Why do several wedding photographers choose to outsource photo editing? And more importantly, should you also join the club? If these are some of the things you’ve been mulling over for a while now, you are at the right place! We’ll tell you in detail the top reasons why many photographers are increasingly choosing to outsource their photo editing work to experts and why taking the same route could be beneficial for your business as well. Because when you outsource a task that doesn’t need your direct involvement, you streamline your workflow and free up your time that you can utilize in other important aspects of your business, such as booking more clients and taking up more photography assignments. To help you understand this concept better, we’ve shared the views of some top photographers on the topic and asked them how they utilize the time they save by outsourcing their post-production workload.
Why Outsource Photography Editing
We wholeheartedly second this quote by noted management consultant Peter Drucker. When you outsource the things that hold you back, you get back your time to invest in what you do best and watch your business thrive. Need some more clarity? Reflect on why you got into photography in the first place. Is it because you wanted to spend time sitting behind a computer, editing images from a past wedding? Or is it because you love to be behind the camera, capturing the special moments of your wedding clients? For many photographers, photography is all about pursuing their love for finding the ideal setting, posing their couples, experimenting with unique angles, and bringing images to life at the click of a button rather than painstakingly color-correcting those images. Photographer Roberto Valenzuela observes, “I think photographers who choose to edit themselves are on a dangerous path.” If this quote resonates with you, then allow us to explain why you shouldn’t do it all!
Editing is one of the most time-consuming aspects of your post-wedding workflow. Every minute you spend editing is possibly the time you aren’t spending growing your photography business. And anything that takes too much time and holds you back from your goals could be detrimental to your success. Picture this… you get back from shooting yet another amazing wedding, one that added to your kitty of experience and skill. Just like the multiple weddings, you have already had this year, and now, the work begins. The work that’s not so much fun. Spending 20 hours editing that very same wedding, and realizing in the 19th hour that, instead of editing, you could have been shooting more weddings the entire time! Instead, trusting a specialist with your wedding photo edits could be a great starting point to put your business on the path of growth. For more reasons on why outsourcing photo editing is good for your business, read ahead!
1. YOU SHOULDN’T DO IT ALL
Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” The reality is there’s not enough time to take on every single task necessary to run, grow, and sustain your wedding photography business. The list of tasks you have as a photographer and a business owner is endless, and there are not enough hours to accomplish it all alone. Compare it to your personal life. You might have a to-do list of all the things you need to accomplish. Though, with everything on your plate, you likely reach out to your loved ones or friends to help you achieve your goals. Consider household tasks, taking care of your kids, or picking up dry cleaning. Technically speaking, you can perform all these chores all by yourself, but it could take up way too much of your time - and even add to your stress.
Sure, you can work all day, every day. But there are still tasks that will be missed or pushed to the side. And even though you are a wedding photographer and business owner, you still have a life to live outside of your work. Even if you stick to your never-ending TDLs, working on too many things at once can leave room for error and pause your growth. Think about it like this: If you take on your entire task list, you only dedicate the bare minimum of time to each task or project. This means you never really get to look at your business, see what is working and what isn’t, and make necessary changes to help you grow.
The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber, states that most new businesses are not started by entrepreneurs who set out to build a strong business, but rather, by technicians who enjoy the hands-on work themselves. As a wedding photographer, you are a technician who is passionate about the work and your clients. Because of this, you may tend to focus on working IN your business rather than working ON your business.
As the CEO of your business, you take on 3 unique roles:
- Entrepreneur: You have the vision to implement ideas that will help to grow your business.
- Artist: You have the passion to create beautiful art with your images.
- Manager: You are in charge of creating a vision to ensure success for your business.
For all three of your roles, it is necessary to implement systems that will keep you and your business organized at all times. Keeping things organized is key to running a smooth and productive business.
Some of our favorite quotes from Michael Gerber in support of the idea mentioned above are:
“If everybody’s doing everything, then who’s accountable for anything?”
“Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business function. Let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go but the systems remain constant.”
“If your business requires your presence, you don’t have a business, you have a job.”
“Most entrepreneurs fail because they are working IN their business rather than ON their business.”
