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Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use albums or keywords to organize my photos?

Albums tend to be specific events, while keywords tend to be broader collections or "categories" that span your whole library. Think of a physical, printed photo album. More often than not, they're organized in volumes on the shelf, filling a bookcase- each album telling a different story, a wedding, a summer spent in Vermont, or maybe an overseas vacation. In Apple Photos, albums are prominently displayed in your library for ease of access and quick reference. But Keywords tend to be about collections- Do you find yourself scurrying to snap a photo of exotic wine bottles, or unique neon signs, or maybe even odd garden gnomes you encounter on your journeys? That would be a great use of a keyword. Maybe it's just "cars" or "beach" for all the photos of beach times. Think about what sort of collections you may have; Perhaps scroll through your pictures and think about the themes that pop up throughout your library or what themes you'd like to wrangle with a keyword.

What's the difference between exact and near duplicates?

Duplicate Removal covers the removal of exact or near duplicates. Exact duplicates will be identified using a combination of software and a technician. We define an exact duplicate as the same visual photo, regardless of whether it has the same name, date and time, or file format. You may elect to preserve exact duplicates in multiple formats if you prefer, but this request needs to be made in writing to the SurroundUs team. Near duplicates are defined as photos that are similar in appearance, generally taken within seconds or minutes of each other. These can also be curated and removed in an efficient manner, however take additional time to deduplicate with the human eye. These differences should be noted with regards for time spent on the project.

If I purchase a SurroundUs hourly package, will there be add on fees?

Our packages of hours are purchased in advance. If your project goals require additional time to complete, you will be able to purchase additional hours as needed. Your Project Manager will keep you updated about hours used throughout your project and will communicate if there is a need for additional hours. You may let your Project Manager know at any time if you would like no additional hours to be purchased. From there, our team will work with you to complete as many goals as possible with the amount of time remaining.

How do I know my data is safe? What all will you be looking at?

Our company takes extensive measures to keep client data safe which are outlined in further detail in our Privacy Policy ( Our company is also required to follow certain procedures to keep your data and files safe to meet our data security insurance requirements.

What if my data gets lost?

We back up each project at the beginning of your project to our servers to prevent file and data loss.

How long will my project take?

We offer an hourly structure and each project is custom-tailored to your individual collection, devices and goals. For this reason, it is difficult to provide a concrete timeline for your project's completion. Early in your project, a custom timeline will be discussed with your Project Manager for an estimation of how long it may take to achieve your specific project goals.

How long does each project stage take to complete?

Each phase of the project stage is determined by your goals and project needs. For example, a project that has many devices and sources to consolidate will take longer than a project with only one or two digital sources to consolidate. Mailing times for physical devices, tech bugs or errors, and client correspondence are all examples of things that could delay your project. Your Project Manager will provide their best estimation for the completion of each phase as you enter each section of the project.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for my project?

The Digital Survey is the best way to learn if there is any work that you can do before your personal project. However, in general, we ask all of our projects to: 1. Back-up your computer(s) 2. Mail any devices prior to our kickoff call. 3. Have your cell phone, laptop, computer and any other devices that may contain photos accessible during your Kickoff Call. 4. Have your passwords available for any online photo libraries.

How do I get my devices or albums to you?

If local, physical drop off is permitted during office hours (M-F, 9am-5pm). Anyone can mail devices or items to us.

What is the best way to pack my devices for shipping?

Items can be delivered in person or mailed to:  SurroundUs Services  720 100 Year Party Court, Unit 300, Longmont, CO 80504 Laptops/Computers - These require a laptop or computer box to be safely shipped, which can usually be purchased at a mail and ship center in your local area. Please include passwords to login to your computer along with working power cords.  External hard drives - Pack with sufficient soft materials (such as bubble wrap) to ensure they are not moving around during shipment. Ideally, these are packed in smaller boxes with packing materials, and then packed into a larger box with other items. The less these are able to move around, the better.  CD’s/SD Cards and other small electronics - Pack these items in original cases if available. If unavailable, pack them in plastic bags, and put them into envelopes with a piece of sturdy cardboard, to prevent bending and damage. We recommend padding these items to minimize movement and protect them.  Tracking Numbers can be sent along to our office, after you receive them, so that we can monitor the delivery. 

What are your hours of operation?

M-F, 9am-5pm MST Our office is closed on the following holidays: Memorial Day Independence Day Labor Day Christmas Eve Christmas Day New Years Day

Do you offer a monthly subscription to organize my photos and files?

We offer a personal tech support membership service, Tech Circle, to help you thrive with your technology. Tech Circle members receive many exclusive benefits. Learn more about our personal IT support membership and how you can join by visiting

Are you able to access my hard drive if my computer won't turn on?

We are able to perform level 1 and most level 2 data recovery on devices, including EHDs, laptops, towers, etc. If recovery beyond level 1 or 2 is required, we will refer you to a preferred data recovery specialist.

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