5 Signs that You May Not Be Ready to Outsource Your Editing
Outsourcing your editing is “the big thing” right now. It seems like all of the major photographers do it and rave about what it’s done for their business. Outsourcing your editing is a wonderful thing that really can help your business to grow, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. It’s something you really have to be ready for, and if you’re not quite ready for it, it can be a very frustrating process.
I get a lot of questions about how to know when you’re ready to outsource your editing, so today, I’m telling you about 5 signs that mean you may not be ready to outsource just yet.
Here’s a quick overview:
- You Just Started Your Photography Business
- Your Shooting Style Isn’t Consistent
- You Require Too Many Small Edits
- Your Editing Style Isn’t Consistent
- You Can’t Give Up Control
1. You Just Started Your Photography Business
When you’re just starting your business, there is so much you have to master before thinking about outsourcing your editing. You need to first put all of your systems into place, figure out your shooting and editing style, and you need to have a consistent schedule. By the time you outsource to an editor, you should have your shooting and editing styles down pat. You should also know how long it will take you to cull and edit anchor images after shooting a session or wedding. This is incredibly important for your editor to know!
2. Your Shooting Style Isn’t Consistent
If you’re still struggling throughout a wedding day to keep your images consistent, you may want to wait a little while before outsourcing. Knowing how to find good light in any situation is tricky, but it is CRUCIAL when it comes to editing. Not having a consistent shooting style makes editing a lot harder for your editor. If your editor is struggling to edit your work because it is so inconsistent, they may tell you they’re not the right for you or they may charge a lot more for their help.
If you need help mastering consistency and lighting situations, I recommend investing in Katelyn James’ Lighting and Locations course! Amy & Jordan and Justin & Mary also have courses that help with this.
3. You Require too Many Small Edits
I’m convinced there’s an editor out there for everyone, but if you want tiny detailed edits*, be sure you’re ready to pay for that service. The average private editor charges $0.25-$0.39 per image for editing in Lightroom. If they have to spend 10 minutes on one image doing minuscule detailed edits, then they’re going to charge more money for that. They’re running a business, too, and they need to get paid for their time. Getting paid $0.39 per ten minutes of work? At that rate, they’re earning less than $2.50 per hour, which is far less than minimum wage.
If you’re wanting to outsource, but have an editing style that requires a lot of small detailed edits, expect to pay more for detailed editing. In this case, you may also consider outsourcing to a bigger company instead of a private editor.
*may include heavy use of the gradient tool, brush tool, cloning tool, etc.
4. Your Editing Style Isn’t Consistent
If you aren’t able to edit consistently throughout a wedding, or from wedding to wedding, then you may not be ready to outsource. If you’re always changing your mind about your edits, how can you expect your editor to know what style you want? Small changes over time are normal, and your editor will be able to work with you on those changes. However, if you find that you’re making drastic changes consistently, I’d recommend waiting until you’ve figured out your style before outsourcing. It’ll save both you and your editor a lot of time, money, and frustration.
5. You Can’t Give Up Control
Trusting another person to edit your work is difficult. I get it – believe me! You’ve worked hard to perfect your photography style, and you want it to be flawless. This is NOT a bad thing…it’s a great thing! However if you’re not willing to give up a little bit of control, then you may not be ready to outsource just yet.
Everyone sees things differently, and you may not see things like color and brightness the exact same way as your editor. Some things, such as cropping and straightening, might just be personal preference. I always tell my clients to expect to spend anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour making adjustments after they get a catalog back for this very reason. If you’re telling your editor to go back over and over again to redo tiny adjustments, it could be a sign that you’re not quite ready to give up control.
Don’t be Discouraged
I don’t want anyone feeling discouraged by this post. I’m not saying you cannot outsource if you are just starting out in photography, or if you’re not 100% consistent on your shooting and editing styles, but this is where I tend to see the most issues arrive between clients and their editors. Remember: your editor is there to help you! Their entire job to make your life easier. They want to serve you, but it becomes incredibly difficult to do if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
If you are struggling with some of the things I’ve listed here, let me know down in the comments below! I’d be more than happy to give you recommendations or advice to help you get where you need to be to start outsourcing your work!