The ladies of Team Holga do a lot of flying every year, and part of that means going through airport security.

Airport x-ray scanners can affect film. The machines used to scan luggage at airports can be strong enough to expose the sensitive film, especially if it is scanned multiple times. The effect of the x-rays on film looks like a ‘wave’ that runs across each picture. You can see the effect below.

What’s the best way to prevent this from happening? Don’t put your film in your checked luggage. Luggage is scanned by a machine that can expose the film that is packed away inside. The chances of your film being damaged increases each time your luggage is scanned.

Keep all your film in a plastic or cloth bag, and asked that they be hand checked as you are checked in. This may take a few extra minutes, but it is worth it to protect your Holga photographs. Another option is to purchase a lead-lined film bag to place your film in. Finally, if at all possible, consider having your exposed film developed before returning home.

For more tips on protecting your film, visit the Traveling With Film page on the Transportation Security Administrations website.

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