Somewhere in our attics or basements lurk dusty boxes containing old family photos, newspaper clippings, marriage licenses, death certificates, maybe even an 8-mm movie taken long ago—remnants of the past and orphans of the digital age. It’s a shame to abandon those precious personal effects, but a daunting task to organize them in a meaningful way. North Seattle–based Molly Bullard, owner of Seattle Photo Organizing (seattlephotoorganizing.com), understands that completely. “People can’t make a photo album until they deal with the boxes and boxes,” she says, “which is an intense and personal experience. They want to share the photos, but feel guilty for not doing anything with them for so long.”
As part of her business, Bullard, a former data analyst, gently shepherds clients through the process of sorting, saving, scanning or tossing those paper memories, readying them for a slideshow or photo book, or more frequently, creating a digital archive of them. After preserving the originals, Bullard neatly and precisely organizes the scans into well-labeled files, by subject or date or family member, into an easily accessible virtual filing cabinet on both the client’s computer and in a secure spot online, such as Dropbox.com or in the cloud on iPhoto. She also helps people who have perhaps only ever taken a digital picture—new parents, for example, and those whose iPhoto libraries are a disorganized and confusing mess.
The core of her business, however, is ensuring that her clients understand their computers and how to protect their digital life. “I’m passionate about teaching people how their computer works and how changing their preferences can help to make their digital life more successful,” says the mother of three who is always mindful of personal security and the threat of identity theft. “Photos are a good lead-in to the rest of it.” Bullard charges an average of $125 per hour for on-site organizing and digital photo training, and 70 cents per scanned photo as large as 8 by 10 inches.