There’s so much in your life to love
You love your family, your pets, your vacations. There’s so much about your life that you love and you’re constantly capturing memories by taking pictures. But you have photos everywhere – on your phone, on your computer, in boxes and bags, in the basement, in the attic, on the walls, and even on old phones and computers! You may even have inherited photos from your parents or previous generations. You just wish there was someone to help with this photo chaos and overwhelm.
Hi! I’m Fancy Ruff-Wagner
I believe that photos and memories from our past enrich the present and inspire hope for the future. As a result, I became a personal photo organizer for busy families who value their photos and family stories. They have a mess of pictures and other memories stored in boxes, old computers, and phones, but don’t have the time or emotional energy to organize them on their own. I create a single, easy-to-search collection that ensures their traditions and important life events are accessible for their children and grandchildren.
How I Became a Photo Organizer
I got my first camera, a Brownie, at age 5, and my first SLR at 12. I have always loved taking pictures of friends, events, vacations, pets, and even my gardens. In the early 1990’s, I took a break from teaching to raise my daughter, and I was introduced to scrapbooking. This was a godsend because I had an entire dresser filled with 15+ years of photos still in the envelopes from the store. And they had almost doubled since my daughter was born.
Scrapbooking gave me a way to organize and enjoy my printed photos. The stories and memories behind them were written down for my daughter and future generations. (As someone who dreams of becoming a published novelist, I was more interested in writing the stories than in decorating the pages).
One month after my introduction to scrapbooking, my mother unexpectedly passed away, and when I returned to my childhood home, my father showed me a closet holding at least 10 paper grocery sacks filled with pictures. Although I was overwhelmed, I dug through them to create a photo tribute to my mother for her memorial service, and, unfortunately, almost none of them had any writing on the back to guide me. I recognized family photos, of course, but photos of her childhood, work, and social life were a mystery to me as I’d lived far away for almost two decades.
From Shutterbug to Scrapbook Coach
I’ve been a teacher all my adult life, and in 2002 I became a consultant for a scrapbooking company and spent the next 11 years teaching others how to organize and enjoy their printed photos, always focusing on writing down the story. As digital cameras and smart phones became popular I adapted and taught digital organization and digital scrapbooking along with the traditional methods.
Over the years I was asked more than once if I could organize photos or create books for someone else, and I always said no – I just didn’t know how that would work. But in late 2013 I discovered and joined the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO), and I started learning best practices for all aspects of photo organizing, both for myself and for other people. So I decided I could start my own photo organizing business.
And Then Life Got In the Way
Before I could really launch my new business my father became ill, and I spent most of 2014 taking care of him in my childhood home. He never remarried, and when he passed, sure enough, I came across all those grocery sacks in the closet, exactly as I had left them 20 years earlier. And there were also several computers, cameras and phones with photos on them as well, not to mention diplomas, certificates, and cookbooks with my mother’s handwriting in them.. I packed them all up and brought them home.
Finally! From Scrapbook Coach to Personal Photo Organizer
After I finished up with my father’s estate I launched my business, and I’ve been working in it ever since. I have continued my professional education so that I can best serve my clients’ every photo organizing need. I’ve attended conferences and taken online classes to become certified in multiple areas of photo organizing. And I’m slowly going through those 10 bags of photos so that I’ll be able to share everything with my sister and future generations.
Being a Photo Organizer is so Much fun!
I love my work! I get to help families by organizing and preserving their photos and memories so they can share and enjoy them together. As I work with their years of pictures, I enjoy watching their children grow up, catching glimpses of deep love, and reveling in the cuteness of their pets. If I, a relative stranger, get so much fulfillment from their photos, I can only imagine how much joy they will bring to the family members themselves.
Are You Ready to Stop Living in Photo Chaos and Start Enjoying Your Photos again?
I would love to hear from you! To learn more about how I can help you, check out my Work With Me page, or click the button below to schedule a free, no-obligation call with me.