Have your recently heard other photographers talking about “outsourcing your photo editing?” It’s a trending phrase in the wedding industry these days. It seems at first, many photographers run from the idea, not quite ready to hand over control of any aspect of their business. Then as business starts to grow, days become longer, and their available time becomes shorter, they’re eager to pass the editing torch along.
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!
So what exactly is outsourcing then?
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 are simply letting someone else do the work. You as a business owner are the CEO. You’re also the CFO, and the marketing guru, and we can’t leave out client relations, and technical support. At some point in time, something has to give. Trying to manage every area of your business alone, means that one area will become weak, while another remains strong. Outsourcing allows you to create a system of balance in all areas of your business, without managing an employee.
WHEN SHOULD YOU OUTSOURCE?
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 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. Adding another person to the mix, takes a period of adjustment. But things are much easier, when you have a plan in place for easily starting, handing off, and then finalizing each wedding catalog.
Your business is growing but your time is restricted
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. When 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 @ 6 hours of editing = 150 hours of editing
150 hours that could be dedicated to OTHER areas of your business – improving your client experience, education, marketing, the sky is the limit.
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
Maybe you’ve considered working with a private editor for some time, but you just need to know where to start. While you’re not hiring an employee, you are filling a long-term position in your business. You know what qualities you’re looking for in an editor. Someone who will get the job done, you can trust, and more than that, you can depend on.
Aside from asking a friend for recommendations, a quick Google search will lead you to a variety of available private photo editors, so how do you find the right one for you?
- Read their website! Sounds simple and silly, but it’s the first, important step. How is that specific editor prepared to help you as a photographer. Are they providing everything that you need? Can they step in to manage your strengths and fill in your areas of weakness in terms of editing? What do they value in life and work?
- Reach out. Don’t be shy! You’ll never learn more about their pricing and process if you don’t ask. Serious inquiries are important, but sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. If you’re interested in learning even more, then just ask.
- Set up a video consult. I’m a firm believer, that there is no better way to make a hire in your business, than to meet with that person face-to-face. If the editor does not offer a video chat, ask for one! Talk to this person so that you can learn even more about the process, get to know them and their business a little better, and personally walk them through your editing style and workflow.
While this new transition in your business may seem scary, don’t let the process of getting started stop you from actually taking action. There is no “perfect time” to hand off part of your business. Sometimes you just have to lean into the unknown and take that leap. Don’t worry, you’ll land just fine, and I’m excited to see how far you go when you do!