2. SPECIALISTS ARE EXPERTS
As a wedding photographer, you have a unique photography style. That style is what helps you book clients and it helps depict who you are as a photographer. And we believe that your style matters. And we celebrate the fact that you are one of a kind. That is why we know it can sometimes be challenging to trust even a specialist with the photo editing needs of your business. But when you outsource your wedding photography editing to a specialist, you partner with an expert. Rather than hiring an in-house photo editor, who you will need to spend hours on training to edit photos according to your style, you can trust a photo editing company that specializes in professional editing. Also, what would happen if the person you’ve hired, after all the time and training, decided to leave and pursue a different job? What if it happened in the middle of your busiest season of shooting? If you ask us, we’d say it’s definitely not worth taking the stress, especially when you have an expert at your service minus all the hassle!
As an artist and the creative vision behind your photography business, you can focus on shooting, lighting, posing, and everything that goes into capturing gorgeous images. A specialist can focus on the science behind color correction, allowing you to have consistent images to deliver to your wedding clients. Also, here at ShootDotEdit, we work with you to match your unique photography style. ShootDotEdit customers receive a Personal Style Consultant and Editor, who works with them to match their style so it can be consistently applied to every image from the first wedding itself.
3. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO
Every wedding is different and could throw various lighting scenarios and situations your way, directly affecting the quality of your images. Image editing is a necessary part of your job so that you can deliver unforgettable images to your clients. But, there are so many parts to editing wedding images. So the time spent on these edits can be long and become very overwhelming for you. Let’s take a look at all that you might need to do while editing.
Now, however skilled you might be as a photographer, there are several things that need attention at the post-production stage. And then there are some steps that you need to follow to speed up your workflow. Below, we’ve listed out most of them.
- White balance
- Black points
- White points
- Skin retouching
- Compressing images
- Teeth whitening
- Aspect ratios
- Removing unwanted elements
- Converting file types
- Stylistic additions (vignetting, blurring, bokeh, etc.)
- Research and development
- Process improvements
- Upgrades and replacements
In addition to the regular photo editing that needs to be done to your wedding images, have you thought about the tasks you have to keep doing to ensure your workflow is streamlined and prepared for editing? Or, if you have an in-house editor, have you thought about the various fees and tasks that you might have to take care of, including:
- Quality control
- Accurate benchmarks
- OS configuration
- New employee training and education
- Workflow expertise
- Standard operating procedures
- Speed and accuracy testing
- Workman’s comp
- Hiring processes
- Employee on-ramping
- Vacation pay
- Employee churn
- Part time vs full time
Of all these costs, there could be major improvements to focus on, as well as minor ones. Some of the 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 Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and it requires you to learn new processes, you will have to take out the time to practice the new processes.
Rather than spending your time worrying about the list above, or sitting in front of your computer editing, your time could be better spent on other aspects that help you grow your wedding photography business. You are the most valuable part of your business. When you are not working on things that help you grow, you could be holding yourself back from real growth.
4. WEDDING CLIENTS WANT THEIR IMAGES FASTER
Turnaround time is an important part of your client’s happiness. The faster they receive your images, the happier they will be. If you are editing every wedding, you could end up with piled-up work. And with that pile could come missed deadlines and delivery promises that you might not be able to keep. Plus, the longer you wait to deliver images to your clients, the less excited they will be. If you have a streamlined process in place with a specialist, you can easily deliver images to clients and meet (and even exceed) their expectations. If you outsource your post-production work to a photo editing company like ShootDotEdit, a fast turnaround time could help you eliminate stress and maintain an efficient workflow. That means your clients will be thrilled about receiving their images sooner. The happier your clients are, the more likely they will be to share the photos with their loved ones in-person and through social media. They might also refer you to their friends and family or even leave a shiny testimonial on your website. As Melissa Jill puts it, “Superfast turnaround times translate into super-happy clients!”
Time is only one of the benefits your clients see first-hand when you partner with a specialist for photo editing outsourcing. Think about it this way: Your clients trust you to be their photography specialist. It only makes sense to be able to trust others to help you with the most time-consuming aspects of your post-production workflow, like editing. Keep in mind that a specialist is an expert in the tasks you outsource to them; so this will in all likelihood ensure quality and consistency for your wedding photos.
