Rita Norton joins us from Photovation in Portland, OR…
Share your story about how you became a photo organizer…
In the summer of 2011 I was being paid to design photo books with action photos I had taken of other kids on my kid’s sports teams. I remember thinking this was a pretty good gig and could this actually be a profession. Having been a successful (and lonely) entrepreneur I knew I could make it work but I absolutely knew I did not want to be on my own in this adventure. I googled photo organizing, found APPO, and made a decision that day to expand my photography business into a photo organizing business.
Primary services and which do you most enjoy?
I tend to focus on the client who needs a complete collection to be managed. This includes print, digital and then usually photo books. I grew up with this quote in my bedroom “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” ― Robert F. Kennedy. So, working with people one on one, hearing their stories, sometimes playing the role of “photo therapist” is near and dear to my heart.
How did you find APPO and how long have you been a member?
I found APPO by searching google – I worked briefly for APPO (when it was affiliated with Linea) as a Regional Trainer. I have been a member for 3+ years.
Favorite tool or vendor you use for photo organizing?
I have three:
- For removing printed photos stuck in albums I use my trusty Cricut craft tool, one is always in my tool bag and the other in my home office.
- For digital photos ready to be uploaded for clients to view during different phases of their projects I have grown very attached to PicBackMan. This tool allows me to effortlessly batch upload or download an unlimited number of organized photos to a variety of online storage accounts.
- For successful management of both printed and digital collections I use the forms that are sold here at My Workflow Studio. My go to forms for EVERY client are the individual and family timelines found in the Client Forms Bundle.
What is a big (or small) mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
It was my very first client and I arrived at her house nervous and excited. She had all her printed photos perfectly organized in dozens of boxes stacked in her dining room. I immediately lost focus and all I saw was a huge scanning job. I asked her what her goals were and where she wanted to start. She said she felt good about her printed photos but needed to get her digital photos in order. I promptly said she should start with getting her printed photos scanned. Needless to say, she did not seek my help after that meeting. Lesson learned: LISTEN!!!
Best client success story…
I have a few – but I think my favorite is actually one of a client that has since passed away. She had so much grief associated with her photos and I sat with her for many sessions talking with her and helping her sort out her feelings and her photos. When she passed away I shared all of the work with her family (she had not done that) and they were so touched. It was such a rewarding experience to know I had helped this client with closure and that her family was also rewarded with beautiful keepsakes. I have continued to work with this family helping her daughters with their photos and memorabilia.
What is your favorite family tradition?
Every summer we travel to a National Park – we have been to 15 parks. This summer we went to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. It is one of the oldest national parks in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia.
If you weren’t a photo organizer, what would you be doing instead?
I would have focused on growing my photography business – currently we focus on team and individual sport photography, but I would have expanded into custom photography specifically for high school athletes to build portfolios and document their high school sports “career.”
Are your own photos organized?
Yes and no. My digital collection is completely organized – and was way before I became a photo organizer. My printed collection is about 75% completed.
Best tip for a new photo organizer…what you wish someone would have told you sooner?
Document all your processes – always. Trust me – it will be a huge time-saver.
Anything else you want us to know?
I am married and have two teenagers (see above photo)! I have always lived on the west coast. However, after my son graduates from high school (May 2016), we will be moving to the east coast!
Say hi to Rita in the comments below and share something you learned from her interview…
P.S. Check out our TWO brand new Master Training for photo organizers both are now available for purchase!
1) Photo Mechanic 101 is a great overview of how Rita uses Photo Mechanic when working with a client’s digital photo collection.
2) Digital Photo Organizing 301 is the third DPO training in our series and really dives deep into customizing a system for each client.