Kathy Rogers joins us from Baltimore Photo Solutions in Baltimore, Maryland…
Share your story about how you became a photo organizer…
I started off making photo books for myself, and organizing multiple generations of photos, slides, and movies for my own extended family. I then branched out to doing photo books for friends, and word spread. I was thrilled to find other people who were doing the same kinds of work, and to turn it into a business that is flexible and can be scaled up or down depending on my other commitments.
Primary services and which do you most enjoy?
I seem to be specializing in a hybrid – digital and print photo organizing for people dealing with multiple generations of photos. Often these are women who are part of the “sandwich generation” – and I can really relate to them as I’m juggling child and elder care issues myself. I love to help families tell their stories and preserve them in meaningful ways. I also love knowing that I’ve helped to reduce stress, and increase pleasure by getting my client’s photo life from overwhelmed to organized. One other thing, I love the amazing capability of digital photo restoration, and how we can bring new life to old photos. I’ve even helped salvage a couple of family paintings that clients thought were destroyed. They got to be heroes to their families for saving that bit of history, and I helped make it happen.
How did you find APPO and how long have you been a member?
I discovered APPO with a Google search years ago, realizing that this thing I was doing – making photo books for people, really was a career. I’ve been a member since 2012.
Favorite tool or vendor you use for photo organizing?
My newest favorite tool is the LUCID software that Cathi Nelson turned me on to. It’s been so amazing for improving the quality of dark photos that we need to include in a photo book. Couldn’t be easier to use, and I got it with the big Black Friday discount.
What is a big (or small) mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
Sometimes clients are not willing to pay for the services that they want done. And I have had to learn that I can’t cave on that, especially if I’m subcontracting it out. It’s not always worth the money it will cost to save a cassette tape, or a poster, and that’s OK. I’ve had to learn to be professional, and kind, and stick to my boundaries of pricing and managing expectations.
Best client success story…
I think it’s going to be a client I’m working with now. We’re only part way through the project, and it’s a surprise so I can’t give details, but it’s got the overwhelmed to organized piece, the heartfelt gift, and the validation of a life time of preserving memories – all together with one very lovely client who is a joy to work with & a large long term project.
What is your favorite family tradition?
There have been a few genealogists and scrapbookers in my family. I’ve loved to take their work and bring it into a format that’s relevant for current generations. Usually that means digitizing and condensing. My father-in-law was thrilled to see that his albums were preserved and shared among his children, and the key stories were preserved for his grandchildren (and maybe their children) to enjoy after he was gone.
If you weren’t a photo organizer, what would you be doing instead?
Something in health care still, probably. This is a much more family-friendly career, though.
Are your own photos organized?
Yes, the digital ones are, and many of the printed ones. I am a few years behind on my family’s photo books though. Oh, the guilt. My son sees me making a book for someone else, and asks when he’s going to get a new book for himself.
Best tip for a new photo organizer…what you wish someone would have told you sooner?
Narrow your focus, choose what you’re going to specialize in and stay true to that. It’s OK to say no to all the other stuff.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
This is a new and still uncharted field. There are many niches and photo organizing solutions that haven’t been developed yet. Think about your own background and expertise and how you can help meet a need that may or may not even be identified yet. I found this when I needed to do a book for a long-distance family member dealing with dementia. I learned so much doing that book, and that lead to helping others’ in that same situation. I am now trying to find ways to share my knowledge with others – in this very specialized niche that combines my public health background and my current photo organizing career.
Say hi to Kathy in the comments below and share something you learned from her interview!