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How to start Outsourcing Photo Editing

How to Outsource Photo Editing | a step by step guide by Mary Dougherty + video interview with The Find Lab

Are you outsourcing photo editing yet? If not, it’s me, your friend Mary Dougherty telling you it’s time. The good news is I’m going to take you behind the scenes into my process and share exactly how to get started. By the end of this post, you will be sending out images and can go join your family and friends who have been waiting for you to get out from behind your computer.

Outsourcing Photo Editing with The Find Lab

One of the biggest problems that photographers have is spending too much time at their computer editing their images. Raise your hand if it’s true. I see you, because I’ve been there.

The company I use to edit both my digital and film images is The Find Lab. To get started email them or submit your first digital order. Your first 25 images will be complimentary, so that’s a great way to give them a try.

Here is what you need to do :

  • Define your style. Do you know what you want your finished images to look like? Good. Save 5-10 in a file to share with your future editor.
  • Research editors – or take my advice and use The Find Lab! They have a team of people / 5 day turn around / match film to digital. I know, why have you been waiting to do this?
  • Send 25 images. Your first set of sample images (25) is complimentary at The Find Lab! Also include your folder of favorites / requested preset / or if you like to control things, pre-editing images.
  • Ask for changes. When you get back your edits you may still need to dial in your look. This is normal. Keep talking and you will get there.
  • Receive finished images. Are you happy? Did you have fun going on a date or playing with your kids without feeling guilty? You are welcome.

To hear more about my journey and tune into this conversation I had with Kaesen, Editing Manager at The Find Lab.

Matching film + digital when outsourcing photo editing

One of my favorite parts of working with the Find Lab is that they work with both digital and film. I shoot 75%-100% of my portraits on film and it is what has created my signature look. On a wedding day I shoot hybrid and love trusting find lab to refine everything I shoot.

Interested to know when I shoot film at a wedding? I break it down in this post.

Reasons to not outsource photo editing

I know there are reasons to wait to outsource photo editing. Let’s dive into a few.

Only I can create this look. Umm… you don’t think someone who has studied photography, edits images every day, knows all the lightroom shortcuts you don’t is not going to be able to replicate it? You are special, but serious this is something you can let go of.

If I could afford it I would. How valuable is your time? Do you pay yourself to sit at your computer enough for it to be worthwhile? What if you raised your prices and your business supported you instead of drained you? Getting a handle on your numbers will absolutely give you permission if not beg you to let go.

It takes too long. It just doesn’t. With a 5-10 day turnaround your images will be ready before you have the time to upload them.

A Peek Into My Editing Workflow

First I cull my images, then I send The Find Lab a Lightroom catalog with smart previews. My editor sends me 5-10 sample images to make sure we are on the right track. I’m able to make some small adjustments if I feel things are off. Over time my editors have been able to know what I want my work to look like. Once they have edited all of my images, they send the catalog back to me. I double check everything, crop and select favorite image… then I export and upload.

Grow your business

Use your newfound time to grow your business. Create a new offer, connect with past clients or dream up a personal project. Tag me on Instagram and share what you are up to.

Honestly I spent many late nights at my desk, with a backlog of images. I stayed on track for my clients but it took a toll on me and my family. I realized I didn’t need to sit behind my computer to get things done. Give yourself a day off.

My mindset switched to viewing editing as a necessary business expense and I unlocked SO much time. I spent time with me family (we now have three kids) and dreaming up new projects like my workshop.

The key is realizing that you don’t have to do everything in your business. You can let other people help you and it’s a really good business move to not do it all. Your most valuable work is going to come from something besides editing. Take back your time to focus on the next step in your business.

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