Which Cloud Sharing Site Is the Best Option for Backing Up My Photos?

Which Cloud Sharing Site Is the Best Option for Backing Up My Photos?

Actually, that’s a trick question!

There’s a difference between backing up your photos for safekeeping, and sharing photos with your family and friends – and you need to use different tools for each one.

This is a question that frequently comes up in conversations with my clients, so it’s important to clarify that these two tasks are not the same thing!

You probably don’t want to share your entire photo collection – but you definitely need to back up the whole collection.

Today’s post will be focused on sharing your photos using a cloud-based service, how various services store the images shared on their sites, and privacy considerations you should consider before you make your choices.

What You Need to Know About Sharing Photos on the Cloud

When you think about how you share your photos (and who you share them with), consider your whole collection. There are people captured in the images in your collection that you know would love a chance to see those photos – either for the first time, or to reminisce about a fun moment from the past – but it’s unlikely everyone you know would want access to every single one of your photos.

It’s sort of a “part” versus “whole” situation – and that’s why it’s important that you treat backup and sharing as separate tasks.

It’s critical that you have a backup system that copies ALL your photos to a safe place, so that if something happens to your original copies, you have a way to restore those images. In a previous post, I gave some tips for backing up your photos, so you can check out that article if you need a place to start.

Then when you’re ready to share your photos, you can share just the most relevant photos with the people who would enjoy seeing them, using a photo sharing service or social media platform.

Sharing Photos on Social Media Sites

In our social media communities, we might share photos of everyday moments or milestones. Your social media friends or followers don’t want to see copies of every photo you take, but they enjoy viewing hand-selected favorites.

Social media is a good place to keep folks updated about what’s going on in your life, so think about it as a place to share the highlights of your photo collection.

Because social media sites typically compress/optimize the photos stored there, it’s not a good place to restore photos if something happens to your originals – so it’s never a good idea to treat a social media site (like Facebook) as a backup service.

Also, remember that social media platforms are public sites, so always check your privacy settings if you are concerned about who might have access to your photos. From time to time, these sites can change their features, which can also change access rules – so it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date on those changes, and periodically review your privacy settings.

Sharing Photos Using Photo Sharing Services

As a photographer, there will also be precious moments when people in your community are participants in events, special get-togethers, family dinners, and other milestones. When that happens, the photos you share are part of their histories, too. Those are great photos to consider sharing via a photo sharing service.

When you share images on a photo sharing site, you can give other people direct access to the photos, so they can download high-quality originals. My favorite photo sharing sites are SmugMug, Amazon Prime Photos, and Dropbox, but there are tons of options.

With each of these services, you set up a paid account and set your own privacy settings, so you have control over who can view and download your photos. You can set up shared albums or folders, then decide who has access to each one.

This can be a convenient way to work together on group projects, too. On many photo sharing sites, you can even add comments or ask questions about specific photos, which makes these services a great tool for collaboration.

For my father’s 80th birthday album, my family used a sharing service to share potential photos for the album and make decisions about final selections. My sisters uploaded photos that I downloaded and used to create his album.

Our mother added comments and answered questions in places where we needed a little help. Since we all live in different states, using a photo sharing site was an easy and fun way to collaborate on this important project.

Using Apple’s Shared Albums for Sharing Photos

You can also use Apple’s Shared Album feature to share photos. You can set up a Shared Album, then invite people to view your photos via iCloud. It’s a great way for people to view updates within a friend group or family, without having to take up space on your devices.

Since the photos for each Shared Album are stored in the album creator’s iCloud Photo Library account, they don’t live on the viewer’s device, which is handy in certain circumstances.

For example, we have a shared album for our family to view photos and videos of our puppies! We have days when we share a lot of photos, and we don’t all want those images eating up space on all our phones. Apple’s Shared Album feature makes it possible for everyone to view the images, without having to download all of them.

Rosie and Norman

When you use Apple’s Shared Album feature, be aware that the photos will be compressed, which means you can maximize the space in your account – but if you want to get a copy of a particular image to use for yourself, contact the person who shared the photo for an original, full-size, high quality copy.

Making Sure You’ve Got Your Bases Covered

We all want to keep our photos safe AND share them with our friends and family members, and we want to do both of these tasks in the best, most efficient, and safest ways.

