I’m so excited to be sharing all about outsourcing your editing! This isn’t a topic that that I have touched on a lot, but it’s one of the best things that I have done for myself and my business! One of my favorite quotes that I’ve heard is the thought of, “I didn’t become a photographer to do __________”. For me personally, that looks like “I didn’t become a photographer to do the editing”.
I’ve learned very quickly how time-consuming, tedious (straightening images!), and hard it can be to edit *consistently*. I realize a lot of that can be avoided when shooting properly in camera, but I knew that editing was NOT something that I personally had to be doing. Yes, I could do it if I absolutely had to, but I didn’t enjoy it and it was the most dreadful part of my workflow.
After hearing about this website from a fellow photographer, I began my search for outsourcing my editing! Which brings me to today’s post about Courtney, my personal editor, and life-saver. For any photographers reading this, I cannot recommend outsourcing your editing enough!! It has truly given me HOURS of my life (and business) back for something that I didn’t enjoy doing. Not to mention, Courtney has always gone above and beyond for me and has always knocked it out of the park. So without further adieu, here’s Courtney!
I live in Miami, FL which is where I have called home for 8 years now. But I was born and raised in Louisville, KY, and truly still feel like it has a big piece of my heart! (Anyone from there knows the hometown pride is strong, LOL) I met my husband in 2011, and he was a Miami boy born and raised, so that’s how I ended up here. We have 2 girls, 8 years and 5 years old, and no pets. (Yet!) I have been a private photo editor for about 5 years now but dipped my toes in that realm of work originally about 8 years ago when I first came to Miami.
As a photographer since 2008, I came to Florida with no client base at all, so I basically had to start rebuilding my business from scratch. In a couple of years, I finally got a solid photography business built in Miami and everything was going great! But then we decided to have a 2nd child and I decided to go back to editing for others from my home while I was on maternity leave.
It was then that I realized how much I enjoyed the work, being at home more, and just being more available to my kids. It just felt right, like I found something that worked for me and kept me tied to the same creative industry I loved so much. So it was that year that I decided to move forward as a full-time photo editor and cut back on my photography work. And now as of this year, I’ve basically hung up my camera straps and focused solely on editing. And I love every minute of it!
Outsourcing your editing can be HUGE for your business. So many photographers out there truly have a passion for the art, and then get in front of the computer screen to edit and the mood immediately shifts. Editing a few images is always fun. It’s part of the creative process, right? You edit your selected favorites and you’re giddy to show them off on blogs and social media.
However, you realize there are soooo many more photos to edit and all you really want to do is stop staring at your screen and go shoot some more! Or maybe you just want to take some time out to network and grow your business? Spend time with your family?
Whatever the reason, you have the chance to get that time back for yourself when you choose to outsource. And when you find the right editor, you don’t even have to worry about risking your aesthetic or style, because your editor will come to know you and what look you’re going for, and mimic that on your behalf.
Finding the right editor is all about good communication. From the time you meet and decide whether to work together, you’re both getting to know each other’s businesses and what you expect from each other. It’s important to express your needs and wants upfront and then you’ll know if you’ve made the right connection. (Shameless plug alert!: as the owner of
www.edit-source.com I highly recommend starting there to find a great listing of private editors that are looking for the perfect photographer to edit for!)
I think this is a common myth in our industry. You might find an editor that prefers to edit a particular style over another, and so they may be more selective of the types of photographers they work with. But there are many editors with exceptional skill levels willing and available to edit all kinds of styles and not just one.
This is also completely dependent on the editor you’ve chosen. We all have our varying workflows. Personally, my process is to use Dropbox to pass Lightroom smart preview catalogs back and forth. Once I receive a catalog from a client, I make sure the catalog was correctly exported by the photographer. I do a quick image count to verify how many images need to be edited, and then I’ll invoice my client and update them on the expected completion date.
I only ask that my photographer clients have Dropbox (or a similar cloud sharing apps like Google Drive or WeTransfer) and that they use Adobe Lightroom 5 or newer.
The cost of private editing varies based on which editor you’ve chosen. We all have pricing structures to fit our own business models or plans. I would say the average cost of a private editor is anywhere from 30 cents to 40 cents per image. If you provide more extensive edits to your own clients and you want to use an editor to do those edits, they’ll have a different pricing structure for that as well.
This usually depends on the editor you’ve chosen to work with. Each of us has our own preference for what we hope the photographer will send us. Because we are private editors, a one-man show so to speak and not a team of editors, we usually only have the capacity to edit for so many photographers a year. So we like to make sure that those photographers we work with are able to provide us with enough work to make it worth adding them to our client list. But you’ll find many editors (myself included) who are happy to take a partial gallery if that’s all you’re able to budget.
Many editors have various turnaround times but I’d say you can find editors that offer a turnaround in as little as 3 business days and as many as 7. My personal turnaround time is normally 5 or less. But I think this all depends on the size of the job and the season in which you’re sending it to them.
If you’re a wedding and portrait photographer, in the majority of the country the most popular season for weddings and sessions is in the Fall. So around that time, your editor might expect a little more understanding if they complete your job on the longer end of their turnaround time because their workload might be a little heavier than normal.
If you have any further questions on this topic, feel free to reach out here! I would love to hear from you!
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