Working with a professional photo organizer is new to many people, so we've answered many common questions below.

1. Why should I get my family photos organized?

It's time to tackle this project if you:

  • Can’t find the photos you need for your kid’s school projects
  • Download the same photos to your computer over and over again
  • Don’t know where your photos are
  • Have photos on obsolete devices
  • Worry about losing tons of photos if you lose your phone
  • Think about preserving old prints, negatives, and slides before they’re lost forever
  • Want to be able to share your family photo memories for generations to come
Those are all good reasons and I can help.

2. Can’t I just do this myself one day?

You could, but you probably won’t. That’s why you’re reading this and we can help.

3. I’ll admit I could use some help with this project, but why should I trust you to do it for me?

Adam has 20+ years of experience in photo management. This means Adam and his team can help you complete this project and do it in a way that follows industry best practices, supports open technology standards, and ensures your family photo memories will be preserved for generations to come. We also know you’ve been putting this off for years and we can get it done quickly.

4. What software do you use to organize photos?

We use Adobe Lightroom because it’s the industry-standard for professional photography, is available for Mac and Windows computers, and your final archive doesn’t require any special software to access.

5. What computer platforms do you support?

We happily support both Mac and Windows computers. Your photos matter, your computer platform doesn’t.

6. What camera and film formats do you support?

We’ve never met a film format we couldn’t digitize or digital camera file that we couldn’t convert. Try us!

7. How long will my project take?

We can’t answer that until we know more about your photos. Generally, it’s faster to organize digital photos than to scan physical negatives and prints. The length of your project also depends on how many images you have, how disorganized they are, and how thoroughly you want us to organize them. Generally speaking, most projects can be completed in just a few weeks.

8. How much will my project cost?

We start all projects with a free 30-minute phone consultation. We'll use that time to size up your project, determine next steps, and we will give you an estimate for what you decide to tackle.

 The four key factors that affect the cost of a project are:
  • How many images do you have?
  • Do you have physical photos, digital photos, or both?
  • What’s your current level of chaos?
  • How organized do you want to be?

We'll be transparent with you throughout the process. For example, if we discover something about your images that will make the project take longer than estimated we’ll get your approval before proceeding. Other times we’ll find ways to simplify a project and we can save you money.

9. Do you provide an exact quote or a rough estimate for projects?

Because of the number of factors, we provide an estimate that might change as the project develops. You won't be asked to pay for services that you haven’t approved.

10. Are there any other costs I need to be aware of?

There are three other costs you should know about:

  • REQUIRED: You need to buy three hard drives for a reliable backup strategy. You will have all your images on one drive, the second drive is a backup of your images, and the third drive is an off-site backup that you can leave with friends or family. The offsite backup means that even in a fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, or theft you won’t lose your precious family photos. Don’t skimp here. There’s no sense in doing all this work only to lose it. We can guide you on this purchase and the cost will be about $200 for all three drives
  • RECOMMENDED: You should buy a license of Adobe Lightroom software to easily enjoy and add to your family photo archive. You don't need Adobe Lightroom Classic to view your images, but it will make it easier to search them and keep them organized in the future. You can get a one-time license for $150 or if you prefer a subscription option you can choose the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan for $10/month. The subscription plan gives you automatic access to all new versions of Lightroom and Photoshop for as long as you maintain your subscription.
  • OPTIONAL: If your project includes physical photos (prints, negatives, slides, etc.) there will be a separate cost to scan those original materials. We partner with the top vendors in the industry to get you the best scans at a fair price. This pricing is per piece and not per hour, and varies based on the number of images and format of the originals.

11. Do I really need three hard drives? That seems like overkill.

If you never want to lose a family photo you should purchase three hard drives. This is the industry best practice and is a small investment for peace of mind. We’ve been using this backup strategy for 25+ years and we’ve never lost a file. Data recovery services for a dead hard drive will cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. By comparison you can purchase three drives for less than $200.

12. This is overwhelming, where do I start?

These projects can feel overwhelming, but it’s easy to get started. Just contact us to set up a free 30-minute phone consultation. We will discuss your project and plan your next steps.

13. Should I start with physical or digital photos?

If you aren't sure where to start, we suggest starting with the photos that are most precious to you. If you have a specific project or deadline in mind we will work toward that goal. If it really doesn’t matter to you, then we suggest starting with your digital photos because those are most easily lost, easiest to organize, and can give you a quick sense of peace and progress.

14. What's the process once we get started?

When you decide to let us turn your chaos to memories, we’ll ask you to complete our Getting Started form, gather copies of all your images (digital files, photos, videos, etc.), and then drop off or ship your memories to our studio. This moment is always a big relief to our clients because all their photos are out of their way, they know the project has finally started, and they don’t have to sit with us while we work on their photos.

15. What do I get in the end?

It depends on what kind of project we tackle, but here are some examples:

  • Organizing Digital Photos: You’ll receive an external hard drive formatted for your computer that holds all your digital images freshly organized for easy searching, browsing, and enjoying, along with a backup plan to keep your images safe.
  • Preserving Physical Photos: You’ll receive everything from the Digital Photos example above PLUS after scanning all your physical photos they will be returned in acid-free, archival envelopes and boxes. Your physical photos will also be organized to match your digital photo archive.
  • Maintenance Plans: On a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis we will organize all your recent photos based on the same organization method we use for your first organization project. Note that maintenance plans are only available to clients who have already completed an organization project.
  • Creating Legacy Art: We can help you to create professional prints, premium canvas wraps, and heirloom photo albums of your best images. We work with the top vendors in the industry to deliver beautiful and memorable products you won’t find elsewhere.

16. How do I keep up with this?

You can keep taking photos with any phone or cameras you prefer. To keep your Family Photo Archive sorted, searchable, and safe we offer maintenance plans that keep you up to date without disrupting your busy schedule.

17. What if I find more photos later?

Discovering more photos after your main organization project is complete is very common. That’s why Adam designed the Chaos to Memories photo organization system to accommodate these “late additions” to your archive.

18. Who scans my images?

We scan all your photos by hand and on-site in our studio in Wheaton, IL.

19. Are my photos safe during this process?

Yes, they are safer with us than they are in your basement or attic. We follow industry best practices such as wearing gloves when handling your physical photos and making daily backups of your digital files. We care for your photos as if they were our own.

20. How do you protect my privacy?

Your trust and privacy are important to us and essential to our business. Other than trusted printing partners, Adam and the Chaos to Memories team are the only people who see and handle your photos.