Treating backing up your photos and sharing photos as two separate and important tasks enables you to make smart choices about what tools you’ll use for each one.

Once you’ve got your tools and systems in place, you’ll have your bases covered, and you can snap and share all the photos you want.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Photo Organizer?

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Photo Organizer?

Hiring a photo organizer is like enlisting a professional trainer to help get you in shape – it’s a process that happens over time. You wouldn’t hire a trainer for one ten-minute weight-training session – and you don’t hire a photo organizer for one 15-minute block of time, either.

Hiring a photo organizer is a way to find a healthier approach to managing your photos. It will take time and effort to reach your goals, and you’ll want to hire the best possible people to help you along the way.

A lot of people want to know, “How much does it cost to hire a photo organizer?” and the answer to that question is always, “It depends.”

Let’s take a look at why photo organizing fees vary from client to client, what you should consider when you’re trying to decide if you should hire a photo organizer, and how we (at Picture This Organized) typically charge for our services.


What Should I Do with All My Slides and Photo Negatives?

What Should I Do with All My Slides and Photo Negatives?

When I help clients go through their prints to get their photo collections organized, we will often find negatives and slides mixed in with their prints.

My clients usually ask me, “What should I do with these? Should I transfer them all over to digital format? How do I do that? Then what should I do with the original slides and negatives, if I digitize everything?”

These are complicated questions, and the answers I give my clients always depend on a lot of factors. In this post, I’m going to give you some tips about digitizing and organizing your slides and negatives, talk about the pros and cons of hanging on to the originals, and explains how to store them safely.

What Should I Do with All My Slides and Photo Negatives?

Should You Digitize Your Negatives and Slides?

Let’s start with the first big question: Is it a good idea to digitize all your negatives and slides?

The question I always ask my client is, “Are these photos already printed or digitized?”

If the images are printed, you can digitize the print instead of the slide or negative – which is often considerably less expensive. If the images are not printed, my recommendation is that you digitize the images first, then consider whether or not you want to keep the original negatives or slides.

The best way to digitize your slides and negatives is to find a reputable company to help you. I recommend Memories to Digital (they have stores in Boulder and Lone Tree, Colorado) and FotoBridge. If you would like help managing this process, I can oversee the project so the scanning company has all information needed.

But here’s the problem: Digitizing slides and negatives can be expensive, especially if your slides are old. If you take a large collection of slides in to a conversion company and have them scan all of them for you, you will be charged for ALL the images you give the scanning company – even the badly composed or poorly lit shots.

If you aren’t on a tight budget and/or don’t have that many slides or negatives to scan, I’d recommend just scanning all of them – it’s simpler and easier. However, if you want to be discerning and only scan your very best shots, you’ll need to view your slides or negatives in advance to choose the ones you want to digitize.

How to Select the Best Slides and Negatives to Digitize

Here are some options for viewing your slides and negatives:

  • You can do it the old-fashioned way, and hold your slide or negative up to a lamp or overhead light in your home. This is a bit cumbersome, but it still works!
  • If you’ve got an iPad, there’s an app called Light Pad that you can buy to use your tablet as a negative viewer. It works with both slides and negatives.
  • You can use a light tracer (yes, one of those devices we used to use as kids, that artists use to trace images) to lit up your image. The images you’ll view will still be tiny if you use this method, though. 
  • You can use a low resolution scanner to scan a temporary file for viewing and selecting the best negatives or slides to send to the digitizing company. This will let you see a larger, more detailed version of the image, which will help you in making your digitizing decisions. Amazon has several models that are affordable and perfect for this process.

When shopping for low-resolution slide and negative scanners, look for ones that are compatible with your computer. Often, a device designed for PCs won’t be Mac compatible, and vice versa. Also, look for the option to import your scans to a computer so that you can view from your computer screen. Otherwise, you might be viewing the scan from a small screen on the scanner – which is really not much better than just holding your slide up to the light in your living room!

Important note: If you’re going to go the scanner route for viewing your slides, I don’t recommend that you do the final scanning yourself on this type of equipment, because inexpensive scanners will scan your slides and negatives at a low resolution. That means your digitized images won’t be clear, and you won’t be able to enlarge them past their original size. Typically a slide or negative is best scanned at 1500-4000 dpi, and you’ll usually need to go to a professional scanning and digitizing company with top-notch equipment to get that quality.

