Many photographers these days will give a bride and groom their negatives to keep after the wedding. Some photographers prefer to keep them because they are skilled at preserving these precious originals. If couples do choose to purchase their wedding negatives, or if the wedding negatives are included with the package, then the couple needs to know how to properly care for the negatives. Here are some guidelines:
Wedding negatives should be stored in archival sleeves, and those sleeves should be placed inside of an acid free box. That box should be clearly labeled, and a desiccant (silica gel pouch) placed inside of the box to prevent mold and mildew. The box should be stored in a cool, humidity controlled room.
The wedding negatives are most easily damaged when they are removed from the sleeves. Dust, scratches, and fingerprints can result when the wedding negatives are removed from the protective sleeves. Negatives can be permanently ruined if they are bent or creased. Larger wedding negatives, like medium format, can be especially prone to creases from improper handling. If you need to remove your wedding negatives, make sure you handle them by the edges only, and it is best to wear cotton gloves.
For the long term care of wedding negatives, the relative humidity should be kept around sixty percent, and using a room dehumidifier and silica gel can help control this. The coolest possible temperatures are the best option for long-term storage of your wedding negatives. Some people even choose to store them in the refrigerator.