Frequently Asked Questions
What Exactly Does a Photo Editor Do?
Small businesses, like portrait and wedding photographers, hire online private photo editors for outsourcing the bulk of their photo editing. It takes a lot of work to build and sustain a photography business and most photographers would prefer to spend their time on their personal lives, at home or growing other aspects of their businesses.
Outsourcing their photo editing online is an efficient and cost effective way to free up a portion of their time, especially during the busier seasons. Think of photo editors like another form of a virtual assistant, and their only job is to edit photos for their clients.
The type of editing I make money doing doesn't involve fancy Photoshop or retouching skills. No — the editing I do is fairly basic batch editing where I correct color, adjust exposure, and straighten cropping.
My business runs in a similar way to other online service-based businesses. After I receive an edit job, my client pays an online invoice. Then, I deliver the edited catalog online within a designated turnaround time.
Can Anyone Train to Become an Online Photo Editor?
Like any other learned skill that requires training, it’s not for everyone. It’s not that it’s an extremely challenging skill to learn — after some basic training, most people can learn how to edit a photo well. If you can figure out how to take a photo on your phone, slap a filter on it, and upload it to Facebook... you can learn the skills you need to execute a good edit.
I don’t mean that to say that anyone should become a photo editor. Just like any other tech-based or service-based career, it’s not a one-size-fits-all gig. Photo editors, and all other service-based providers, need to be self-motivated and dependable.
Photo editing probably isn’t a good fit for you if you are partially color blind, or if you have health issues that prevent you from sitting at a desk or table for an extended period of time.
If you’re not sure if photo editing is a good fit, I have a FREE Introductory Course just for you, right here!
What Type of Person Has the Potential to Be a Good Photo Editor?
Good editors have an eye for detail! Clients must trust that their photo editor will give the same care and attention to detail on their photos as they would.
Editors need to be able to put their own creative preferences aside to subjectively edit their client’s photos with their client’s style in mind. An editor is basically a member of their team, virtually hopping on their computer, editing their photos just like they would!
What is the Hardest Part of Being a Photo Editor?
The most challenging part of being a photo editor is the leap it takes to get there. Even as a previous photographer, I had the same fear that anyone else would have when jumping into a new income stream.
At first, learning and building a business can be overwhelmingly daunting. You can become full of self-doubt and that fear could become paralyzing. After I leaned into the fear, and embraced my self confidence I knew that this was something I could refine. I told myself THIS was something I needed to dedicate myself to because I KNEW I was capable of doing it, one small step at a time.
How Much Can You Make Working From Home Editing Photos?
This depends on the photo editor and how much they choose to make. Photo editing income can vary greatly. As a photo editor, I get to decide: what I want to charge for my services, what fees I want to charge, what type of editing I want to provide, and how often I want accept edits.
In the niche of wedding and portrait editing, photo editors make $60-$100 per hour on average. Editors commonly charge a per image rate, so the hourly rate mentioned previously is based on the varying ranges that editors charge and how much time is spent on an average batch of editing.
Every editing job is different in quantity and speed — Some may take a little bit longer or shorter. On average, I make $275-$375 per edit job and I edit anywhere from 10-40 editing jobs per month.
Some editors choose to edit part-time as supplemental income with a lower client list, around 2-5 clients for the year. This could earn them anywhere from $5k to $15k per year depending on the type of editing they do and the type of clients they have.
Full-time editors can make anywhere from $2,000-$10,000+ per month, depending on the type of editing and their experience. Photo editing in this niche is seasonal; I work part-time for the first half of the year, and then in the second half of the year I have full-time hours. Some months I will make five-figures in editing and other months I will make $3,000. I save all of the extra money I make during my busier months so I’m able to pay myself the same monthly salary throughout the year.
The 12 months following my first full year as a photo editor, I made $75k in gross income. In the niche of wedding photography editing income fluctuates month-to-month. If you average out my yearly income per month, that is $6,258/month — Check it out. It’s important to mention that this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme — This is a way to learn the skills you need to reasonably profit from them on your own terms.
If you’re looking for more info, I get more in depth on this subject specifically in another blog post.
Why Do I Edit Primarily Wedding Photography?
Photo editing for portrait and wedding photographers is a skill that is in demand all around the globe. The wedding industry is a 72 billion (with a “B”) dollar industry. In the U.S. alone, there is an estimated 2.1 million weddings every year, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, by 2020 there will be over 157,000 business owners who claim photography as their full-time income.
To put this into perspective, my editing business reached full-time income at 22 clients, I currently have 25. Several of my clients are based in other countries — Netherlands, Australia, United Kingdom, and Canada, just to name a few. How cool is that? To this day, it still amazes me that I get to edit weddings in all walks of life!
I’ve edited for other businesses that don’t involve wedding photography. I’ve been paid to edit event photos, real estate photos, interior design photos, family photography, small business marketing photos, and more! Any event or business that needs visual content might be looking to outsource their photo editing.