5. LOVED ONES WANT YOUR TIME
Every hour you spend on your business is the time spent away from the personal things you love to do with the ones you love. No matter how much you love your job, your health and well-being require you to take some time off from your business and its responsibilities. If you are stuck at your computer for countless hours working on images from every wedding, you risk missing out on events in your life - soccer games, concerts, vacations with your family, and dinners with your significant other. It is up to you to get a long-term plan for managing the demands of running your business, while still living a life you love outside of work. Trust us, your personal life and loved ones will thank you and absolutely give you a thumbs up for trusting a specialist.
6. YOU’RE MISSING OUT
Chances are, you are saying no to opportunities left, right, and center (some of which you may not even know about), including:
A. Working On Your Brand
As your business grows, you may want to elevate your brand to attract a specific type of clientele. How can you take the time to elevate your brand, create the proper messaging, and attract those clients if you are the only one doing everything? You barely have the time to shoot the wedding and deliver final products to your clients. You have to have that time back in your day if you want to build your brand and reach out to your ideal clients.
B. Taking On New Business Opportunities
What are some of the projects you would love to work on in your business, or even outside of it? Perhaps you want to bring on associate photographers or start a business that will help other creatives. When you take steps to eliminate time-consuming tasks from your workflow or delegate it to an expert, you make room to start and work on new business ventures. This would help you grow your business and keep you motivated.
C. Using Personal Time
With the current business structure you have, do you have enough time for yourself? Chances are, if you are staying up all night editing your photos (rather than sending them to a wedding photo editing company), you do not have a lot of personal time. Personal time is something everyone needs. Whether you are spending time with your family, taking day trips, or catching up on some reading, this is the time you can spend away from your business if you outsource photo editing to specialists. In many professions, vacation is something that can often be pushed aside to honor a never-ending to-do list. This is especially true when it comes to your wedding photography business. When your workload is piling, there is no time to take a vacation, enjoy yourself, or even take a breath. Taking a vacation is a great way for you to de-stress and spend time outside of your business. But, it can be difficult to do so if you don’t outsource photo editing to an expert.
D. Marketing To Ideal Clients
Marketing is a huge part of your photography business and can require much of your attention and focus. These campaigns can include email marketing, as well as social media marketing. How much time would you be able to devote to run a marketing or social media campaign if you are taking care of everything else in your business? Probably not too much. And that one right there is one more reason to outsource photo editing.
E. Consolidating Knowledge Pool
Do you think you’ve reached a stage where you can share industry knowledge (such as a how-to guide for the wedding day) with your clients to help them research and plan for their wedding day? Or maybe, you are interested in educating other photographers on what you’ve learned. When tasks that don’t need your immediate supervision are off your plate, you can focus on providing clients and fellow photographers with relevant resources.
Another reason why you should outsource photo editing to a specialist is to decrease the overall time you spend on post-production. Instead of using your time to edit photos from every shoot, you can give your images to a specialist for editing (which will drastically cut down on the time you spend on doing it yourself). You can use this time to go out and meet new clients, connect with vendors, or build future plans for your business.
7. FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT
When you outsource wedding photo editing, you can focus on the most important tasks that will help your business grow. If you find yourself asking what is most important for your photography business, we’d urge you to think about your ROI - your return on investment. In an article by Cal Newport, the company references Warren Buffet and his advice to an employee:
“Your highest priority goals return significantly more value per unit time invested than your lower priority goals. In addition, your time and attention are limited. It follows that effort invested in your lower priority goals steals effort from your higher priority goals. If you spend time on the lower priority goals, therefore, your total quantity of value produced is reduced.”
– Warren Buffet
A. 80/20 Rule
When you spend time on things that do not provide ROI, you rob yourself of 80/20 - 80% of the value, 20% of the work. If you are unsure where you are receiving value in the efforts you put forth (marketing, blogging, networking, etc.), you risk continuing to put time and money into areas that are not actually doing anything for you. When you know where you receive the most ROI, you can then reallocate your time into tasks that will generate additional income and help you grow.
