Why Photographers Shouldn’t Edit Their Own Photos

By just typing the title of this blog post I can hear the collective buttholes of the photography industry puckering.

I also can’t wait to get a bunch of angry comments from photographers claiming how ‘real photographers’ don’t outsource, and how it makes you a sham of a photographer if you outsource your photography editing.

When it comes to the topic of photographers outsourcing their photos for editing, I’ve really heard it all.

And let me just start with saying – I hear you.

It’s extremely difficult to relinquish control over something you care about so much.

However, if you want a business with longevity, you need to understand that you can’t do it all yourself.

If you try, that’s the quickest road to burnout.

This doesn’t serve you, your family, or your clients.

There are tons of reasons why photographers don’t want to outsource their editing.

Here are the Top 4 reasons I hear the most often and why they don’t actually make sense, and why it actually holds you back from having the business you dreamed of when you started your photography business.

 1. “I couldn’t possibly let someone edit my photos; it’s part of my ahhhrrrrrrrrttt”

Do you know how photographers get all pissed when someone tells them that their camera takes “nice photos”? This is exactly the same fucking argument. Your art is the direct correlation of the skills that you learned to take those photos. That’s art.

It’s the years your spent mastering lighting, composition, and dealing with that bitchy bridesmaid. Pushing buttons on Lightroom and retouching boogers in Photoshop is a skill. Do you need a bit of an artistic eye to edit photos? Sure, I’ll give you that. But editing can be learned, as many of my clients can tell you.

My clients hire me because I make their photos look exactly how they would make them look, and in many cases, better. It may take us a few tweaks to get it right. Still, I promise you that myself and my team understand the editing process in and out, and just by looking at your galleries, I can probably describe your style as well as you can.

Being overly attached to your images is the number one reason photographers won’t outsource, and it costs you time and money.

Don’t believe me? How many clients are you booking when you’re stuck editing in Lightroom? How many consultation calls are you fielding?

See what I mean?

The hours spent in Lightroom really don’t do anything to move your business forward or serve your clients.

2. “It’s too expensive and would cut into my profit.”

Say you tell me that you usually spend 5 hours editing a 2,000 image wedding. And as we know, people tend to underestimate how much time they are spending because if you sat for 5 straight hours editing, you’d lose your fucking mind.

So you are maybe editing for an hour, checking email, checking Facebook, getting a snack, etc. So that 5 hours is really more like 8; a full day out of your week.

What could you do with that 8 hours?

Shoot a couple of portrait sessions? Book a wedding? If it cost you $200 to outsource that wedding but you shoot a portrait session with a $1,500 sale with the time you’d normally spend editing, you just came out ahead by $1,300.

For what I charge you could make THOUSANDS of more dollars booking and selling instead of editing.

It’s giving you back your time, and more time means more profit as long as you’re not sitting on your couch eating Cheetos instead of working.

(…..well, as long as you’re not doing that most of the time. You’ve totally earned some couch-and-cheeto time every once in a while.)

Don’t believe me? Here’s a conversation I had with a client of mine that made an extra $10,000 just because they weren’t stuck behind their computer editing as much.

3. “I have a signature look.”

And how long do you spend tinkering with your images to get them to look like that? Do you have time to fuck around with an Expo Card every single time you move to a different lighting scenario? Of course you don’t.

So, you spend time on the back end, moving that slider and clicking around to find the perfect white balance. You’re spending time at your computer working on a project instead of being out there doing what you get paid a shit ton more money to do and serving your clients.

You see, more often than not, photographers are so attached to all of their photos that they spend far too long making tiny adjustments trying to get their images just perfect.

A wedding that should take 3 hours to edit ends up taking 8.

Having a third party that’s not emotionally attached to the images ends up saving photographers hours of time.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an example. How long does it take you to edit about 100 wedding images? 

An hour? Two hours? More?

It takes me or one of my editors roughly 30 minutes. And the images will be consistent with each other and with the photographers’ desired style as well.

4. “I like to have control over the whole process.”

Do you think Jeff Bezos is out on the floor at Amazon packing boxes?

By adopting the mindset that you need to control the whole process, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It might not happen for a few years, but it will happen.

When you are the only one who knows how to steer the ship, and it crashes, everyone on board is fucked. That includes your family, your mental health, and, ultimately, your business.

You cannot do it all. You deserve downtime and time to not always be working. The key to a successful business is to know what to let go and let others help you with.

And here’s another piece of advice – clients give way more of a shit about how you treat them than they do about a perfect edit.

Case and point – When is the last time a client complimented you on your “perfect highlights and lowlights” and how you “nailed that white balance in the reception photos”?

Or do you hear things like “I loved working with XYZ Photography because they were so prompt, informative, and helpful,” or even “I love XYZ Photography’s work because it really captures the emotion of the day, and I’m so happy to have photos of all of our family together in one place.”

See what I’m saying? Make sure you’re spending your time and energy focusing on the things that actually matter to your clients. Don’t waste time trying to make something important to them that just isn’t (like the perfect white balance).

Want to do a test run?

I know you’re probably extremely nervous about relinquishing control. But don’t worry – I gotchu.

Each client goes through an onboarding process that includes a free test edit. This is where we take the opportunity to learn your style and what you’re looking for.

It’s also completely free, and we don’t move forward with paid sessions until the test edit is satisfactory.

Get in touch with me now and let me see how I can help.


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