Paul Einersen is an experienced Photo Manager and respected Apple ecosystem expert. You can often find him helping fellow photo managers with their Apple questions in our members-only Facebook group.
When Paul Einaresen inherited a camera from his dad in high school, his love of photography took off. He went on to study photography at the University of Washington and later freelanced as a marine photographer before getting involved in the graphic arts industry. In the recession of 2008, with the printing industry hit hard, Paul decided to make a change and started working at the Apple Genius Bar as a creative trainer. His experience and knowledge learned at Apple opened his eyes to the scope of what he could offer people to help them get more out of their Apple devices, especially in regard to photos. Paul became a member of The Photo Managers (Association of Personal Photo Organizers, as it was then known) in 2014 and now is helping people as a Photo Manager and educator.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about starting a business as a Photo Manager?
The first thing that I would say is we’re at a time now where I think it’s really important to be comfortable with technology if you’re on Apple or Windows because everything is going digital. You don’t have to be an expert and I will tell you that in the consumer space, the bar is pretty low. As a starting point at least get comfortable with your own stuff, and know as a follow-up where to get help when you really get stuck.
The thing I learned working at The Genius Bar is not that Apple Geniuses are all that smart, but the fact that they see hundreds of people a day and particular problems over and over each day is what makes you understand how things work. The more you work with stuff, the more you can see stuff, the better you’re going to be. But also have some sort of backup, either somebody you know who’s good at technical support or, in my case, one of the reasons I like working on the Apple platform is they have pretty good support. So know where to get the answers.
Another thing about getting into the game as a Photo Manager is to understand what your client is looking for. We have a lot of little niche channels that people work in within photo management. While digitizing and organizing family ancestral pictures is still a large part of what goes on, in my case, I’m more interested in the day-to-day usage of photos and how people can integrate the old stuff with the new stuff. You really need to start with an understanding of the client’s expectations before you go too far down the road because it’s easy to get caught up in the process without truly understanding your end goal is for that particular customer.
How have you found your clients?
My best clients have honestly come from referrals. Some of them actually came from people I know at the Genius Bar. I have a pretty decent-sized mailing list and I send out tips newsletters called “5 Minute Photos” about once a week. It goes back to my belief about this photo lifestyle that we are living and so a lot of it is just fun things to do with your iPhones. A lot of people can get overwhelmed incredibly easily with photo management so they appreciate any wisdom and tips we can share. It eases them into a state where they are more receptive to taking the next step.
What do you love most about what you do?
I had to narrow my list down. Other than the fact I just love working with photos. My wife, who is a portrait photographer, and I usually say “I love what I do” a couple of times a week. In practical terms, I love that you can work from home or pretty much wherever you want if you’re doing mostly digital or remote consulting. The Apple platform is very easy to work with remotely. You can reach across different time zones, and work around the world! It’s up to each person how far they can take that. I love the feeling of reconnecting with people, with their lives through their photos. And, because I am a new-thing-junkie I just like the fact that there is so much new stuff coming along the way like new file formats and new ways to enjoy your photos.
What is something you don’t like about your work?
It’s fair to say that when you work with your self setting your own boundaries is a tough one. The days tend to the long but there’s this sort of illusion that you can take a day off here and there. It really comes down to your own work ethics and how you with managing your time.
I don’t love analog scanning so I try to stay digital and do my work remotely. My advice would be that if a client contacts you to do work you don’t enjoy, outsource it to one of our partners or pass them on to somebody else.
What aspects of your past work experience benefit you most now as a photo manager?
Sales has got to be right toward the top of the list. I think that’s true for any small entrepreneur. You have to be able to advocate for your position and get people excited about what their experience is going to be and what they can get by working with you.
The troubleshooting skills I learned on the Apple Genius Bar. When I see someone come up in a Facebook post with some really weird Apple-related thing going on, even if it’s 11 o’clock at night, I’ll jump on there and see if I can figure it out.
Understanding digital photography on a pixel level has also been really useful for me. It’s helped me to have a good foundation and know a little bit more than what you really need in order to do a good job.
Where do you see the professional photo manager industry going in the future?
With something like two trillion photos a year being uploaded on the internet, that in instelf is kind of the answer. But what really excites me is seeing companies but money into photo management again. I’m talking about new software companies realizing the power and popularity of photos. Apple is literally selling phones based on how goo the cameras are on them; there’s no other good reason to upgrade your iPhone. So tehre’s money being spent on people valuing photography. The size of photo collections keeps getting bigger and bigger and so photo management is a service that is really important.
Watch the full video to hear more from Photo Manager and Apple Expert Paul Einarsen about new technology, the future of photo management, and how to get started in this exciting industry.