If you have the potential to become a good photo editor, there is so much work out there for you. You just need the right training and guidance to help you get there. I believe this training and guidance is my calling.
Why Do You Need Training For Photo Editing?
Through creating a successful business, I quickly learned that specific training is definitely necessary to be an efficient, quality photo editor. Photographers, like any other business, have built a style for their brand, and are relying on their editor to maintain that style.
Before The Photo Editor’s Guide, skill based training for photo editors wasn’t available. Although there are some resources and tools out there that can help editors manage their business and find clients, there wasn’t any technical training that would teach people how to learn the editing and technical skills they need to make money as a professional photo editor.
I’ve heard from photo editors about how their business has been unstable and unpredictable since day one. This lack of training and refined editing can really show when photographers are looking to hire an editor.
There are two common problems that I often come across:
Editors that struggle to get clients.
Editors that struggle to keep clients.
Photo editors that have enough experience and knowledge to get by, and seem to be doing everything alright, but still can’t reel in quality clients commonly haven’t identified their marketing strategy. Even worse, some have an idea, but haven’t communicated it effectively to their potential clients.
The photo editor that is struggling to keep clients in their business most often lacks critical training in some area of their skill. Without proper training, editing consistency goes out the window. An established photographer simply can’t depend on inconsistency, so they look to outsource elsewhere.
I make sure to cover each of these problems and then some in the trainings in The Guide course. I want all of my students to graduate from my course confident that they have the knowledge AND the practice under their belts to go out and become an excellent photo editor.
How Many Hours a Week Do You Work On Average?
Since I focus on wedding photography editing, there is a slower season and a busier season. As an editor with a full-time list of clients: January through June, I work 10-15 hours per week and July through December I can work anywhere from 20-50 hours per week. There are only about 3-4 weeks out of the entire year that I work more than 40 hours. Keep in mind, during those busier months I’m choosing to work that much so I can achieve five-figure months and reach my goal of $75k per year. These are my preferences.
For people that are looking for part-time or even seasonal work, you can achieve a full-time income of $45,000 working part-time. This can depend on your rate, service quality, and editing efficiency — which are crucial modules I teach in The Photo Editor’s Guide course. I reached a full-time income of $45,000 editing part-time 15-20 hours per week in my first six months while I worked full-time in my wedding photography business.
It’s all about how much work you want to put in, and how many hours you want to give to it! Keep in mind, these numbers vary editor to editor. Again, it’s all about making sure you can provide excellent photo editing and how you market those skills.
Once You Graduate From the Course, How Do You Get Your First Clients?
That’s the grand question! Again, it’s crucial that potential clients can see that you’ve learned and refined your editing skills. It’s extremely important that a photo editor has the training they need to provide good, consistent editing before they can market themselves to potential clients.
I’ve dedicated an entire module in my course to attracting and KEEPING clients. I have a marketing method that attracts photographers and converts their inquiries to a paid editing job. This is something that needs an entire module dedicated to it, and not a small paragraph in this blog post. This method is covered intensively in The Photo Editor’s Guide.
I can’t emphasize this enough: before you market your editing services, you need to learn and refine your editing skills. I can teach you the skills you need, how to attract the clients you want, AND how to keep those clients. There is work out there for good photo editors. Finding your first clients may not happen immediately after you graduate, you need to put in the effort and market your business with authenticity.
If you find editors that are struggling to find and keep clients, they are either lacking training or not implementing critical marketing methods — or both!
Would This Be A Good Stay-At-Home Job For Moms or Dads?
Of course! There are people that choose photo editing so they can stay at home while working! You can choose how much work you’d like to take on! This is a great business to have if you want to be able to work in the mornings before picking the kiddos up in the afternoon or if you need to limit working to a couple days per week.
As I mentioned before, I was able to bring in a full-time income working part-time in my first six months as a photo editor. I worked about 4-6 hours per day, around 3-5 days per week (varying season to season)!
This is also a great fit for stay at home moms and dads that have limited time to spend working but want to earn a little supplemental income. I know editors that choose to edit just 5-10 jobs per month — which could be great supplemental income grossing around $1,200-$2,500 per month (this can vary by season depending on the niche they choose).
What If You’re Not Sure If Photo Editing Is a Good Fit?
This is a common question! I wanted to make sure that my students know this is a good fit for them before jumping into it, so I created a FREE Intro Course to help you find out and answer more of your questions! It’s packed full of everything you’d need to figure out if photo editing is for you.
It also gives an introduction to photo editing where I teach some of the basics that go into the type of photo editing I do. Plus, we test you on your photo editing potential with an image based quiz!
I don’t want people spending money on my intensive course if photo editing is something they won’t like or isn’t a good fit for them. With this Free Intro Course, I make it my priority to help you make sure you find out if this is a good fit for you.
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