How do you store/organize your prints and negs?

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mikeb_z5

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Feb 11, 2004
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4x5 Format
Hi all,
I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this but here goes:

I'm starting to accumulate a fair amount of various sized prints from 4"x6" up to 11"x14", 35mm negs, chromes as well as 4"x5" negs are all in archival preservers.

It's really starting to get out of hand and I'd like to get it all organized.

1. What do all of you do with your prints when the are not framed?

2. How do you organize the nags/prints? Do you keep them all together(the negs with the prints?)?

3. How do you sort them? By subject, date, or film format?

Thanks for your replies,

Mike
 

Loose Gravel

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I'm glad you asked, because I'd like to know. I think that most photographers, unless they are really in the business of selling prints and do it everyday, put this problem off for a rainy day that never comes. That is my solution. I have boxes of prints and negatives everywhere. It is on my list of things to do, but when I get time, I don't like to spend it on organization. The nice thing about organizing is that it doesn't take a huge block of time (like printing). It can be done a little at a time -- 30 minutes a night. Another fix, I now print smaller sizes, never 16x20, unless I konw where it is going. I've gotten so my standard print is 8x10. Easy to store and they can be mounted on 2 ply board or not at all.
 

Konical

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Good Afternoon,

I shoot mostly black and white. The negatives (35mm--4 x 5) are in Print-File or similar plastic filed by date in 3-ring binders along with corresponding contact sheets. If I were extremely prolific with my shooting, I'd probably need to think of a better system.

Konical
 

jim kirk jr.

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My negatives are stored in three ring binders as well(all have a file number and another number-usually in order of being taken,ie:1-35 for file one,roll 35)all have dates on them as well.corresponding with this I have a seperate index with the same info on a print/contact sheet/index print that the negs have so all I do is look at the index for what I want then find it in the neg binder it is in.
I do have one question though-the bottom negs in my binders seem to bend a liitle due to gravity(at the moment I have them all hanging upside down(lengthwise)does anyone have a better solution?
 

removed account4

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hi mike -

my 35mm & 120 format negatives are stored in print files and binders ...
and my 4x5 negatives are mostly stored in glassine envelopes and archival unbuffered thumb-tabbed envelopes. i write the subject / notes on the envelope and then it is stored in an archival "shoebox" ... the kind that libraries store stuff in. 4x5 prints are stored the same way, minus the glassine.

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i haven't had a chance to get glassine pages for my 5x7 negatives. they are kind of stored by subject/time period in formerly empty film boxes :smile:

i don't really have a way of describing how my prints are stored ( kind of entropic i guess).
in empty paper boxes, with notes on the outside. the prints are grouped by subject / project.

i kind of know where everything is once i start digging,
but when i die, its just going to look like a big mess :smile:
 

blansky

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All negs in printfile. All under the customer name and in file folders and filing cabinets with 8x10 and smaller proof prints.

I have about 100 framed 16x20 and 20x24 prints that I rotate throughout different display places.

All other prints are in the handy dandy Ilford boxes unmounted and waiting for the day that never comes where I will dig them out. Unfortunately when I want another print I usually reprint it because I'm a better printer than I was a few years ago and I use different toning techniques etc.

I rarely do scenics but when I do I file them away in printfiles and file folders and wait until the rainy season and print some.

Not a real advanced system.

I do have all display or award proofs and negatives from my color days from 15-25 years ago stored in the same file folders only all together and not by name.

Michael
 

glbeas

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My negs hang in file folders, numbered dated and labeled, when I find that elusive round tuit. Picture wind up in stacks, boxes, folders, and on the wall.
 

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KenM

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Calgary, Alb
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I have prints that are ready for mounting flattened and stored in print paper boxes, ready for mounting if and when I get around to it. All other prints are just piled up and placed in the closet. I have very few prints from others, so I don't really have to worry about storage for them :D

35mm and 6x6 negatives are stored in Printfile sheets placed in binders - with the rings/spine up, so the sheets hang down, mind you. Much easier on the negatives.

My 4x5's I store in glassines, and until recently they were just stored in film boxes. A friend purchased some collectibles off eBay, and they were shipped in US military ammo boxes - he gave me a couple, and they hold negatives perfectly, after you shim up the boxes on the bottom, since they're a bit too deep. They're also watertight, which is nice. Using ammo boxes wasn't my idea, BTW - I was at a Barnbaum workshop, and saw that he stores his negatives in ammo boxes...

