Tips for Salvaging Flood & Water Damaged Photos

Posted by posted by Kevin Barber Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at

In the wake of the floods that have devastated many parts of Iowa and other parts in the Midwest, I am trying to put my talents as a photographer and retoucher to good use. I am keeping in contact with an organization, Operation Photo Rescue, whose mission is to restore photographs damaged due to floods and natural disasters. They started during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and, through the help of digital artists from around the world, have restored hundreds (maybe thousands) of damaged photographs.

In talking with OPR, the first and most important thing to do is make sure your damaged photographs are properly cleaned and dried. This brings me to the point I wanted to get out. 

One of the OPR Members offered a very helpful link: Tips for Saving Water Damaged Photos. Here's a few quick highlights: 

  1. Remove photos from the water and separate them from other photos, negatives, albums, etc.
  2. Gently rinse the photos with clean, cold water - But don't rub them and change the water frequently.
  3. Dry face-up on a paper towel (NOT newspaper), laying them flat and out of the elements.
  4. If you don't have time to dry them, stack them between sheets of wax paper and store in a sealable plastic bag (preferably freeze them in a freezer)
  • Try to get to the photos as quickly as possible for better success
Read the whole article for better details.

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