by Taylor Vogel | SORT Organization Services
Lisa! Tell me about Scissortail Digital!
Scissortail Digital provides professional photo organizing, digitizing, and design services with the mission of helping people tell their stories, build their skills, and enjoy their photos. Photography is a fantastic medium for storytelling and connection and I believe that at the end of the day, our stories and memories matter most. They represent our connections and relationships, our priorities and lived experiences. Our stories help define us, connect us, and provide insight into who we are, for our own understanding and our relationships with those around us. I love this quote by American photographer and educator Ralph Hattersley, “We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
Living in Oklahoma, we’re quite familiar with the threat of tornadoes and we’ve all heard the tragic stories of those who have lost everything in mere moments. Most people, when faced with potential disaster, would race to save their photos if forced to prioritize which physical possessions they could secure. While I’d never wish that fear of loss or actual loss on anyone, wouldn’t it be great if you knew for certain that all your photos and videos - your STORIES - were safe and retrievable even if the worst happened and your home and possessions were lost? In a nutshell, that’s exactly what I do - I work with clients worldwide to ensure that their memories are backed up, secure, accessible, and retrievable. No more frantically deleting photos on your phone so you have more space, no more worrying about your photos during storm season, just assurance that all your photos are safe in a system designed to meet your needs and preferences.
In addition to digital photo management, I offer photo scanning and video conversion services, as well as design projects including custom photo books and gallery walls. While I am also a photographer myself, my services typically begin when someone else has clicked the camera shutter. As an educator-turned-entrepreneur, I often say that I’m still teaching, but my content has shifted and I now have a much larger classroom - it’s worldwide. My goals are to always help people improve their skills and to use and enjoy their photos!
One issue that clients and family have brought up to me is an abundance of printed photos that aren’t theirs. How do you recommend approaching organizing printed photos that aren’t yours?
The first questions I ask all photo organizing clients are, “How are you currently using your photos?” and “How do you WANT to use your photos?” As the client responds, they inevitably tell me about their family, their hobbies and interests, and the cameras they use - which all give me clues about how they prioritize their photos and what they see as the PURPOSE.
Knowing that purpose can be very helpful in guiding a client through the process. I can only ask questions, not make the final decision for you.
One possibility: If you digitize the photos, you might feel ready to toss the prints, or at least some of them. The photos would be preserved and could be more easily shared. You wouldn’t have to store the physical photos, but you would then have digital files. Note: If you do choose to digitize and nothing is organized yet, take time to first sort the photos into some broad categories: by person / subject, time (year / decade / season), or whatever makes sense. Any organizing I receive is maintained when I scan, so a box of loose images will be returned as digital photos in no particular order, or they’ll be delivered with labeled folders that reflect the organizing that was done first. (Hire Taylor and SORT to help with this, then I’ll take over with the digital part!)
A few other questions to consider:
Sometimes, you just need to let things go and that’s okay! But that’s always up to you.
What are your top 3 functional photo displays? And you offer services to design these, correct?
Talk to me about organizing photos as a means of telling our stories!
More and more photos are taken every year, notably since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. The projected total of photos taken globally in 2021 alone is 1.4 trillion - that’s a crazy amount of photos! It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by our photos when you consider the sheer volume, plus the fact that our photos and memories MATTER to us. The fear of losing them or not knowing how to efficiently store or use them can be a real source of stress.
When our photos are organized, then we’re more likely to engage with them - to take them, use them, share them, and ENJOY them, which means then we’re telling our stories. When a system is in place, then the focus is on story and joy, not stress!
Once we’ve worked with you to design our amazing album, what are some considerations for storing that hard copy album that we should consider? I currently have my photo albums on my bookshelf—but is that going to damage them?
I strongly believe that photos and photo albums should be ENJOYED. Like fine china or other special dishes or mementos, I think your photos and photo albums should be used, not just kept on a shelf or tucked away in storage. That said, quality matters. So does a backup system.
High quality, professional printing of all custom photo books and albums is included with projects that I design. Each one features thick paper, layflat binding, phenomenal color, and customized details. This means that your book or album is meant to last. But sometimes accidents happen (spilled coffee, curious puppy), so I keep a backup of your design on file if you ever need a reprint. Storing your albums on a bookshelf is a great way to keep them accessible. Keeping them either stacked or standing straight, not leaning at an angle for an extended period, will help ensure that the binding remains strong and your photo book or album stays intact. (But don’t use that as an excuse to never look at them!)
Also, there are multiple options for photo book features and finishes, so a photo book you might give to your elementary-age child featuring photos they captured would likely not be of the same quality as a wedding album!
Do you have three favorite photos you’d like to share?
1. An absolutely crazy shot I took this summer of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (our state bird) eating a bug that I didn’t even realize I’d captured initially. Weeks later I was doing some editing and I zoomed waaaaay in and discovered the insane framing of this precise moment with the bird’s open beak. I also have a few shots of “the hunt” immediately preceding this. It’s not the sharpest photo, but I love the moment and story it tells.
2. This was taken just a week ago at PhotoCon, a photo conference sponsored by Bedford Camera (our great local camera store in OKC!), and held at St. Crispin’s Camp near Seminole. I love exploring new places and getting lost in the moment looking through my camera lens. These dew drops illuminated by early morning light made it one of my favorites from that day.
3. I recently rediscovered this photo of me with my maternal grandparents. The story goes that I had been “playing photographer” with an empty film box (remember those?!), so my grandma decided to gift me her old camera. I love the story this tells and how some interests are clearly established at an early age. I’ve pretty much kept a camera nearby since then!
Thank you so much, Lisa, for a peek into all things photo organization!
Lisa Mast is a storyteller, educator, and entrepreneur who uses photography, music, and travel as the main mediums in her work. She is the founder of Scissortail Digital, a photo and media management company, which means she gets to help people organize, use, and enjoy their photos and memories - their stories! Lisa is also a music educator and conductor, global traveler, and a farm girl. She is a 1w2 and ENFJ, loves a good macchiato or chai latte, thinks a scarf is the best fashion accessory, and yes, the hair is naturally curly. Lisa moved back to her home community of Weatherford, Oklahoma after living in New Mexico, Virginia, and Albania, and her favorite title is Aunt Lisa to her two nephews, Luke and Aaron.
You can connect with Lisa on Instagram and Facebook @ScissortailDigital and learn more on her website at https://scissortaildigital.com/
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SORT Organization Services provides professional organizing services in-person to the Oklahoma City Metro area. We help our customers streamline and manage their belongings in ways that best serve their needs through custom organization by a professional organizer.
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