If you want to do your own scanning, you can purchase a high-quality scanner (again, look for the dpi quality listed above), but keep in mind that it’s a tedious, time-consuming process.

How to Get Your Slides and Negatives Organized for Your Scanning Company

Once you’ve selected the slides and negatives you want to scan, try to put them into a logical order so that the company will scan your images in order of timeline and event. Otherwise, you’ll have to do some digital organizing once you get your digital images back – and I think it’s easier to do this organizing at the beginning of your project.

Ask your scanning company about what resolution they’ll use to scan your images. If you plan to print a photo that’s 5×7 or smaller, or if you’re going to email the image or put it onto a web page, I recommend 1500 dpi. For the highest quality for archiving and printing, 3000 to 4500 dpi is best.

You may have slides where the owner or photographer wrote some information about the photo directly onto the slide frame. In this case, ask your slide scanning company if their scan can include this information. These details will be helpful for naming your files.

For example, the scanning company may just name your image files using your name, followed by the image number (“Smith-001.jpg”). After you receive the files, you can rename specific images with the detail written onto the slide frame (for example, if the slide says, “1960 family picnic,” you can name the file “1960-Smith-Family Picnic-001.jpg”).

The Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Slides and Negatives

Wondering whether or not you should hang on to your original slides and negatives? Here are the pros and cons of keeping them:

Pros of Keeping Your Slides and Negatives:

  1. Your slides and negatives are the originals of your images, and they contain all the information needed to digitize.
  2. Digital files aren’t completely fail-safe. Hard drives can fail, we can lose our computers, and sometimes we accidentally delete files. By saving our original slides and negatives, can always go back and replace what’s been lost.
  3. Sometimes, there are scanning errors (wrong dpi, slides are dirty when they are scanned, etc.). If the digitized version isn’t done properly, you can always go back to the original and rescan it.
  4. Technology is always improving, so at some point in the future, we might invent a device to scan old media in a higher quality.

Cons of Keeping Your Slides and Negatives:

  1. Your originals can take up space in your home, and you’ll have to make room to store them long-term.
  2. Slides and negatives can be difficult to view.
  3. Your slides and negatives can be more expensive to scan than your photo prints.
  4. The support for scanning equipment for slides and negatives may not keep pace with technology, so you might end up with equipment you can’t use or slides you can’t scan at all.

How to Store Your Negatives and Slides and Keep Them Safe

If you decide you’re going to keep your negatives and slide, you’ll want to store them safely to make sure they don’t get damaged or degraded.

For negatives, you can store them in archive quality envelopes, or get sleeves that can be stored in a 3-ring binder. There are also sleeves or file boxes made especially for slides. You’ll need to choose the right storage method for you, based on the amount of storage you have to work with – just make sure your storage containers are always archive quality.

Here a note from the National Archives, about choosing storage methods for your negatives, etc.:

“Negatives and transparencies can be stored the same way as photographic prints, using the same high quality papers and plastic which pass the ANSI IT9.16 Photographic Activity Test (PAT). (The PAT was developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is a test that determines whether or not a storage material will cause fading or staining in photographs.) There are paper and plastic enclosures and storage boxes designed for film formats available from most manufacturers. Like prints, negatives and transparencies should be stored in a cool, dry location.”

4 Headache-Free Ways to Access the Photos You Receive on Your Phone

4 Headache-Free Ways to Access the Photos You Receive on Your Phone

“How the heck do I get these photos off my phone??”

That’s one of the most common questions I hear from my clients (or even from people at parties, when they find out I’m a photo organizer!)

It’s not difficult to transfer photos off your smartphone, but it’s not an obvious process, either. Often, when people try to access these photos, they feel confused or intimidated, which means they give up…and that’s a shame, because there are some terrific photos hiding on our phones!

In this post, we’ll talk about how to access photos that have been shared with your via text or email, so you can share them with other people or move them to your computer. Then I’ll explain how to remove photos from your phone, when you’re ready.

4 Headache-Free Ways to Access the Photos You Receive on Your Phone

How to Access Photos You Receive on Your Phone

#1: Accessing a Photo You Receive Via Text Message

When a friend or family member sends you a photo via text message, that photo gets put your SMS (text message) feed. In order to easily view and share it with others, you need to take one additional step to save that image onto your phone.

