Who Is a Photo Editor And What Do They Do?


Sounds kind of odd, right?  Every time I describe what I do and use the words "private photo editor," I feel as if I am a part of some top secret mission gearing up to save the world.  Worse yet, I recently realized I am a little concerned about how this "job title" will come across when my child attempts to start describing it someday!

So the truth is...while it may not be "top secret" it is behind the scenes.  And though I am definitely not saving the WHOLE world, as a photography editor I am making a BIG difference in my clients' world!

private photo editor, who is a photo editor and what do they do

I recently told someone what I did and their honest to goodness response was "people pay you to edit their pictures?  But why?"

Prior to spending a year as a wedding photographer myself, I may have considered it a little "silly" too!  After all, isn't that what wedding photographers are paid for?  To take pictures and then edit them?  Why would any bride want to hire a photographer who pays someone else to do their work?  

Well for the sake of this post, we're going to take just a quick peek into what a wedding photographer's job really involves.

A wedding photographer's job description:

  • 20-30 weddings per year

  • 20-30 engagement sessions per year

  • Any extra sessions in addition to weddings/engagements

  • 2-3 phone/in-person consultations per couple

  • 10-12 hour wedding days

  • Post wedding editing (blog images), blogging, thank you gift/card to bride & groom, finalizing of wedding gallery, delivery of prints/products

  • Marketing (includes welcome packets for new couples, additional blogging, ad management, brochures for wedding vendors, wedding fairs)

  • Website management

  • Tax management

  • Gear management

  • Travel for sessions/education

  • Continuing education

A wedding photographer's job in a nutshell, and this barely covers the bulk of it!  

Wedding photographer's spend SO much more time away from their camera's than most people realize.  They say a photographer's job is roughly 20% taking photos and 80% everything else!

Who Is A Photo Editor?

Well to start - that is me!  I am a 28 year old woman; I am a wife; I am a mom;  I am passionate about photography and all things creative; I love the color green and anything involving history; coffee is a must EVERY morning; and I dream of re-doing my own farmhouse someday.

And I am a private photo editor.

In the Fall of 2016, I started a completely home based business using knowledge and skills that I had already obtained from my work as a photographer.  As a photographer, there was one area of my business that I found I really "focused" on and it was ALWAYS editing.  

Initially, I was always extremely frustrated with myself for obsessing over the editing side of my photography.  I could have invested more time in focusing on the actual photography aspect of my business.  But I loved the editing side, and I wanted to learn everything I possibly could about this process in order to make my art the best it could be. 

I think everything happens for a reason and in the end, my time spent focusing on the editing side of my business has served me so well in directing me to this new business as a private photo editor.

It wasn't easy, making the decision to transition from wedding photographer to photo editor who edits FOR wedding photographers.  Fortunately, the transition itself has been smooth and it was one of the best decisions I could have made.

What Does A Photo Editor Do?

So, what do I do now that I am no longer "shooting?"

I edit! Six short months after making the decision to start editing, I had built a full-time business, working with women around the Country, helping them to improve their lives and businesses.

I work with women from all across the nation, spanning from Arizona, to New Jersey, Texas and New York!  They are strong, wonderful women,  They are daughters, sisters, wives, and moms.  And they have reached a point in their own businesses where they have found a need to start "outsourcing" some of their business tasks in order to maintain their business and their lives.

Photo Editors can work individually (like me) or for larger entities (editing companies.) So what’s the difference?


Private Photo Editor

As a private photo editor, I own my business, and work on a contract basis with wedding photographers. Each of these photographers enjoys having a private photo editor as part of their team, so that they can work 1:1 and enjoy consistency in their editing results.

More than that, I have been blessed to call many of the women that I work with friends.

I’ve been working with the majority of my clients since early 2017.

I’ve watched them start families and helped them take time away from their business to be truly present.

I’ve watched them go through valleys in life, and have the opportunity to step away from their business without it crumbling.

I’ve watched them enjoy major successes in business, and cheered them on as they invested time in marketing and building client experiences, rather than editing.

Editing Company

Editing companies are possible option for photographers who want to outsource their editing.

So what’s the difference?

An editing company employs multiple individuals who act as editors for the company. Clients typically have the opportunity to purchase a standard membership, or pay per image.

Editing companies will outline the specific services provided according for each pricing level. Color correction, cropping, etc.

As a private editor, I will perform detailed edits for each individual image as needed. Without limitation to what is provided, aside from detailed brush work.

When using an editing company, photographers typically do not have the ability to choose who will be editing their images, and often have a different editor with each catalog they send.

Now that you know a bit more about who I am and what I do, let’s talk about the individual responsibilities for both editor and photographer.

Photographer Responsibilities:

  • Initial consultation to discuss unique editing style

  • Reviewing and signing the Photographer/Editor Agreement

  • Reviewing Jen Kaiser Client Welcome Guide, and familiarizing themselves with policies, etc.

  • Sharing up to date calendar with future wedding/session dates

  • Reviewing video tutorials that will help with technical and editing aspects of outsourcing

Jen's Editing Responsibilities:

  • Initial consult and editing style review

  • Reviewing and learning photographer's editing workflow

  • Reviewing and learning photographer's editing style

  • Receiving Smart Preview catalog from Dropbox and importing for editing

  • Consistent edits as agreed upon to match photographer's unique editing style

  • 5-7 business day turnaround time

I love what I do and I am grateful to offer a relatively simple process that can help relieve one major task from each photographer's workload and allow them to focus on other areas of their business.  While doing so, I have been able to create a business at home that meets my lifestyle and still accomplish some amazing business and creative goals!

Summer Kellogg Photography