When you first started your business, there were so many things you needed to do yourself to figure out the ins and outs of your new role. Then, as your business started to grow, you had more tasks and responsibilities than ever. And sure, doing everything yourself might have seemed like a good idea when you first started. But, taking on every project and task for your business is not a sustainable solution – not if you truly want to grow and reach your goals.
The cost of doing everything yourself adds up over time, and ultimately pushes you a little farther away from your overall goals. This is especially true for your post-wedding workflow, and even more so for your post production. Editing images from every wedding takes away valuable time from your workflow, which is an expense that can hinder your ability to advance your career.
Whether you edit the images yourself, or have an in-house editor, there are so many hidden costs of post production. What are these hidden costs, exactly? Take a look below at the various items you pay for when you do everything yourself.
One of your roles as a business owner is to manage your business. Although you manage it, you do not necessarily need to take care of every single task involved. When you edit images yourself, you take on additional management costs. What are some of these costs?
- Quality control
- Accurate benchmarks
The costs you take on revolve around the quality of the edits, as well as delivering them on time to your clients. So, not only do you need to take the time to edit every wedding, you have to make sure the photos are accurate to your style and are what your clients desire. Editing can take hours away from your workflow. Chances are with your busy schedule, editing requires you to have long nights and early mornings (taking you away from other profit-generating items on your list).
Because your clients have expectations for the delivery of their images, you have an obligation to get them done by the date you promised. If your workload is piling up, you have to push everything aside and complete the images to send to your clients on time. These responsibilities alone take so much of your time (and remember, time is money, especially for a business owner).
Information Technology Costs
As a photographer, it’s important to have an office and equipment for your business. Having a computer and mobile devices are key ways to stay in communication with clients and take care of necessary operations. But, when you are editing your own images, there is so much more you need to worry about in regard to information technology. What are some of the costs of this?
- OS Configuration
For your workflow to be truly effective when you are editing, you need to have systems in place to ensure accuracy and efficiency. With the deadlines set for delivering photos, the software you need to upload, work on, and store images, and the other technical aspects of post-production, your costs drastically increase.
If you have less than stellar equipment, programs, or systems, you risk the speed and quality of your workflow. Your clients expect fast and efficient communication and delivery of images, so your systems have to be excellent to succeed.
IT costs are things you may not necessarily avoid because you do need certain systems in place to achieve your goals. But, there are IT costs you could take off your plate if you were not editing your own photos.
If you realized editing your own images was too time-consuming, you may have hired an in-house editor to take care of it. While that is a solution that takes some work off your plate, there are still hidden costs when it comes to in-house editors. What are some of the costs of training and managing an employee?
- New employee training and education
- Workflow expertise
- Standard Operating Procedures
- Speed and accuracy testing
First, you have to find someone who you trust to work on your images. This can be a difficult process, as you are a unique photographer with your own style. You have to spend the time searching for someone to fill the role, which means interviews and follow-up details that take hours away from other necessary projects and tasks. Before the in-house editor begins, it’s necessary to create Standard Operating Procedures, so that person can do everything you do and more. The steps it takes to write out everything you do and how you do it can take you quite a bit of time (and remember, time is money).
Once you find a suitable in-house editor, you then need to train them to understand your style and brand. The time period for this can vary, and you could end up spending more time working with the employee and adjusting the images if anything goes wrong.
Also, think about what happens when your in-house editor is ill, is not performing, or quits for another opportunity. All of the time and effort you spent on them is a cost you will have to go through again to find another in-house editor. An in-house editor can save you time, but there is also a risk they will take more of your time and cost you more money.
Employment Tax Costs
When you have an in-house editor, you take on quite a bit of extra responsibility. This also applies to fees, taxes, and other costs you are required to pay when you have a business. What are some of the costs you will pay for an in-house editor?
- Workman’s comp
Hiring someone to work for you and your business brings hidden costs, plus additional stresses. There are so many things that can happen with an employee, both positive and negative. Many of these situations are out of your control, such as when an employee leaves or you need to fire them. Paying unemployment is a huge cost to take on for your business, and can take away from reaching your goals.
If an employee gets hurt, you might be liable to pay workman’s comp for an extended period of time. Again, this is a large expense for your company, just like paying unemployment. Both of these scenarios require you to pay the employee without getting any work in return, which is exactly the opposite of what you hired them for in the first place.
There are other business costs to having employees you have to pay, and these definitely add up over time. What else could you be doing with that money to really free up your workflow and give you peace of mind? The solution may not always be an in-house editor, based on the hidden costs they have.
Human Resources Costs
As you manage your new roles as a boss, you also take on the role of Human Resources. When you are in this role, you take on a lot of additional responsibilities, which takes plenty of your time. What are some of the costs of the role of Human Resources?
- Hiring processes
- Employee on-ramping
- Vacation pay
- Employee churn
- Part vs. Full Time
The hiring process itself can be time-consuming and daunting. You have to hold interviews, take time to get to know someone, run background checks, and call references. Once you decide to hire the person, you have to onboard them, which involves lots of paperwork and your time. Once they are officially hired, you go through the training process, which can take weeks or months.
When you hire someone to be your in-house editor, you have to work around another person’s schedule. Sure, you set the hours and give them deadlines, but you have to accommodate them when necessary. If they want to take a vacation, or need personal time, these are costs you must consider. Chances are, you will be the one to fill their spot while they are gone (again, taking you away from your goals). Plus, if you hire on an in-house editor full time, you have to look into the requirements of benefits. What does your state say you have to do as an employer? If you provide benefits to an employee you pay to edit your images, you take even more money away from your business.
You then have to think about the quality of the position for the in-house editor. Your responsibility is to make them happy, so they provide you with excellent work and remain in their position. When you take care of employee needs, you take time away from other things you need to work on in your business. If you do not have the time to take care of the employee, there is a risk they will leave and you will have to start the process all over again.
Continuous Improvement Costs
Although you likely have a process in place right now, things are constantly changing in the photography industry, systems and processes, as well as in the business world. For you to be successful, you have to stay up to date with these changes. If you are editing your own images, there is a hidden cost in the process of continuous improvement. What are some of these costs?
- Research and development
- Process improvements
- Upgrades and replacements
Of these costs, there are major improvements to focus on, as well as minor ones. Some of minor items include calibrating your monitor and updating your equipment, and ensuring you have the most up to date editing programs and software. If there are updates to programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop, and it requires you to learn new processes, you have to take the time to practice.
You also have to think about the upkeep of all of your gear, technology, and systems. Routine checks are necessary, so you don’t have to worry about paying to fix these things or be without for a while. If your computer breaks (or doesn’t save files), you may not have the chance to get images out to your clients on time. Even though you may explain what happened, they may still be disappointed because you promised a certain timeline.
As you grow, what happens when you book more weddings in a year? Do you have the storage to upload, edit, and store all of the photos from each wedding? Your workflow also has to adjust to manage everything involved with taking on more bookings. Depending on your current workflow, the updates you make to your process can take a lot time, and can be costly.
There are 36 items on the list above (and that’s not even all of the hidden costs). Think about how much money and time is taken away from you because of these items. A post production photography company can eliminate these costs from your business. Instead of taking on the time and the money it costs to hire an in-house editor or take on editing yourself, a specialist can take care of it for you – in turn, saving you thousands of dollars and so much time. How can we help you with your wedding photo editing needs? Grab our Guide, How to Integrate ShootDotEdit into Your Workflow, to discover simple steps to eliminate the hidden costs of doing everything yourself.