In this video, Cathi Nelson talks with Bruce Holroyd, a seasoned professional in the world of photos as he shares some photo manager career advice.
Bruce’s love of photos began in 1965. On their way to visit the World’s Fair, his father handed him his first camera. He went on the later work for Kodak, as his father, mother, grandparents, and many other family members had done. From his days at Kodak to becoming a successful photo manager and entrepreneur in Western Washington, Bruce has learned a lot throughout his career. In this interview, he shares his insights with aspiring photo managers.
Who is your typical customer and what services do you offer?
I offer just about everything you can imagine using Kodak photo scanning products, flatbed scanners, and camera scanning. This includes scanning negatives, movies, the old Super Eight regular 816-millimeter movies, videotapes, and just about any format of videotapes, including PAL format videotapes. I get a fair amount of PAL-formatted videos out here in Washington and slides are also a big thing. It also was in Rochester because everyone in the ’70s and early ’80s took slides so those are still coming in. I just completed a huge job for a customer who had 69 albums from their grandparents that they wanted to preserve and to be able to share amongst their extended family.
My target market is mostly families. I’m not as much until the organization part of the job although I have done it and will do it. But I’m getting most of my business from people that are wanting to preserve their stuff before it’s too late. Their movies, prints, negatives, and everything will deteriorate over time, especially if it wasn’t stored properly over the years. They may have been stored in hot, humid attics or damp garages, and now they want to preserve it.
How do you promote your business and find clients?
One nice thing about being a small community is that word gets around quite fast. So there’s been a lot of word of mouth from existing customers telling their friends and relatives about our services. I run a small ad in a weekly Pennysaver-type newspaper that’s free to pick up in the grocery store. People find me through Google searches.
I also get referrals from local companies who know what I do and tell their customers about me. This includes the local computer sales and service store, the audio-visual store, and even the UPS store.
I’ve also received quite a bit of business from other photo managers who don’t do some of the stuff that I do like videotape perversions or movie conversions.
What aspects of your business do you not enjoy?
The biggest thing I don’t like is waiting for computers to finish processing the movies. Some of these movies are so long that it takes hours and hours or overnight to be able to process them. Since I want to make sure that it looks good for the customer. I can’t wait to see it, so I’m a little impatient that way.
How has being a member of The Photo Managers helped you?
First of all I’ve gained a lot of new friends and customers through The Photo Managers, so that’s been definitely a plus. I’ve also learned a lot of new business skills. And a lot of other skills to help me do my job, for instance, keeping up with all these new companies that are coming out in our industry, like Mylio, and Projector. With that knowledge, I can take advantage of what they offer not only for myself but also to tell my customers about it. For example, I just introduced a new customer to forever.com as a way of preserving her digitally transferred videos.
I’m also a mentor to others in the photo managers group. And being a mentor, I’m learning just as much as the mentee has been learning from it. If there’s something that I don’t know, when we’re discussing something, I do the research, figure it out, and share it with the person being mentored.
Watch the full video on YouTube for more insights from Bruce Holroyd on how to run a successful business as a photo manager.