My 4x5 negatives are all numbered - SYY####.

S = Size - 3=35mm, 6=6x6, and 4=4x5
YY = two digit year. Yeah, I know. Y3K problem. Oh well.
#### - start at 0000 beginning of each year.
 

Ole

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"Roll" negatives are sleeved in Panodia pages, which are filed with a contact print of the page on the left, negs on the right. They fill several ring binders, so I spend hours looking for the right binder. Once I have the right binder finding the correct negative takes only seconds.

They are organised by date/format/subject/space or whatever, su that most of the portraits are in one binder, except for some which ended up in another one. There's landscapes all over. Most of the 35mm negs are in one folder, except the ones which belonged (at some time in the past) somewhere else. The more recent negatives are in sleeves all over my desk.

Sheet negatives (9x12cm, 4x5" and 5x7") are stored in Light Impression mylar sleeves, in acid-free envelopes in nice little boxes. That means I have no contact sheet to guide me to the correct negative, but fortunately I don't have that many of them yet. This will surely change...

The 18x24cm negatives are stored in an empty Ilford 8x10" paper box. I've avoided 18x24cm paper for years, but now I'll have to get some - if nothing else, then just for the box...

Prints are also all over the place; in boxes, cartons, drawers, stacks and heaps. From the amount of paper I've bought over the years and the number of prints I find around the house, better than 90% of my prints must be hiding somewhere just waiting for the right moment to come landsliding out.

I know exactly where 12 of my prints are - two on the wall, and 10 in a portfolio book. If I could only find that portfoilo...
 

jmenning

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A couple of people have mentioned that the negatives are labeled. How/where do you label them?

I'm setting up a database to try to make sense of the whole mess (since it's hopeless, at this point, to even try to sit down and put them in chronological order without some sort of tracking system) and I've been trying to figure out a way to give each frame a unique number.

Short of writing over the frame (on the sleeve, not on the negative) with a permanent marker - which I have not yet resorted to - I haven't found a way to do this. Suggestions for labeling (35mm) frames?

Thanks for any suggestions...

Jill
 

Francesco

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All my 8x10 negs are placed inside 3-opening polyprop sleeves. I take detailed notes in the field. On a post-it I write the date, holder number and film brand (I attach the post-it to the relevant sleeve) All my sleeved negs are placed in archival storage boxes. Once full I mark the box with a date range (e.g. 1 Feb 2004 to 30 Jun 2004). All my printing sessions are detailed on a book (written) and the print results are scanned and saved into folders that are labelled with the relevant printing session date.
 

roteague

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mikeb_z5 said:
3. How do you sort them? By subject, date, or film format?

Others have made good suggestion on the other items, so I will just address one. This is a issue I have struggled with for years; at one time I used a year/image no stamp, but found the images were too tied to a date. I have since come to a couple of conclusions:

1.) Use a category system that makes sense for the type of photography you do. I am primarily a landscape person, so I prefix my images with a code (AU - Australia, NZ - New Zealand, JO - Jordan, HI - Hawaii, etc.) and an image number. If you do people photos, you could try a code for the type (wedding, portrait, etc.).

2.) Find yourself a good computer program (I'm a programmer, so I have a custom program I wrote myself). It's strength should be in searching. Some of the newer programs seem to be tied into thumbnails, but have minimal searching/catagorizing capability.

Hope this helps,
 

Nige

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My negs are organised... my prints fall into line with everyone else, except Blansky who seems to be semi-organised!

Negs are all sleeved, stored in folders with contact sheet and a printout from my Access DB that I record details in. In this, I record film development data, exposure data, printing data and items of interest (Dates, places, people names). I do need to go thru some earlier negs and add some info and also create some for much older negs that I never recorded anything about. I wish I'd at least written a date on the neg sleeves!
 

John McCallum

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roteague said:
...
1.) Use a category system that makes sense for the type of photography you do. I am primarily a landscape person, so I prefix my images with a code (AU - Australia, NZ - New Zealand, JO - Jordan, HI - Hawaii, etc.) and an image number. If you do people photos, you could try a code for the type (wedding, portrait, etc.).

2.) Find yourself a good computer program (I'm a programmer, so I have a custom program I wrote myself). .....
Sounds like your system would lend itself very well to a barcoding module :wink:.
 

jd callow

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I started out with a convoluted system that that had abbreviations for film size (sf, mf, lf) followed by type (similar to roteague) and then incremented them.