“Do everything yourself, that’s how you fail. If you don’t pay attention to your bottom line, and you seek perfection and not profit, you will fail.”
– Jared Platt
As a business owner, everything you do should provide you with ROI. Editing wedding images does not do that for your business. Think about time as money. Your time is so valuable, so it must be treated that way in your business plan. Even though outsourcing your wedding edits to a specialist will cost you money, think about how much your time as a business owner is worth. Look at the time it takes you to edit an entire wedding and how much it would cost to outsource it. Chances are, your time is worth more than the outsourcing fee that you pay to outsource photo editing. Also, think about it like this: When editing is off your plate, you can focus on other tasks that help you make more money. That will help you pay for your photo editing service and even save up the surplus.
8. WORK ON PROFIT-GENERATING TASKS
One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing photo editing is that you can work on profit-generating tasks. These are the tasks that are most important in your business and will help you to reach your overall goals. To get an idea of what are some of those key tasks, we reached out to a few wedding professionals to find out what they can focus on (when they aren’t editing):A. Networking
Photographer Sarah Roshan is a proponent of networking with vendors through valuable and meaningful relationships. Because when editing is off her plate, she spends her time investing in vendors and getting to know them. She even makes it a habit to meet with a new vendor each week to connect and find out how she can help their business.B. Client Referrals
Word of mouth is a powerful way to gain new bookings for your photography business. Though, you do need time to create happy clients who are invested in your business and can’t wait to share with their loved ones. Take the time to build a business that provides an unforgettable experience, including having fast turnaround time, clear and concise communication, and a strong brand message. And one of the best ways to do that is building relationships with your current clients to help find your next clients.C. Make The Most Of Social Media
Photographer Jessica Claire utilizes social media, specifically Instagram, to book wedding clients. With her editing taken care of, she says that she can build a strong social media presence that attracts and books the clients who are perfect for her. The strategies she uses for her Instagram business account allow her to reach ideal clients, share her images, and even showcase a bit of who she is as a photographer and person.D. Consistent Blogging
Interact with your target market to share your message frequently, encourage shares from followers, and incorporate SEO (search engine optimization) tactics. Blogging-as-a-service companies, such as Fotoskribe, take care of these tasks for photographers. When you sign up for such services, you potentially better your chances of increasing your ranking on search engines and, therefore, adding more bookings to your calendar, based on the SEO-specific services Fotoskribe provides. Blogging is key to helping you reach new clients who might be looking up for a wedding photographer just like you on the internet.E. Build New Revenue Streams
When you have more free time in your wedding photography business, you can focus on building new revenue streams to increase your overall profits. You can do this through portrait sessions, albums, and print sales. If you are currently editing every single photo from each of the weddings that you cover, these may be things that you have thought about in the past but didn’t get the time to focus on. Finding ways to increase your bottom line throughout the year can get you closer to your current and future goals.
MORE THINGS YOU CAN DO IF YOU OUTSOURCE PHOTO EDITING
These items on the list may not necessarily be your most important ones but are tasks that can help you get your images in front of ideal clients. They are tasks that also allow you to book more weddings. To make sure you focus on the best tasks for your business, think back to what you receive in ROI from each to make your decisions.
- Create a marketing campaign
- Build Instagram Stories
- Host Facebook Lives
- Send images to vendors
- Submit images to publications
- Start a Pinterest account
- Practice shooting techniques
- Attend photography conferences (online and in-person)
- Take a business course
- Update your website
- Post to your blog
- Take a new headshot
- Book more clients
- Shoot more weddings
- Create more albums and books
- Sell and upsell
- Practice in-person sales
- Add associate photographers
- Create a new business model
- Network with vendors
- Host retreats with past brides
IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE
When you learn to let go of a few tasks and find an expert to do it for you, you create space to unwind and relax too! Hitting the gym, attending your kid’s soccer game, taking a road trip, joining a new hobby class, or even shooting for fun are just some of them. And that’s not even all of what you can do with more time in your business schedule or personal space. The list could just go on! Once you outsource editing for your business, you can be in control of how you spend your time. When you outsource photo editing to a specialist, you have an exponential amount of time back - which basically means you can have more of a work-life balance.
