There’s so much talk surrounding outsourcing, but let’s be honest for a minute. Stepping into something new and unknown is scary. Yes, it can be incredibly rewarding and in truth most businesses won’t hit that “next level” without some form of delegation. However, even knowing that, doesn’t always make the process of “letting go” in your business any easier.
I think with anything new that you take on as a business owner, it’s important to have the best start possible. Before diving into something, ask yourself the most important and obvious questions. Why do I want this? Can I afford this? How will this help me? How will this help my business? Who would make a great addition to my team? Finally, what do I need to get started?
Once you’ve walked through the beginning stages of making that commitment and finding an editor, the next step is actually getting started. And I’m a big believer in the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know. Of course, there will always be small roadblocks along the way regardless, but there are a few things you can learn today to help you have a better start tomorrow.
So, as you venture into this journey of hiring and outsourcing start by giving yourself a big pat on the back. Yes this is scary. But it’s also exciting, challenging, and providing you an opportunity to grow and learn in new ways you’ve never had before.
PROVIDE QUALITY REFERENCE IMAGES
It would be extremely difficult to start any new job without proper orientation. Naturally, the same concept applies for a small business. Anytime you hire someone on in your business, be prepared to invest a proper amount of time and resources into training that individual. For photo editing, this comes in the form of providing a style review and quality reference images.
Just as each job is different, each photo editor and photographer relationship will be different. Furthermore, each wedding shot is very unique to the event, lighting and location. Over time, a photography style can be fully learned and understood by an editor. In the beginning, however, these reference images will be crucial as a foundation for interpreting your unique style in different situations.
PROVIDE TIMELY FEEDBACK
As part of the training process, feedback will be another fundamental part of guiding an editor in how to edit your style. Providing a quality style video, and reference images is a great start, but in reality those first few catalogs won’t be perfect. Providing feedback is not only helpful, it’s expected. Editing your own style comes naturally…to you. Teaching someone else though, that can feel a bit different. While it’s most likely second nature to you as the photographer, it’s a new concept to someone else.
As an editor, learning someone else’s style is something different entirely. With new clients, I always find myself so focused on the little details of their editing style like tone curve and colors that sometimes I have to remind myself to remember the simple but big picture things like white balance and exposure. Be prepared to receive an imperfect catalog the first few times. It’s perfectly natural as your editor adjusts to seeing things your way.
Typically, the fastest and easiest way to provide feedback is to record a screen share as you work back through your catalog. Literally talk your editor through what you see and need to change. Point out specific things and be prepared to address the what and the why. Be positive in your tone and constructive in your criticism and it will take you a long way!
HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
You know the saying “give yourself grace?” The same concept applies with outsourcing. Give your Editor grace too. Over time an Editor should be able to easily replicate your style for each catalog you send. However, that doesn’t mean that they will send back a perfect catalog. Exposure, white balance, and color are all important technical details with editing. Expect these things to be correct and for an Editor to provide a quality catalog in return. Do not expect perfection. There will be occasional mistakes. You may have to make adjustments from time to time.
I love digital photography. I love the freedom it allows each photographer in defining who they are as an artist. Sometimes though, I fear we’ve lost sight of what really matters in this digital age. Digital photography is forgiving. As photographers, we can make mistakes in camera and fix them with post-processing. We cannot, however, achieve perfection. Beyond that, we shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture, capturing memories and making them tangible through printed images. Images that will never be scrutinized for consistency while being passed around a family table as they would in a Lightroom gallery.