safely stored in a photo album or in a container in a dry and dark environment, a polaroid can last up to 100 years after which it will start to fade and change color.
How To Store Your Polaroids So That They Last Longer
Next, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to store your polaroids so that they don’t fade and change color quickly. It is crucial that you take special care of them because each polaroid is one of its kind, there is only one copy, and if you lose it, it is lost forever.
1.) Keep Them Ventilated For The First 30 Days
According to Polaroid, during the first 30 days after exposure, your photos will still have chemicals in them that are not completely dried out. If you don’t store them in a cool, well-ventilated environment, then visible alterations can appear on them. It is also not recommended to store them in a photo album at this stage.
2.) Store Them In A Photo Album After 30 Days
After the first 30 days have passed, all the chemicals would have dried out completely and it will now be safe to store them in a quality photo album.
3.) Store Them In A Well-Ventilated Container
If you have an excess of polaroids, as I do, and your photo album is not big enough for all of them, then you can store them in a well-ventilated container inside a dry and dark environment.
But, here’s the trick, you have to store them flat inside the container because the white edge of a polaroid will turn yellow quicker when stored on its side.
4.) Protect Them From Heat And Humidity
You should try to keep your polaroids clear from the elements such as heat and humidity. Not only can exposing them to these elements damage them, but it can also cause them to fade and change color quicker.
I have a special place in my heart for polaroids. They started my love for photography, and I always look back at my childhood polaroids with fond memories.
Unfortunately, they do not last forever. However, if you take care of them and store them in a photo album or in a dry and dark room, then they will last for many years.
The first 30 days after exposure is crucial in keeping your polaroids in great condition because during this time, there are still chemicals present in these photos that are not completely dry. You have to let them sit and dry out, otherwise, visible alterations can appear on them.
After the first 30 days have passed, you should store them in a photo album or in a well-ventilated container. Not on the fridge, like I did.