Working with a professional photo organizer is new to many people, so we’ve answered many common questions below. Read through our FAQs and feel free to let us know if you have additional questions. You might also find answers to your questions in one of our many blog posts.

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 watch home movies stuck in old formats
  • Want to be able to share your family photo memories for generations to come

Those are all good reasons and we can help.

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.

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

We have decades of experience in photo management and our team can help you complete this project. We follow industry best practices, support open technology standards, and help ensure 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. Learn more about our history and what makes us unique.

What software do you use to organize photos?

We use Adobe Lightroom Classic because it’s the industry-standard for professional photography, works on Mac and Windows computers, and your Family Photo Archive doesn’t require any special software to access.

What computer platforms do you support?

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

What photo and video formats do you support?

We scan any photo format, convert any digital format, and convert dozens of formats of home movies and audio. You can find a list of supported photos formats, home movie formats, and digital formats on our site.

How long will my project take?

Most projects can be completed in just a few weeks, but it depends on what you bring us and our current waitlist. Generally, the length of your project depends on how many photos and video you have, how disorganized they are, and how thoroughly you want us to organize them. When you bring or ship your project to the studio we can give you a more accurate timeline.

How much will my project cost?

It’s impossible to know the cost until we know more about your project. We’re happy to offer you a free assessment when you bring in your photos and videos, provide an estimate, work in phases, and communicate along the way. The key factors that affect the cost of a project are:
  • How many photos and videos do you have?
  • What’s your current level of chaos?
  • How organized do you want to be?

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

Because of the number of factors in a complicated project like this, we provide an estimate that might change as the project progresses. Our estimates are usually very accurate, but if there are any surprises we will ask for your approval before proceeding with any extra work.

Are there any other costs I should be aware of?

In addition to the cost of scanning photos, converting home movies, and organizing your memories, a few optional costs might include:
  • Extra Digital Storage: We deliver smaller projects on a USB thumb drive and larger projects on an external hard drive. If you need extra thumb drives to give as gifts or extra hard drives for backups we can prepare those drives for you.
  • Archival Photos Storage: We strongly recommend keeping your original photos safe in archival photo storage sleeves, envelopes, and boxes. We only use archival materials from the best vendors in the industry and can provide custom photo storage for your project.
  • Online Access: At end of your project we can upload all your memories to a private cloud account that makes it easier to view, search, and share your memories from anywhere.

What do you recommend for backups?

After you complete such an important project you want to keep everything safe for today and future generations. We recommend the 3-2-1 backup strategy and can help you get setup to keep everything safe:
  • 3 Copies
  • 2 Different Media
  • 1 Offsite

This is overwhelming, where do I start?

These projects can feel overwhelming, but it’s easy to get started. Contact us today so we can learn more about you and your photos. All you have to do is bring us your photos and home movies and we’ll provide a free assessment, suggest next steps, and help you enjoy your memories again.

What’s the process once we get started?

When you decide to let us turn your chaos to memories, we will coordinate with you to drop off or ship your memories to our studio. Gathering everything in one place is always the first step because it helps us understand the scope of your project and work efficiently. This moment is always a big relief for 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 project.
From there our staff will work together on your project through our five-step process. Along the way we might send email updates or ask you to verify details such as names, dates, or events.

What do I get in the end?

It depends on what kind of project we tackle, but here are some examples:
  • Organize 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.
  • Organize 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.
  • Home Movie Conversion: You’ll receive all your original video tapes and film reels. In addition, all your converted video files are organized by date and searchable by subject. We use the MP4 digital video format and deliver on a USB thumb drive (smaller projects) or external USB hard drive (larger projects).
  • Photo Restoration: Our expert restoration service includes high-resolution scanning of the damaged photo, digital restoration, a USB thumb drive with the before and after images, and a mounted print of the restored photo.
  • Wall Art: We offer professionally mounted photo prints, metal prints, acrylic prints, and canvas gallery wraps that show off your best memories. We partner with the top vendors in the photo industry to deliver beautiful and memorable products you won’t find anywhere else.
  • Photo Books: We design modern photo books using timeless materials like linen and leather from the best photo book binders in the industry. We can design photo books for weddings, vacations, year-in-review, and other celebrations and we can print one or a hundred in a variety of sizes.
  • Maintenance Plans: On a regular 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.

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.

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.

Who scans my photos and converts my home movies?

We scan all your photos and convert your home movies by hand and on-site in our studio in Wheaton, Illinois.

Are my photos safe during this process?

Yes, they are safer with us than they are in your basement, crawlspace, or attic. We follow industry best practices such as wearing gloves when handling your physical photos, storing your photos in waterproof containers, and making daily backups of your digital files. Our studio is secured with individual security codes and 24/7 remote monitoring.  We care for your photos as if they were our own.

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 staff are the only people who see and handle your photos.

If you’re near Chicago and ready to get started, come visit our Wheaton Studio Monday – Friday, 10-5. Please bring your memories with you.

Contact us for more information, shipping instructions, and to get started on your project.