To do that, you simply click on the photo (from within the text). When you do that, you’ll see a larger version of the photo on your phone.

At that point, for most smartphones, you’ll see an option to save the image. Once saved, that image is stored on the camera roll of your phone – which means you can text it to someone else, share it via social media, or download it to your computer.

#2: Accessing an Image You Receive as an Email Attachment on Your Phone

If a photo was emailed to you as an attachment, and you’re viewing that email on your phone, then you need to save that photo to your device so you can access it later.

First, find the email with the photo attachment. Often email providers will show a paper clip icon next to the email subject line, in your inbox, which can be helpful to locate emails with an attachment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you the type of attachment – so once you’ve located the email, you’ll need to open that email in your email program.

Once you’ve opened the email, locate the attachment in the email, and click on it. At that point, most email providers will prompt you to download the photo, or give you an option to select where you’d like to save it.

When you’re viewing an email from a phone or tablet, selecting “Save Photo” will automatically save that image to the camera roll of that device.

#3: Accessing a Photo That Someone Sends You a Link To

Friends and family members will often share their digital photo albums via sites like SmugMug or Shutterfly. In that case, you’ll usually receive a link to the online album via email. If you want to access those photos, you’ll need to tap on the link and go to the site to view the album.

When the person who shared the photos has enabled “Visitor Downloads” in their shared album, you’ll be able to download any of the photos from the album. Just look for the photo you want to download, then follow that website’s prompts to download the photo.

If the sharer hasn’t enabled visitor downloads (or the sharing site doesn’t allow image downloads) you’ll need to talk with your friend or relative to get a copy of the image you want.

It’s also possible that someone could send you a link to a Shared Album in Photos (the iPhone/Mac app for managing photos). If someone shares an album with you, you’ll see the invitation notice in your “Photos” application.

#4: Accessing a Photo You Took Yourself, Using Your Smartphone Camera

When you use your phone to take a photo, those image are automatically saved in your phone’s camera roll. Think of it like having the SD card for your SLR camera, or like the roll of film for an older camera.

To share or download those photos, you can go to the “Camera” or “Photos” app on your phone.

A Quick Note About Photo Size and Quality

When someone shares a photo with you (via text, email, or social media) you’ll need to be aware of the photo size before you decide what you do with the image.

Online photos are often “optimized,” which means they are reduced or compressed versions of the original images. Optimized images are great for saving space on your phone, and they work well for the web – but they’re not the right size (or quality) if you want to enlarge them.

For example, if you want to use an image to create a framed photo for your wall, or as part of a big photo collage, you’ll need to get your hands on the largest, best quality image you can – and that may mean you don’t use the poorer-quality images you may see online.

If you received a photo via a shared site such as a Shared Album in Photos, Dropbox, or SmugMug then likely you have access to a file in its original size. These would fine for physical display.

However, when you’re downloading or sharing from social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, it’s likely these files have been compressed and are best viewed from the web or a smartphone. If you wish to use this image in a project, then you need to get a good-quality copy of the photo from the source (the person that took the photo).

In a future post, we’re going to talk more about image sizes, and how to figure out how large a particular photo is – so look for that post soon! For now, simply keep in mind that social media images are best for sharing…not for displaying in your home or enlarging for a project!

How to Remove Photos From Your Camera

I don’t know about you, but it feels like I’m always fighting for space on my smartphone, and getting those dreaded “Almost Out of Storage” messages.

Photos can take up a lot of space on your phone, so when you’re done sharing the photos and/or moving them over to your computer so you have a backup copy, it’s not a bad idea to delete them from your photo to free up some space.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you delete any photos, make sure you’ve got another copy somewhere (like your computer, or your backup service!)

Here’s the overall process for deleting photos from your phone (specific instructions will vary based on your phone):

  1. Open the photos feature on your phone.
  2. Select the photo you want to delete.
  3. Tap the “Delete” button (or tap the trash can icon).
  4. You will typically get a prompt or pop-up box at this point, warning you about what you’re about to do. If you’re sure you’ve got a backup copy of the photo somewhere else, go ahead and tap “Okay” or “Agree” button, to delete the photo.

Other Questions?

Do you have other questions about accessing the photos on your phone? Let us know in the comments!

10 Things I Love About My Photo Organizing Clients

Last week I published a post on why I love my job as a photo organizer, and I promised you a second part to that post.