PHOTOGRAPHER BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING PHOTO EDITING
Here at ShootDotEdit, we connect with and talk to wedding photographers worldwide about their success stories after they outsource photography editing. Check out below to learn what they’ve got to say about the positive impact outsourcing has had on their businesses after they partnered with a professional photo editing services company (ShootDotEdit):
1. JARED WILSON
Jared Wilson was one of the first photographers to take part in our Style Match service, where you receive a Personal Style Consultant and Editor, and saw the results:
“This is the FIRST time I feel like I could upload to a gallery immediately and my clients would be getting the high quality processing I want to provide them.”
– Jared Wilson
The benefit of having images that are gallery-ready? That’s more time that can be used in other parts of the business.
2. SARA FRANCE
Sara France built her brand with the free time she had from making the decision to outsource photo editing. Without a photo editor helping Sara and her associate photographers with their editing, she says she would not be able to expand to multiple associates in multiple locations.
“There is a lot of business structure that comes into my time. I spend a lot of time doing numbers and putting together ideas. With three wedding photography brands spread across multiple locations, we continue to build and grow the business. I don’t even wonder what my images are going to come back looking like.”
– Sara France
Find out more about why she really believes in the power of outsourcing in the client testimonial video below:
3. JARED PLATT
Jared Platt is a Lightroom expert in the photography industry but is an avid proponent of outsourcing his photo editing work. Why is one of the most efficient people in color correction using and advocating for a company that does the same thing?
Here’s why! When Jared sent his first job to ShootDotEdit, he took the time to write an article for a magazine and made an additional profit. He could have edited his own photos, but the time he spent writing the article paid him more than editing his own images would (which is $0). He made a decision based on ROI, knowing what to say yes to and what to outsource.
4. LEEANN MARIE
As a new business owner, you spend a lot of time thinking about what success looks like. What you don’t often think about, though, is what happens when you reach that point. Photographing 32 weddings a year, along with engagement and boudoir sessions, was becoming overwhelming for photographer Leeann Marie. Extended hours in the office, no time to spend on marketing and sales, and not spending quality time with her husband were not Leeann’s intentions when she started her photography business. She needed a way out and decided to outsource photo editing.
When she began, Leeann knew that her business would be a full-time job, but she didn’t know that it would slowly begin to consume all her time. Rather than spending her office hours on album sales, marketing, and creating relationships with clients, which are the tasks she wanted to focus on to help grow her business, she was working long hours editing.
When Leeann realized she needed to outsource her photography editing to help grow her business in the best possible way, she felt she had two options to consider: hire an in-house editor or partner with a specialist to help with her post-production. She also knew that choosing the latter would guarantee her that the editors would be trained the same way on how to deliver a uniform product. This way, if one editor is unavailable, she would still receive consistent edits and a fast turnaround time. Because when you outsource your editing work, you save time and money. So for Leeann, the choice was simple. In order to focus on the areas of her business that needed her close supervision, she chose to outsource photography editing and partner with a company that specialized in post-processing. Just how Leeann gained her valuable time back to focus on key areas of her business, you could too!
INTEGRATE YOUR WEDDING WORKFLOW WITH A SPECIALIZED PHOTO EDITING FIRM
Going back to where we started: Do what you do best and outsource the rest. This is one of the go-to mottos of successful business owners and the path they took to reach their goals in their business. Let us ask you this… What are some of the things you would do for your business if you had the time? Got your list ready? Those are the things you can focus on when you outsource photography editing needs of your business to a specialist.
At ShootDotEdit, we love to help wedding photographers polish their craft as well as focus on the important aspects of their business. Aiding the growth of your wedding photography business is our passion, and that’s why we keep sharing useful tips and insights through our blogs. You can deep dive into them. To discover more about our wedding photo editing services for professional photographers and learn how we can help take editing (and headache) off your plate, ultimately allowing you to grow and achieve your goals, check out our pricing plans.