How to Archive Your Film

One thing you'll notice with shooting film is that you'll begin to accumulate massive amounts of exposed rolls and they'll begin to take up a lot of space. I like to be as organized as I can when it comes to my photographs and I'll be sharing with you the method that I've been using for the past few years that has worked extremely well for me. 

I try my best to be able to find certain photographs or rolls that I've shot so I created an excel sheet that correlates with the numbering system that I name my digital scans with. I name my files by the date I scan them and I assign a letter to each roll that I scan on that date. For example, if I scanned a roll on February 4th, 2017 I will label the files of the first roll 20170204A-001, 20170204A-002, 20170204-003, etc. The files of the second roll that I scan during that session will be labeled as 20170204B-001, 20170204B-002, 20170204C-001, etc. I also differentiate between 35mm, medium format, and large format photographs by adding a prefix to the medium format (MF) and large format (LF) file names. I've included a screencap below so you can see the actual folder and file structure in use. You can see the file naming differentiation between 35mm and medium format scans in the second column. 

Once the files are scanned I cut the film into six frame strips using a Matin Film Cutter and then put them into Printfile 35-7BXW storage pages. I label each page with the date, camera, film, roll letter, and location information and any other descriptive elements I can think of. I chose these pages because they can fit 42 frames into one sheet so on those rolls where I have more than 36 frames I don't need to start an entirely new page to fit them. The pages are awesome and I'd highly recommend them but the downside is that because they are large pages they require an oversized binder to store them. 

For medium format film I use the Printfile 120-4UB storage pages and have found that they will fit the entire roll of 120 for most of the camera formats.

Once all of the information is written on the Printfile page I copy it over to an excel sheet so I can easily search for the descriptions and find the roll I am looking for when I need to.

The next step is to just put the pages into one of Printfile's oversized binders and then place them into a slip cover to keep the dust out. These things aren't cheap, but they fit the storage pages perfectly and I think they are well worth the investment. To date, I have purchased six of these binders and I plan to continue purchasing them as they begin to fill up with more film. 

That's about it! For pretty much every photo that I post on here or on Instagram I reference the file name with my excel sheet so I can include the camera, film, and location information for you guys to see. 

For those of you who have been procrastinating on film storage and organization I hope this post will help you get all of those loose rolls out from your drawers and closet and into a more manageable, long-term solution.