My wonderful clients are one of the biggest reasons I adore my job — so this week I wanted to dedicate an entire post to articulating all the reasons my clients are special to me..

Ready for some big-time gushing? Here we go!

1. My Clients Love to Travel.

One of the many reasons someone might hire a photo organizer is to help them manage and display the photos they take when they’re traveling. Because so many of my clients have been bitten by the travel bug, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the world through my clients’ photos.

Whether it’s a 3-week trip through Southeast Asia or a hike along the Appalachian Trail, I feel inspired by my clients’ love for learning about different cultures and meeting the locals. Their love of travel is a tribute to their willingness to see things from a worldly perspective, and I get to be a part of that through their wonderful photos.

2. They Are Adventurous.

Many of clients not only like to travel — they like to have BIG adventures while they’re doing it! I’ve organized pictures of bamboo raft rides in China, helicopter skiing in California, multiple cross-country moves, and exotic foods samplings.

Since I’m not an adventurous person by nature, this part of my job captivates my attention and fascinates me. I love seeing the amazing escapades of my adventurous clients as they show up in images — and the photos that are taken on adventures like this are often incredible!

3. My Clients Stay Connected.

I’ve seen photos of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of family gatherings – from everyday moments to holiday dinners. What sticks with me about the images of these gathering is that we seem to have a nearly universal desire to spend time together celebrating our relationships.

Some of my very favorite client projects are family Christmas albums. Many of these projects showcase photos that are over a period of many years, from early marriage to present day. One of my clients once told me that her children said the family Christmas album was the best gift they had ever received – and that kind of praise is music to my professional photo organizer ears!

That particular client had saved photos, Christmas cards, letters to Santa, and all kinds of keepsakes over many years of holiday celebrations with her family. She shared many favorite memories of various years, and her children just poured over those albums reminiscing over their shared stories about those holidays. She wanted to be sure that each child received their own copy of this family heirloom, so we worked together to create multiple copies of the album after it was complete.

I have tons of client stories like this, and they make my job really special. I love that my clients stay connected to their families, want to celebrate their gatherings (both large and small), and want to make keepsakes that their friends and family members will cherish forever.

4. They Care About Their Family Legacies.

My clients also want to honor and celebrate their extended families, and their stories. For my clients, getting the details of their family stories right is really important, and that includes who belongs to what branch of the family, the resemblances between family members, and other details that could potentially get lost if no one is keeping track of them.

In each family, there’s typically one member who is the self-appointed “historian.” They are eager for everyone – siblings, aunts and uncles, parents, and children – to know the stories and relationships of the family, including what family members have in common, and how they differ.

They are willing to pour through photos, slides, and even memorabilia to carefully select what to keep, what to share with extended family, and how to honor the stories and legacies that these items represent. Sometimes they even photograph various items for extended family, so they can select which items they’d like to have.

5. My Clients Are Willing to See Themselves Authentically, and Recognize Their Limitations.

Every family has their own set of challenges, so I try to help them see the importance of using photos that highlight their lives – as they really are! In my free report, 8 Ways to Tell Stories with You Family Photos, I talk about how we can tell better, more memorable and more cohesive stories with our photos when don’t expect every shot we take and display to be “picture-perfect.” My clients embrace imperfection, and they are willing to see themselves and their families authentically – and I love their bravery and willingness to be authentic.  

The people I work with also understand how important it is that we are able to find our photos easily. When there’s a pause in the busyness of life and a precious moment is captured on a camera, it’s important to be able to find that photo later, so the moment isn’t forgotten.

Even in this do-it-yourself-crazy world, asking for help with your photo organizing (or anything else) doesn’t need to be a statement of failure! I’ve seen how liberated my clients feel about releasing the photo organizationing piece to me and allowing me to help them get things under control. They deserve recognition for remembering to take a photo and capture the moment – as a photo organizer, I’m just helping them create order so they can easily remember and honor that precious moment.

6. They Celebrate the Milestones in Their Lives.

My clients are incredibly proud of their children’s accomplishments and life celebrations, and they enjoy using photos as a means to show off their appreciation and happiness. I love creating projects that help parents celebrate the special moments in their kids’ lives.

