5 Tips for Photographers who Outsource their Editing
I’ve learned a lot over the last 3 years of running this editing business. There’s been a lot of time spent figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with some amazing clients. Overall, I really haven’t had any major issues as a private photo editor…
That’s not to say I haven’t had my fair share of strange situations happen, but overall, it’s been a pretty good run. But something has been tugging on my heart lately to write this post. I am a part of several editing communities, and it pains me to hear some of the issues that crop up in editor’s businesses. There are so many editors who have no idea what to do when these issues arise because so many of these problems are out of their control. So photographers: this post today is for you. I want to get it all out there and make sure you’re aware of some tips that will really help you out if you outsource your editing!
1. Sync Your Cameras
This one really isn’t an issue — more of just a really great tip that will be super helpful. Before anyone starts shooting on a wedding day, get together with your second shooter and set the time and date on ALL of your cameras. This includes all of the camera bodies you intend on using that day. I promise your editor will LOVE you if you do this!
Syncing the time/date on your cameras keeps all of the images in your catalog organized in real time. By doing this, you’ll help your editor keep a quick turnaround time. Not only that, but their edits will be more consistent because they can see everything side-by-side without having to jump around the catalog. Trust me: syncing your cameras will drastically help both you and your editor in the long run. Please take that one extra minute to do that before a wedding day!
*After publishing this, one of my sweet clients told me that there’s a way to sync the camera times in Lightroom. To find out how, check out the post she published on this topic here!
2. Anchor Images
Anchor images are incredibly important for your editor. It helps them to get to know your style and provide consistency in your catalog. If your editor asks you for anchor images, make sure you are giving them
- Enough to work from and
- Anchor images throughout the entire catalog (yes, this includes the reception and cocktail hour!)
It’s difficult to match a style when you only have 50 images in a 1300 image catalog to work from. Not only that, but if 20 of those are from the sunset portrait time, your editor really only has about 30 to work from. That makes a consistency very difficult, especially if your style changes at all throughout the years. Whether you realize it or not, your style will change (even if it is ever-so-slightly) as time goes by.
Anchor images are usually images for the blog, and I completely understand editing more bride and groom portraits than any other part of the day, but make sure your editor gets what they need. Editors are just like you: they want to provide you with a great client experience. Help them help you, and make sure you give them what they need to help your business succeed!
3. Open Communication
Sometimes, communication gets lost in the mix of everything a photographer has to get done. We completely understand – your clients come first in your business! But in the mix of all the emails, sessions, and social media posts, don’t forget about your editor (or anyone else you’re outsourcing work with). Our job is to help your business succeed. It’s incredibly hard for an editor to do that if they never hear from you. Just as you probably don’t like being ghosted by your potential wedding clients, it feels pretty terrible when you ignore your editor. This is especially true if they have made several attempts to contact you.
Make sure you let your editor know when you’ll be shooting weddings and sending them catalogs. If you’re running behind on delivering a catalog to them, just let them know! They will work with you, especially since you are keeping them updated. They understand that sometimes life happens and things can get behind. Be courteous of their time and schedule if you’re the one running behind. Remember: they’re balancing a business just like you are!
4. Maintain Reasonable Expectations
Isn’t it annoying when clients text/email you three hours after your session asking if their pictures are done? Your turnaround time is 2 weeks! You have a family you need to spend time with, kids to take care of, and other clients who need their sessions delivered first. I mean, that’s pretty unrealistic expectations, right?
Think about this when you deliver a catalog late to your editor. Like you, your editor has multiple clients they are working with, all of whom they want to serve well. Catalogs frequently get delivered back in the order they were received. Turnaround time starts from when you deliver your catalog, not when you photographed the wedding. Please don’t deliver a catalog to your editor two days before it’s due and expect them to push everything aside to get it done. That’s not realistic or courteous. If you’re running behind, that’s not their fault. Use their turnaround time in conjunction with yours and get your catalogs back on time.
It’s okay to ask in advance if there’s a wedding that needs a little bit faster turnaround time. Your editor might be able to work their schedule in a way to accommodate that, but please do not ask for that every time unless you’ve already worked that out with your editor.
5. Be Honest With Your Editor
Being open and honest with your editor is key if you want to maintain a good reputation within the industry. If you don’t want to work with your editor anymore, just tell them. No matter what the reason is, let them know and *please* be kind about it. It’s okay if you think there might be another editor who is a better fit for you, but you don’t have to be cruel to your editor if that’s the case. When a bride decides to go with someone else over you, it hurts. It can make you feel inadequate. Having a client leave can be very difficult for your editor, no matter the reason. They will probably feel like they did something wrong. If they did, be the bigger person and stay professional. Nicely explain you’ll be moving on and part ways. That way, if your editor needs to bring in new clients, they can do so.