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:
Shoot Dot Edit - http://shootdotedit.com/
Raw Digital Film Lab - http://rawdigitallab.com/
Edit Source - https://edit-source.com/
Edited By Artists - https://editedbyartists.com/