One client’s wedding celebration was especially memorable for me. As a tribute to their son’s life, a client wanted an album that would convey their pride in his accomplishments and their joy about his approaching wedding. While they suspected this would be a hit with their son, an unexpected bonus was the thrill their son’s stepsons got over his old football photos! His stepsons hadn’t known about that piece of his past, and it was clearly an opportunity for this newly blended family to bond over some very special family photos.

7. They Honor as They Grieve.

Most of my clients are in the midst of enjoying the fruits of our labor as our children grow up, leave the nest and have families of their own – just like me! But sadly, we’re also in that place of saying goodbye to aged parents. As my clients grieve over the loss of a family member, it’s a honor when I’m asked to help a client pay tribute to her loved one’s life.

While I may know many personal details about my clients’ families, I can still help my clients shift to a more objective perspective at a time when making decisions is difficult. Sometimes the photos we find depict a particularly sensitive time, such as the last days of a loved one’s life. Recently I unknowingly found one such photo that a client thought had been lost. Understandably, it was a bittersweet discovery.

8. They Like to Reminisce.

My clients like to remember their stories and life experiences, and I appreciate that. According to writer Kristine Dwyer, a staff writer at Caregiver.com, reminiscence is “a free-flowing process of thinking or talking about one’s experiences in order to reflect on and recapture significant events of a lifetime.”

“We all live in the present,” Dwyer says, “yet we still carry our ‘past’ selves with us throughout our lives. We are part of a rich history that needs to be shared and preserved. The stories we tell about our lives are also important sources of self-identity, and they enable us to explore and relate our past to the present.”

Images help us with that process of sharing and preserving our histories, so I feel a real sense of fulfillment when I help my clients organize and display their photos.

It’s really about reliving our past – whether it was a vacation we had, or a milestone reached by one of our family members. My clients want to think about (and talk about) all the sweet memories so those moments aren’t forgotten, and I feel honored that I am included in that process when we work together.

9. My Clients Appreciate Their Children’s Accomplishments, Interests, and Individuality.

When I work with my clients, I love that they want to recognize each family member’s personal accomplishments and aspirations.

This is especially important when managing photos for our children. As we document important dates, there is enormous value in tracking where each child went to school, the music programs they participating in, and the sports teams they were part of.

Creating albums that highlight each child’s interests and life stories is an important exercise in honoring each child’s individuality and interests.

As a mom, I know it is sometimes easier to take photos of my kids as a group, just to capture the moment, but I’ve learned that my client’s children appreciate having individualized albums that document their individual interests, friendships, and milestones.

My clients sometimes create individualized albums like this because they want to help their children adjust to a significant transition, like a big move. Even for teenagers, an opportunity to look back at one’s life can help make the transition to a new environment less difficult. Sometimes adjusting to where we’ve arrived requires looking back at where we came from.

Being part of a family of four girls and one of the middle children, I appreciate the need to feel recognized and valued – separate from my siblings. I enjoy being part of my client’s efforts to recognize and praise their children’s individual interests and accomplishments.

10. My Clients Become My Friends!

I know I’m doing something right when a client tells me, “I’m glad you’re in my life!” As we review my clients’ family photos, they often share personal information as well as milestones, accomplishments and disappointments, so I end up know a lot about the people I work with. It’s an honor and a privilege to hold onto (and honor) that information for my clients.

Since I work with many of my clients long-term, I am also delighted to say that many have them have become friends. My life is so much better with my wonderful clients in it!

What I Love About My Job As a Photo Organizer

What I Love About My Job as a Photo Organizer

It’s no secret: I love my job!

As part of my work as a photo organizer, I help people manage their photo collections, create beautiful albums, safeguard their photos, and enjoy their memories in a format that works for them.

I’ve always been interested in life stories, and I believe our past shapes who we are – so one of our goals at Picture This Organized is to help you preserve your family legacy by taking the guesswork out of displaying and caring for your photos.

Here are 6 reasons why I love my job as a photo organizer:

1. I get to use my natural affinity for order and efficiency.

When it comes to working with photos, it’s all in the details – and I’m proud to say I’m great with details! I’m a naturally organized and efficient person, so I get to use my strengths every day in my work. That feels great for me, and works well for my clients, too.