I abandoned that system (I shoot way to much to have to stop and think) and simply put the negs in sleeves with a contact (digital or traditional), tranies do not get contacts, number the contact and the sleeve and put them in order in loose leaf binders.

The simplicity of the system made sure that it was done. I will in the future go through the binders and reorganize them by subject and renumber within the subject and add a subject prefix.

Commercial work is by client then job.
 

geraldatwork

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I'm not a prolific shooter and shoot 35mm B&W with a small amount of 2 1/4X 2 1/4. I file my negatives in archival plastic sleeves in 3 ring notebooks. Each roll is numbered and dated in succession. I place the contact sheet (when I bother to make one) and a sheet of notes of the film development with each sheet of negatives. I use sticky notes next to each negative I've printed with a reference which to which pages in a notebook I use when printing. I've found it confusing referring to the printing book so when I get the time I will make a sheet for each printed negative showing times,filtering,dodging,etc and place it in the notebook. So if I want to reprint a negative I just go to the negative book and the printing info is there next to the negative.

As far as the prints. When I print I usually try to get 3 or 4 decent prints of each negative in a session. (After toning, drydown,etc I'm lucky if I get 1 or 2 prints I'm happy with). I dry mount the two best. One goes into a portfolio box, one goes into a backup portfolio. The other 1 or 2 goes into an empty paper box. That is where I'm the most disorganized. I have only been printing a little over a year and can see myself in a few years with boxes of prints with no rhyme or reason.
 

rogueish

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mikeb_z5 said:
How do you organize the nags/prints? Do you keep them all together(the negs with the prints?)?
How do you sort them? By subject, date, or film format?
Mike

Organize?
Sort?
What a novel idea! :surprised: I'll have to try that sometime...
Negs in printfile sleeves and stored with contact sheet (when I actually make one) and laid flat in a drawer of a cabnit that just happened to be there. One or two might even have info on the sleeve, location/subject. Dates are doubtful.
Prints, well some are in photopaper boxes, some are in drawers, some are still stuck to blotter paper :mad:
Glad I'm not alone in my organizational methods (or lack thereof...)
 

Louis Nargi

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Sep 4, 2004
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Shooter
4x5 Format
neg storage

I store my negs in plastic storage pages I get from Calumet, Ithen put them in a three ring binder and store them on a book shelve.Don't let the binder get to full as it seems to bend the negs when you close it. My mounted prints I store in archival boxes I get from Light Impressions. When I take the prints out of the boxes for any reason, I vacuum the box and the prints to eliminate the chance of dust or somthing hard to fall between the print and cause a dent or scratch.
 

Max Power

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Sep 7, 2004
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Aylmer, QC
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I only shoot about 100 frames per month of 35mm B&W. I am, by nature, not terribly organised, but when I started back at B&W a couple of months ago, I decided to start on the right foot!!!
The day after I develop, I sleeve the negs in a three-ring binder and write a simple description of the type of film used, camera used, developing details, and add field notes by frame as necessary. So far it works!!!

I have a question, though...Years ago, I had a photography prof who insisted that we use negative files which seemed to be made from a sort of wax-paper substance. He would not allow us to use plastic neg files; IIRC it was something about 'letting the negatives breathe'. Can anyone speak to this?
 
Joined
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Canada
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4x5 Format
Here's what works for me. (This is my b&w film system - 90% of what I shoot)

35mm
Develop and contact on 8.5"x11" (no not 8"x10")

Medium and Large format
Develop
Contact (rough set, who cares... on 8"x10")
Edit the film (get rid of all that crap you'll never use anyhow)
Contact on 8.5"x11" (no not 8"x10") I like the slightly larger paper and the bit of border it gives me, especially with large format

All the film goes into Print Files Pages.
35mm - Print File 7 rows of 5
Medium Format - Print File 3 rows of 3 individual pockets
Large Format - Print File 4 up

I use Print File workboxes (small 1.5" size to store both film and contacts. I devide by project/type of work. (Film is kept separte from Contacts) I have twin binders for each group. example: B&W Architecture, B&W Architecture Contacts.

Each roll is dated and captioned and filed sequentially... The contact sheet book follows the same format as the corresponding negs. I label the outside of the binders in the flat area provided.


I found this system works really well for me if I keep up with doing my contact sheets... I re-edited a ton of work a few years back and found that by doing the edit before I did finished contact, I keep the best and good stuff, but getting rid of all the duds right then and there helps ME keep track of what's going on.

joe :smile:
 
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