How And When To Outsource Your Editing
Outsourcing. As a photographer you may or may not be familiar with the term. For many photographers who are familiar with it, it seems at first they run fast and far when they hear the word. then over time, they start to realize just how much their business (or editing) can actually run them.
Outsourcing sounds scary. One of my clients told me at the beginning of our relationship, "I'm scared to give up this creative side of my business." But that's actually not it at all!
What is outsourcing?
So what exactly is outsourcing then and when should you consider it?
First, let's start with what outsourcing is not. Outsourcing is NOT giving up the creative side of your business. You as the photographer are still in full control of your editing. You determine the look, the style, and you can adjust and tweak it at any time, just as you usually would.
Outsourcing means you remain in control of your photography and your editing; you are simply letting someone else do the work. Sounds a little like cheating, right?
Let's be honest, as a photographer you are not JUST a photographer. You are a business owner, an entrepreneur, a marketing guru, a boss, an employee - I can go on. Along with all of the roles you play in your business there are still the many roles you play in life itself; spouse, parent, daughter, friend, etc.
When should you consider outsourcing?
Deciding when to outsource is a BIG decision to make in your business. Here are the top three ways to know when you are ready to start outsourcing.
You have a consistent editing style
Like I mentioned above, your editor is not going to "re-brand" your editing. They are simply available to help you get the work done. The style is still your own and in order for your editor to achieve your look, your editing style must be nailed down and easy to replicate for every single wedding/session.
You have a strong workflow
Outsourcing is a simple, easy to follow process as long as you have a strong and consistent workflow. For my current clients, I have them send me the dates of their booked weddings in advance that I will be editing and it is marked accordingly on my calendar. Then, I can determine when I will receive each wedding, edit, and return according to their own personal workflow and delivery time.
Your business is growing but your time is restricted
THIS. If your business is growing at a steady and consistent rate, but YOU haven't changed anything on your end, it is time to outsource. If you are investing the same number of hours in each wedding on your calendar, and you are starting to increase your number of bookings, it may be time to raise your prices and it is definitely time to outsource. Let's take a look at the math.
Editing per Wedding - 8 hours
25 Weddings/Year @ 8 hours of editing = 200 hours of editing
200 hours that could be dedicated to OTHER areas of your business - improving your client experience, education, marketing, the sky is the limit.
How do I start outsourcing?
If you have already considered outsourcing your work to an editing company, you might be thinking "I already know all of this, so how are you as a private editor any different?"
Private Photo Editor
As a private photo editor, I work with clients one to one. I am the only person responsible for my clients photos- every. single. time. I get to know them on a closer level and I believe communication and open feedback is KEY to making this relationship work.
What is included when working with a private editor?
Limited client availability to develop a one to on relationship
Personalized, detailed services so that clients can achieve consistent results
Fast turnaround time of 3-5 days
Pay per image - not a flat rate fee
Photo Editing Company
I hate to see photographers say they tried one of the big box editing companies only to end up re-doing most of the work to get it right. "Getting it right" is what my job is all about, so that you can worry about "getting it right" in other areas of your business. As a private photo editor, I learn how you shoot, I learn your style, I learn exactly what you are looking for with each and every session.
What is included when working with an editing company?
A different editor for each wedding/session
Color correction only
Additional charge for further adjustments (crop, straightening, contrast)
Turnaround time 8-15 days
Flat fee or additional charge per services
As a photographer, I very quickly found that I actually enjoyed editing. I could not wait to get home, upload an SD card and bring all of my images to life. I loved learning the ins and outs of Lightroom in order to improve my editing workflow and experimenting with different editing styles tips and tricks that bring each image to it's fullest potential.
You may not be ready to outsource just yet, but as a wedding photographer it is definitely something that you should start to consider and work towards as your grow your business and improve your work.
Or maybe you are fully invested in this and your business has just hit that HOT spot of taking off and it's time to find some help!