Quick Tips for Organizing and Archiving Film Negatives by Samantha Stortecky

Quick Tips for Organizing and Archiving Film Negatives by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
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Written by Samantha Stortecky

Over the summer, I was able to buy all the supplies to start developing and scanning my film in my very own home (learn how to develop film at home here!), and, as you can possibly imagine, my stack of film negatives is getting progressively bigger and bigger.

After my stack of film negatives turned into a giant sloppy mess in the garage, I knew I needed to start organizing and properly archiving my negatives.

I needed a way where I could easily search and find my past work if I ever needed to scan them again.

And hip hip hooray, this post is to help you get started with organizing your own film negatives as well, so you don’t have to be like me and let all your past work get sad and dusty in your garage!


Organizing and archiving film negatives is actually quite easy. It just takes a bit of time, a trusty two inch binder, and some film negative sheets!

I bought my binders from Walmart (hello back to school sale), or you can find them on Amazon. I also bought my film negative sheets on Amazon.

Quick Tips for Organizing and Archiving Film Negatives by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

Organizing and Labeling Your Film Negatives

I made sure to purchase two binders, and, on the outside slot of each binder, I labeled one Personal Film Scans and the other Client/Business Scans.

I like to organize my scans by placing them in the appropriate binder from newest to oldest.

In between the film sleeves, I put a paper that classifies which year it is. You could also use tab dividers as well. This way everything is super organized and easy to find later on!

On each individual film negative sheet, I make sure to include this information at the top:

  • Event Name
  • Event Date (or date of film development)
  • Film Stock
  • Camera Information

**Make sure to write your information with a permanent marker so it doesn’t wipe off!

Once you’ve finished labeling your film negative sheet, pop them into the proper location of your three ring binder, and store your binder in a cool and dry location.

And ta-da! All your film scans are organized and archived!

I hope this post has been helpful (and maybe a bit motivating) in getting all your beautiful film scans organized and archived for future use.

As always, feel free to toss any questions you have down below in the comments!

Thank you so much, Samantha! Samantha is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out her other articles here. You can also check out more of Samantha’s work on her website and Instagram.

Leave your questions about organizing film negatives below in the comments!

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Samantha Stortecky

Samantha Stortecky is a family photographer and a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as How to Shoot Kodak Portra 400 and 5 Unique & Experimental Film Stocks You Need to Try.

Blog Comments

Printfile makes a great product. One additional tip is to make sure you aggressively cull your negatives before filing them away. Anything that you don’t foresee printing or rescanning in the future can be tossed out so that you’re not having to hoard a massive amount of developed film. It adds up after a while.

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