Debra Benbow joins us from Big River Photo Solutions in Wenatchee, Washington…
Share your story about how you became a photo organizer…
When I was a little girl, my mom would bring out boxes of pictures to look through for something to do on a rainy day. When she remarried and moved to Washington state, she turned several boxes of family photos over to me. By 1990, I was trying to save up the money for enough magnetic albums so I could get them organized and into a format where they could be enjoyed. About that time I heard about Creative Memories and didn’t hesitate to sign up as a consultant. I thrived on helping people with their photos, and by 2013 I was beginning to create albums for people who didn’t have the time. Offering my services was a natural transition doing something I loved.
Primary services and which do you most enjoy?
I enjoy scanning and creating books using Artisan software. I also love creating video slideshows using ProShow software and would like to build more business in this area. I also enjoy doing design work for businesses and a non-profit I’m part of.
How did you find APPO and how long have you been a member?
I had heard about APPO when Cathi first started the organization. As CM changed directions I began researching what to do next and was invited by another CM consultant to consider joining APPO. I joined in August 2013.
Favorite tool or vendor you use for photo organizing?
Hmmm. Where do I start?! For scanning, I use the Kodak PS50. I absolutely love Artisan and use it for all my graphic design work including flyers, brochures, etc. I use Photo Mechanic to organize, and will eventually upload all my family StoryBook pages and best photos to Forever. Professional Photo Albums is my go-to for creating albums and I love the quality of Artsy Couture canvases. Mylio is also a program that I would like to incorporate my photos into once they are all re-organized. (I’m in the process of moving them from Historian and deleting all the ones that should have been deleted a long time ago!) I also use Lightroom and I’m learning to using PhotoShop Elements.
My family accuses me of being a ‘software junkie”!
What is a big (or small) mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
When I first started my new organizing business, I hired a local business coach who was in my BNI group. He helped me through some of the legal and tax issues, but knew absolutely nothing about the photo organizing business, and I didn’t feel he even cared to know about it. I regret not investing in coaching with Sherra right from the beginning.
Best client success story…
Last summer a casual acquaintance called me and asked if I could help her with scanning all her framed pictures. They had been put on alert as a wildfire moved toward their home, and she removed all of her framed photos, packed them up and took them to a friend’s house. She wanted them scanned before taking them home. I had to take many of them to a frame shop to remove the photos, took them back to my office to scan, and then back to the frame shop to be re-framed. This job led to more work with the same client.
What is your favorite family tradition?
Our kids and grand-kids all live in different states so it’s hard to get everyone together, though we try to do a big vacation together every few years. One tradition we did have while they were at home was a big Christmas breakfast/brunch with extended family rather than Christmas dinner.
If you weren’t a photo organizer, what would you be doing instead?
I would be a photographer specializing in creative composites.
Are your own photos organized?
Mostly. I have albums completed through 2013.
Best tip for a new photo organizer…what you wish someone would have told you sooner?
Get the right coaching, get involved in a business networking group, and be professional right from the start, even if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Invest in yourself! Training, coaching, conference, books, etc. You’re worth it!
Say hi to Debra in the comments below and share something you learned from her interview!