Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Photo Editing

I recently received a question from Instagram about outsourcing their wedding photos with an outside digital editor. What did I think about it and would I recommend it? Well, there are definitely pros and cons to outsourcing your digital editing but I think overall, it's a smart investment for any wedding photographer who wants to maximize their time working in the field, meeting new clients and networking with vendors.

For myself, I put off finding a outside digital editor for a long, long time. Originally, I thought I would be giving up control of my photography and it would some how make me less of a professional photographer if I didn't edit my own photos. But then I found out I was having a baby and that perspective changed real quick!! I could no longer sit at my computer for hours anymore because I physically couldn't do it! I realized that I needed help and a digital editor was going to be the best option for me to continue to run my business with the same level of customer service post baby. Honestly, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made about my wedding photography business and I wish I would have done it much sooner.

As I began my search, I tried a full service editing house that was recommended by a friend. This type of editing service employs lots of digital editors who rotate through jobs and edit your work. After receiving my completed galleries, I soon realized that I wasn't happy with my end results. Unfortunately, I wasn't getting consistent results and had to re-edit my wedding catalog, which defeats the entire purpose of hiring someone else to do it for you. Next, I contacted a boutique wedding editor who works with a small number of clients each year and could give me one-on-one attention. After many consultations about my style, I decided to part ways with my new editor because things just weren't working out. I constantly had to re-edit my weddings which became very frustrating.  So, I began my search once again and this time I looked for someone who specialized in matching digital to film photography. Since I am a hybrid shooter, this is what really matters most to me. Someone who is OBSESSED with color matching as much as I am and I'm happy to say that I finally found the right match - HOORAY!! It took roughly 2-3 weddings for us to figure out our groove, but now my final lightroom catalogues come back perfect and I barely have to touch them. Of course I still do a final review of the gallery, make my black and white selects prior to exporting and delivering my images to my couple. I always cull and put my catalogues together before sending them out for editing. As the photographer, I know the order of events always recommend that the photographers cull their own images. I would never outsource that out to anyone. However, 0utsourcing my digital editing has been a HUGE benefit and overall time saver for myself and my business.

Pros vs. Cons

Pro - Time is Money - We've all heard the saying but it's true. Before I had a baby, I had a lot of time to edit my wedding photos on my own but after my daughter was born, that all changed. I was now paying for childcare and sitting at my desk for hours so I could edit my weddings was clearly the wrong investment for me. Outsourcing was the best solution for me and even thought it was another financial investment, I gained more time to focus on my clients, booking new weddings, marketing, meeting potential and current couples, taking more photography jobs and networking with vendors. This is a biggest pro because the time I would have spent editing, I can now grow and expand my business.

Con - It's Expensive - The biggest con is that it's expensive. It can cost you anywhere from .29 to .39 an image and if you have a large gallery, it adds up very quickly. Of course you can find someone who will charge you less but they might be as good, so be sure to do your research and ask for recommendations. 

Con - Finding the Right Person Takes Time - Just like finding your mate, it can take a lot of time to find the right digital editor for you. You might have to do a few trials with several different editing houses or boutique editors till you find the right match. 

Con - Fixing Your Work - Of course it's a bummer but it happens. If you send out your wedding gallery and it comes back less than stellar, you are going to have to still sit down to re-edit and fix your photos. If your editor doesn't offer re-edits, this is a waste of time and money for you. 

Outsourcing Resource Guide:

Editing House:
Shoot Dot Edit - http://shootdotedit.com/
Raw Digital Film Lab - http://rawdigitallab.com/

Boutique Editors:
Edit Source - https://edit-source.com/
Edited By Artists - https://editedbyartists.com/


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Top 3 Tips to Culling Wedding Photos Faster

It's true what they say about being a wedding photographer, it's 10% photographing weddings and 90% everything else. You spend a lot of time in front of the computer vs. behind the camera which can be frustrating. Over the course of my wedding photography career, I've picked up a few helpful tips and tricks on how to cull and edit my photos faster which I'm so excited to share with you! Here are my top 3 tips on how to cull your wedding photography faster.

CullingWeddingPhotosFaster.jpg

No. 1 - PHOTO MECHANIC by CAMERA BITS - This is hands down my NUMBER ONE recommendation for ANY photographer who photographs events, weddings or simply takes a large amount of photos at one time. The magic of Photo Mechanic is that it processes your RAW files instantly and loads the previews on your screen faster than you can blink. This makes the process of selecting your best photos incredibly fast and efficient. If you were to import your photos using Adobe's Lightroom, you'd be sitting there waiting for the files to render before you could even start your cull. You'll be waiting a painfully long amount of time before you can even start to select your photos - it's incredibly slow. Photo Mechanic is 100% worth the financial investment because it will speed up your workflow by hours and you need that time to get back out there and photograph your clients!

No. 2 - SHUTTLExPRESS by CONTOUR DESIGN - I know, this looks a bit intimidating but trust me you will learn to love it. The ShuttleXpress is a keyboard extender with programable buttons to help speed up your workflow and edit as fast as possible. I used the ShuttleXpress with Photo Mechanic and Lightroom. Since it's a programmable device, you can set it up with multiple software profiles which is amazing! For culling in Photo Mechanic, I use the ShuttleXpress to pick (T key) my selects which saves me time and my hand from cramping up by using my keyboard. In Lightroom, I use the ShuttleXpress mostly in the Develop module to copy & paste my settings, crop and rotate images, pick and flag my photos and so much more. Using the ShuttleXpress allows me to use keep one hand on the mouse and the other on the ShuttleXpress without ever having to touch the keyboard. I never have to look down to find a key to use a keyboard shortcut, which slowly eats away at my editing time by taking my eyes off of my screen. I've been using this device for several years and by now, it's second nature to me. I simply cannot work without it. 

No. 3 - START BACKWARDS - This is a tip I picked up from another wedding photographer and think it's absolutely genius! For wedding photographers, the end of the wedding usually means reception photos. LOTS and LOTS of reception photos which may or may not be your favorite part of the day :) To quickly get through this section, I suggest starting at the end of the wedding and moving your way backwards through each part of the day. This will speed up your culling time and you'll also move into the ceremony, portraits, getting ready sections more quickly. Also, specifically for digital photographers, you might take a few shots until you are happy with the final photo, which means you might have 2-3 images before you get to the final shot. If you start backwards, you will see the best image FIRST and skip over the rejects so much faster. This is such a simple tip but has efficient impact on saving you time in your culling process.

I hope you found these tips helpful but I want to hear from you! What are some time saving tips you've discovered while culling your images? Please share in the comments below!


Stay in the know! Subscribe to our newsletter, podcast, join our facebook group and be sure to follow brklynivew on Instagram for the latest Tea with Jainé IG TV episode.

Want more tea? Contact Jainé about her one-on-one mentoring sessions for wedding photographers!