| Outsourcing Your Photo Editing - Spend More Time on the Things That Matter |
Drowning to keep up during the busy on-season? How outsourcing your editing (and other tasks) can revolutionize your life and business.
Think about the busy on-season life: weddings on weekends, shoots on other days, editing for 20-30+ hours a week, let alone having to keep up with emails, inquiries, accounting, social media, etc, etc. It’s maddening! And the main things that will grow your business are getting neglected: blogging, advertising, connecting with vendors, getting published, etc. Also the connection with your clients could be suffering. Do you have time to meet with them in-person? Are clients annoyed because it is taking months to receive their images? Do you have the time you need to think through new and exciting ways to improve the customer's experience?
Editing is probably one of the biggest time consumers of our job. Most of us joke about editing all-nighters just to keep up or spending so much time in front of the computer that our eyes and bodies ache. So why do we put up with this? Why do we sacrifice our health, clients, marketing, and life in general for something that we really don't have to be doing ourselves?
I was the biggest naysayer of outsourcing my editing. I would think: “I have to be the one to edit my images! There is no way a company can get my editing right.” Then I tried one of the outsourcing companies I had heard of and WOW. I started with just sending a couple weddings to them here and there but quickly fell in love with the idea of not spending hours upon hours on editing. So below are my thoughts and tips to get you started on the path to approaching outsourcing in a way that is the best fit for you and your business. Every image you will see in this post was edited by my outsourcing company (Fotofafa!).
The Companies I Use and Trust:
- They do full custom editing using my preset and signature look.
- They always respond to emails within 24 hours.
- They want me to be ruthless in my feedback. I am able to add comments and reject sample images if they are not perfect. They want to get it right.
- They are fast. Samples are provided within 2-3 days and the final edits are available 7-10 days after I have approved the samples.
Note: I only use Fotofafa for color editing. I do my own culling, BWs, and cropping. They do offer these services if you want even more of your work to be outsourced. I just decided to do those things myself because they are easy for me and it saves me a bit of money.
RetouchUp is awesome if you would like more extensive editing done. Need a pesky tourist removed from the background? Want stray hairs cleaned up? ReTouchUp is fast and very affordable. Here is an example of one they recently worked on for me…
Things to consider that will help make your editing outsourcing successful…
#1: Outsourcing is not instantly a perfect solution. It will take time to find a company that is right for you and for them to learn what you are looking for in your editing. Also, not all outsourcing companies are created equal so you will most likely need to try a few before you find the one that is the best fit. Some outsourcing companies will just adjust white balance and exposure while others will do more custom editing.
#2: Outsourcing is most successful for photographers that already have a fairly defined look/style. Outsourcing companies will most likely not be able to make your work look like something it's not. They are going to follow your lead on what sort of editing you would like. Also, keep in mind that your shooting is much more crucial to your style then your editing. If you are a consistent shooter then outsourcing your editing will be a much easier process. If you aren’t quite there yet don't fret! Just have the expectation that it will just take a bit more time for your outsourcing company to get to know what you are looking for in your editing. Be patient and it will pay off!
#3: Submit at least 3-5 weddings/shoots to an outsourcing company before giving up on it. Getting set up with an outsourcing company takes some time. You have to get to learn their systems and it may take a while for them to really get your style down. Don’t throw in the towel because of this! When I first started outsourcing with Fotofafa I felt really confused. I emailed them all my questions and they worked with me to get me up and running.
Think about what else you can outsource!
Accounting/Taxes - This is more affordable to outsource than you think. I pay an assistant a couple hundred bucks to categorize/approve the transactions in Quickbooks and then I pay a CPA $250 to do all my personal and business taxes for the year.
House Cleaning - There are many options here but the one I want to try is handy.com. It seems really affordable and easy to use.
Childcare - This could be anything from all-day to even just a few hours to give you some solid focused work time. Some childcare professionals even help with cleaning and meals.
Errands - Forgot to pick up milk? Need a gift for a friend’s birthday party? Want to book a vacation? Check out GoButlernow.com. Simply send a text to “25400” with your request and they will handle it for you. And the best part: the service is free! You will only be charged for the cost of what you ordered. (Also a great option if you are craving some ice cream or another treat but don't want to leave the house!)
So you know what I accomplished this week now that I am not drowning in editing? I wrote this blog post. I blogged this wedding. Then I submitted that wedding as well as an engagement shoot to be published on wedding inspiration blogs (both were accepted for feature!). I got to meet with two of my wonderful clients for coffee and had the time to spend a few hours with each chatting about their wedding. I set up a few Facebook ads and developed some other advertisement plans to implement in the next couple weeks. I've taken time off to visit family, take my dogs on several hikes, rock climbed, and read a book. I did all this in the middle of the busiest season of the year and it is all thanks to outsourcing (thanks Fotofafa!).
So what are you waiting for? What is holding you back? What thoughts or concerns do you have? Feel free to leave any questions in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to answer them. Good luck with your outsourcing endeavors!
About the Author: Catalina Jean loves anything sci-fi, has little sense of direction, and spends her free time snuggling her crazy Boston Terriers. She is a wedding photographer based in Portland, OR specializing in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce natural, emotional wedding photography.