Pepper Mintz joins us from Get It Done Photo Solutions in Ontario, Canada…
Share your story about how you became a photo organizer…
I had recently left the Air Force, was enjoying being a full-time Mom to our two daughters but I knew I wanted to explore business ideas. We were visiting my husband’s parents, they were between homes so had all their possessions cramped into a friend’s house – this included 40 years worth of photos and memorabilia. I have always had organizational tendencies and so I offered to sort through the boxes and do something with the photos. When it was all sorted, I tried to find suitable albums but ended up putting my father-in-law’s Second World War navy photos in a school binder on coloured paper. Key for me in this process was sitting with Don and asking him about his photos. My husband heard stories for the first time. It was tremendously rewarding to record the stories with the photos. As we drove away that last day of holiday, I turned to my husband and said, “that’s what I could do – organize people’s photos”. It was 1990.
As I researched business options, I read about a brand new company in the US called Showbox to Showcase – it appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. The company was not in Canada yet, however the opening of it in British Columbia in 1993 coincided with my husband’s posting to Victoria. And thus began my career with Creative Memories which lasted 20 years, through six moves and the many changes paralleling in all photography business with the advent of digital.
As luck would have it, Cathi Nelson and I ended up stranded at the Minneapolis airport one cold and stormy January night and she told us about her new business as a Photo Organizer. This took me full circle back to my original idea and matched trends that I was seeing in the market. I was an early adopter of digital photobooks and so I began to transition my own business from direct sales to independent Photo Organizer.
What are your primary services and which do you enjoy most?
- Photobook Design and Publish
- Photo Organization (printed or digital) and implementation of a customized Photo Management Plan for the client.
- Digitization of printed photos, documents and videos.
How did you find APPO and how long have you been a member?
That dark and stormy night! I have been a member for three years.
Favorite tool or vendor you use for photo organizing?
I recently revamped my Digital Organizing system based on My Workflow Studio’s model (using DPO 101 and DPO 201) and am confident I now have a robust process to use with clients that sets a foundation for them to use (or hire me to maintain). I am using Peter Krough’s The DAM book (Digital Asset Management) to further develop my expertise along with other resources.
What is a big (or small) mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
I was trying too hard to be all things to all people. Any photo solution – I can do it. Based on my experiences and learning opportunities through APPO, I am now laser-focused on what services I want to offer and who I want my clients to be.
Best client success story…
Watching a family of 6 – who as a family are adventurous, thrill-seekers – sit quietly pouring over their 2-Volume set of photobooks that told the stories of their posting in Argentina. (I volunteered to do this large scale project for my friend as a means to test out my processes.) From an absolute mess of digital images to the end product. It was a very worthwhile investment of my time as I learnt much and improved on my processes, to my current clients’ benefit.
What is your favorite family tradition?
We make gingerbread houses from scratch each year and have gingerbread house decorating parties. It began when the girls were in high chairs and decorated with cheerios, now it is all adults and wine is on the table. The parties have been hosted across Canada and in the US, we make an average of 30 each time, and, yes, photos have documented every party.
If you weren’t a photo organizer, what would you be doing instead?
Bossing someone around!
Are your own photos organized?
HA! No. On the bright side, now I know how to do it correctly. I have created a Core File Structure and am moving our family photos off several devices & software to create our hub. I am shocked at how disjointed it has become. Is there any wonder people come to us for help?
Best tip for a new photo organizer…what you wish someone would have told you sooner?
Take the time to understand what your business will offer and not offer – this may change from your original strategy. Invest time and money in good training. Invest in good tools.
Say hi to Pepper in the comments below and share something you learned from her interview…