What (Exactly) Does a Professional Photo Manager Do, and How Can One Help You?

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A professional photo manager may be exactly what you need so you can enjoy your memories now and leave a meaningful collection for future generations.

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For most of picture-taking history, printed photos were the norm. In the very beginning subjects had to hold completely still for many hours so the pictures would not be blurry. This was later reduced to 20 minutes, then 20 seconds, and now, just the second it takes to push the shutter and say “cheese!”

Current estimates suggest that more than 1 trillion photos are taken in a year. Only a few million images were taken in the 80 years leading up to the first commercial camera for general use. In 1999, Kodak reported that we had taken approximately 80 billion pictures. Now, we share almost 10 times that amount of images each year on Facebook alone.

For many families, the family photo keeper was the wife and/or mother. However, many women entered the workforce in the last century. They found they didn’t have the time to keep up with organizing, curating, and displaying the family photos.

You may be in that baby boomer generation whose precious family photos are stored away in boxes. You may have also inherited photos from your parents and/or previous generations. Your digital photos are all over the place, and technology may not be your best friend. And your kids may have told you they don’t want your photos (or you are afraid they might if you ask).

You may need the help of a professional photo manager. Read on to learn exactly what a photo manager does. Then you’ll be able to decide if hiring one is what you need to get your photo memory collection under control.

What is a Professional Photo Manager?

Photo Management is an emerging profession that came to exist a little over a decade ago. The problems many people face today with generations of disorganized photos and outdated media formats led to a need for help.

Formerly known as personal photo organizers, photo managers have extensive knowledge about organizing printed and digital photos. In addition, they often know about editing and restoring photos, as well as modernizing outdated formats such as slides, videotapes and old home movies. Here’s a graphic that shows some of the services professional photo managers provide:

How Can a Photo Manager Help Me?

Since photo managers are usually independent business owners, the services offered vary widely among them.

Some offer only complete done-for-you services, while others offer à la carte services such as scanning, organizing digital photos, or media conversion. Still others offer to teach photo management, either one-on-one, in classes, or through memberships.

Some photo managers only work with local clients, and others work with clients from all over, through the internet, or by shipping media.

In any case, working with a professional photo manager can help you with these photo management tasks:

  • Sort and organize printed photos so you can find any photo quickly
  • Scan printed photos, negatives, slides and more so they are preserved and enjoyable again
  • Digitize old format media such as videotapes and old home movies on film so you can relive your children’s childhood
  • Combine digital photos from various sources (computers, phones, online storage, etc.) so you can have all your photos together, safe, and searchable
  • Make recommendations for photo-safe products and software so you don’t have to navigate the ever-changing market
  • Teach you how to manage your new collection so you don’t have to worry about the tech being overwhelming, or
  • Maintain your collection on a regular basis so you can do the other fun things in your life
  • Create keepsakes from your photos, such as photo books, slide shows, wall displays and more
  • And just about anything else you can think of when it comes to your precious photo memories.

A professional photo manager can help you with whatever you have in your photo memory collection.

What are the Benefits of Working with a Professional Photo Manager?

You may hire a photo manager to do all the work for you, or to help you get it done yourself. In either case, you’ll find that it will reduce your stress about your photo memory collection. You’ve ignored it or delayed working on it for so long that the guilt and anxiety has likely built up. When you know that someone will handle it for you, or help you handle it yourself, you will feel encouraged and hopeful.

A photo manager will save you time. Just like any other professional, they have experience and education they will use to help you make your photo plan. You won’t have to spend hours doing research about the best process, or the best tools to use.

Their technological education and experience will also help you navigate the muddy waters of technology. A photo manager may gather and organize all your digital photos, implement a backup system, or just get your phone photos into your collection. They will help you shortcut the learning curves and explain how things work so that you can feel comfortable with your modernized systems.

Once your photo memories are organized and preserved, you’ll be able to enjoy them yourself as well as share them with others. Photo managers can create keepsakes for you or teach you how to do it yourself.

I think the biggest benefit that comes from working with a professional photo manager is peace of mind. You’ll know that your photos are safe, easily searched, and organized into a meaningful collection that you can leave for future generations.

a professional photo manager helping a mature woman learn to mange photos on her computer.

How Can I Find a Photo Manager?

I’m a member of The Photo Managers (formerly the Association of Personal Photo Organizers), and have been since 2013. I love to help people all over the world manage their collections. You can also search the TPM website to find other photo managers across the country and the world.

Every professional photo manager runs his or her business differently. It’s a good idea to check out their websites and to read their articles and testimonials to find one that’s a good fit for you.

You may want to sign up for the mailing list of a few that you have narrowed down. This way you can continue to get a feel for how they help people. And they often share helpful tips and techniques that you can use.

A free Discovery Call is also a good way to find out if a photo manager offers the services that you are looking for.

How Long Will My Photo Management Project Take, and How Much Will it Cost?

The very precise answer to those two questions is – it depends.

It depends on whether you want done-for-you services, à la carte services, or to be taught to do it yourself. It depends on how many photo memories you have in your collection, as well as what formats and condition they are in. It also depends on what your end goal for the collection is, and who will maintain it.

Those things will also affect the price you pay. This is why many photo managers don’t have pricing on their websites. Or they are unwilling to give even a starting quote until the collection has been assessed. Every collection is so completely unique that it’s just impossible to quote without assessment.

No matter how you choose to work with a professional photo manager, it will require an investment of both time and money. That’s why it’s important to take the time to do the research and choose the best photo manager for your needs.

What’s Next?

I’m hope you feel a little better informed about what a professional photo manager does and how one might help you. Even though I do offer photo management services, I want you to be able to make an informed decision before you speak to anyone. Even me.

If you do want to ask any other questions about working with me, feel free to arrange a free, non-salesy 30-minute chat. You can tell me all about your photo memory collection, and I can tell you how I might be able to help. You can book a time that suits you by clicking the button below.

Fancy Ruff-Wagner, Professional Photo Manager, sorting photos waiting for your call
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