Here are a few of the details I help my clients keep track of, when we’re creating albums and managing photo collections:

  • Making note of family timelines, so we can keep track of important information such as birthdates, anniversaries, school years, where they lived, when they moved, and so on. These family timelines and details help us tell a coherent story in the photos.
  • Using reference photos of individuals as we go through the organizing process, so we can accurately identify family members as they age.
  • When we’re working with photo image files, capturing the date the photo was taken and the event happening in the photos, so we group images in a logical order. This makes them easy to find and share later.
  • Researching locations and finding accurate spellings for travel albums, so photos are accurately identified.
  • Using word-for-word writing when using we use journals for storytelling, or using the client’s voice to keep things personal.

2. I’m good at providing an objective opinion.

We all take lots of photos, and we often feel overwhelmed when it comes to managing and organizing them. This was definitely true back when we all took print photos, but it’s even MORE true now that many of us have switched over to taking digital photos.

Instead of having photo boxes of prints in our closets, now we’ve got digital files hanging out in multiple folders on every device we own. Phew! It takes a lot to keep everything organized, backed up, and easily findable.

And here’s a little secret: It is much easier to organize someone else’s photo collections than it is to organize your own! I get personally connected to my own photos, and I struggle with selecting the best ones. When I’m working with my own family photo collection, it’s easy to get distracted by memories.

I think about how cute my children looked at each age, and the moments come flooding back to me. As wonderful as those memories are, they make it hard to move through the organizing process quickly and efficiently.

When I’m looking at a photo for client, I can make an objective assessment. I’m examining an image to decide whether people in the photo are well captured, and whether we have the best version of a shot.

And while I do look for photos that convey emotion, I don’t have the same emotional attachment to the event as my clients do, so I can make decisions more quickly.

Here’s another secret: I know my own limitations, and recently hired a colleague to help me (finally) with my own photo collection!

3. I enjoy teaching people how to use technology to improve their lives.

In the past, I’ve worked in service roles where I’ve assisted customers with sorting through software problems. I’ve also helped write training manuals, and trained people on how to use various tech products.

All of this comes without a degree in technology, software or anything close to it!

I’m good at understanding how technology can help people, and how it can makes their lives better – so when I help my clients understand how to get photos from their cameras, or find images on their computers, I can break things down into small chunks so it’s easier for them to learn.

I know that for most of my clients, working with these tools isn’t naturally intuitive. Because I don’t have a technical background myself, it’s easier for me to put myself in the shoes of the person I’m teaching — which means I never talk down to people or make them feel stupid when we’re working together.

I try to ease their minds and reassure them that if I can understand it, they can, too!

4. There are always new technological tools and techniques to learn, and I enjoy that.

Even though I’ve been in my field for several years, there’s always more to learn. As new tools, gadgets, and systems become available, I enjoy staying current on changing technologies, so I can be sure to find the right solutions for my clients.

Being part of an association of like-minded colleagues through The Photo Managers has helped me stay current with the latest tech trends.

I’m also lucky to have access to professionals who are experts in areas where I’m still learning. I also have someone to ask, if I’m stuck on a particular question.

Being able to learn consistently and stay on top of new developments is great for my business, and my clients reap huge benefits from that, too.

5. Collaboration is good for everyone

When I work with my clients to help them enjoy their photos, I often get to collaborate with other local vendors and service providers. For example, when I’m working on a framed wall collage for a client, I work with several other vendors to complete the final product.

I select the images to use, then get the frames from a frame shop or retailer. I use a local printer to print the images, then I assemble it all and deliver it to the client.

It’s very fulfilling to collaborate with like-minded colleagues as we work together to provide excellent service to our clients.

6. I get to pay it forward.

I appreciate all the support and training I received from other organizers when I first started my business. Now that I’m an established photo organizer, I feel it’s important to pay it forward by helping new photo organizers establish sound foundations in their own businesses.

I enjoy participating in the annual Photo Managers conference, where I get to provide advice, training, and mentoring for new photo organizers.

With all the pictures we take, and the massive overwhelm people feel when they try to their tackle their massive photo collections, there is huge need for people with the expertise I have – so I never feel like I am “training my competition” when I help out new organizers.

There’s plenty of room for all of us in this business, and more photo organizers means more people get help with displaying and managing their photos. That is ALWAYS a good thing!

Keep Your Eye Out for Part Two

I’m so passionate about my job, I wanted to write TWO blog posts about it! Stay tuned for Part Two of this “What I Love” series, where I’ll tell you all about why I love my photo organizing clients!