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Meet Rita Norton of Photovation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rita Norton.

So, before we jump into specific questions about your photo organizing business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Native Oregonian – Married 23 years & mom of two teenagers – Serial Entrepreneur! In August of 2016 my family and I moved 3,092 miles to Winchester, MA. Quite a move and quite a year leading up to it. Portland, Oregon was my home for the past 27 years. It is where I bought my first house, met and married my husband, birth place of my two kids and where I ran three different small businesses. The first business was an online invitations and announcements company using photos founded in 1998, the second was a sports photography business founded 10 years later, and then in 2011 I started Photovation.

Have you ever felt frustrated about not being able to locate a favorite photo on your phone or computer? Or anxiety ridden over the fear of something happening to your photos? In my photography business my clients were asking for help and were overwhelmed with the photos they were collecting and taking. After lots of clients’ sessions to learn from them what they wanted I started Photovation. Photovation is a boutique photo organizing company where I organize your collection of photos (both printed and digital) and then design beautiful luxury digital albums or premium video slideshows that showcase your favorite photos and stories.

Has it been a smooth road?
One of the biggest challenge I encountered as a photo organizer was the lack of training and tools available. I was excited to find APPO, the (Association of Personal Photo Organizers) and even worked for them for a short period of time. However, it was not until I met my current business partner, Sherra Humphreys (she also worked for APPO) that we put our collective 35 years of experience together and developed premium resources for photo organizers including online classes, pricing forms, and in-person training. We each continue to run our own photo organizing businesses, but in 2017 (after working together for four years) we formed S & R Studio (sandrstudio.com) – our training and consulting business for photo industry and organizing professionals.

The other challenge in this business (that I cannot fix) is technology. Ever, changing, technology! So many technology players have come in and out of this marketplace that you need to be very thoughtful about the solutions you create for your clients. It reminds me of Heidi Klum’s quote from Project Runway “In fashion, one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” That applies to technology too!

We’d love to hear more about your business as a Photo Organizer.
Whenever I share with people what I do the common response is “I need your help” and I do wish I could help everyone but I have found that helping 3-5 clients at a time allows me to provide the premium service that most benefits my clients. My ideal client is one where I manage their lifetime collection of photos (inherited, printed, digital, etc…), create a system of organization that works for them and then ensure that all photos are backed-up with both external hard drives and cloud services. My favorite part is designing annual photo albums that highlight their best photos and favorite stories of the year. Some of my clients have me focus solely on travel albums, or albums for their grandchildren. Organizing a lifetime collection can take a long time but the looks of joy and tears and hugs that I get when delivering a printed photo album are truly priceless.

Photos are filled with stories and for some people these stories are difficult to get through. The part I love about being a photo organizer is that I am making a difference in people’s lives. I play many roles as I work with my clients and I think the one that I like the best is the role of photo therapist.

In this profession you need to really listen to what the client wants and needs. Some clients will have a lot of grief associated with their photos and they need you to just listen as they tell their stories. I had a client who had alienated a lot of people after the death of her husband. It had been 17 years and she hired me to help her organize her printed photos. We completed the project and four months later she died. However, the gift she left her children, and the peace she felt talking about her success and failures, were priceless. Her memorial slideshow was exactly how she would want people to remember her with special photos of people she had lost touch with long ago. But always had a place in her heart. It was her way of embracing and acknowledging the love that she had pushed away for so many years.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Boston is a great city for a small business owner. As a photo organizer in the Boston area you also get to experience and learn about amazing family and US history that is part of many family legacies.

Contact Info:

Rita and her business partner Sherra, co-founders of S & R StudioCreative Memories scrapbooks converted into photo albums, what a space saver! 8MM movie tapes converted to play on DVDs, now you can relive your childhood!Boxes of printed photos picked up from a client’s home Sample design spread of a luxury photo album, Croatia Sample design spread of a luxury photo album, Italy

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