One question I see asked a lot by Photographers is - should I use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom? I'm pretty convinced you'll need both programs in your tool belt, but I asked the same question up front, too. After using Lightroom for a while I won't go back to just using Photoshop!
I resisted Adobe Lightroom for a long time.. I loved Photoshop and thought that great results could only come from that program. My friend Naomi at Nomi Photography encouraged me to give Lightroom a try. Boy I'm glad I did!
Editing photos in Lightroom is SO easy- and it's fast. I open all the photos from one session, and I can cull quickly by using the "reject" flag on the photos I don't want. (Want to see a video of how I do this? Click here to receive it in your inbox!)
Once I have my photos narrowed down, I can do color adjustments, run presets (equivalent of filters in Photoshop) straighten & crop, and sharpen. Once I get the look I want, I can select several photos from the same sequence - and copy that look to all of the photos in that sequence. This is called "syncing." Once I found out about syncing, I thought this was the best thing that had happened to my editing world! I can edit 10 (or more - however many I want!) photos at one time!
After editing it's easy to select all the photos I've just worked on, and export them to a folder on my computer or external hard drive. I can export them as JPEGs or RAWs - whatever I need! I can even select an option to add a photographer's logo to each photo in the sequence. No more adding a logo image to each and every file!
Now, please don't think I've broken up with Photoshop - I certainly haven't. There are several features that make it an essential part of a Photographer & Editor's workflow. However, for color correcting and basic straightening/sharpening, you really can't beat Lightroom.
So, you're a photographer, and you're busy. You are making money, capturing beautiful memories, and building clientele.
BUT! You're exhausted. You have photo shoots filling up your weekends and evenings - not to mention a home to take care of, dog to walk, church or social activities, etc. - and all the while those photos are sitting on your computer waiting to be edited. You're stressed, not getting enough sleep, have clients calling you asking when their photos will be ready, and all you want to do is pull your hair out!
This is where outsourcing your photo editing comes in. It can give you HOURS (maybe even entire days) of your life back. This means sleep, sanity & maybe even a movie out now and again!
So WHY should you outsource?
1. It gives you a chance to focus on shooting. Outsourcing your editing will give you back so much time in your schedule, that you can feel good about all the shoots you schedule. It will allow you to not feel rushed through photograph sessions, and give you the freedom to shoot & send your photos off to an editor - and when you get them back, they are beautiful and ready to deliver to your client!
2. Because someone else is doing the editing for you, you can deliver to your clients much faster. I know how it is to be on the opposite end of the photograph session - when you're the client, you can't WAIT to see your photos! It's normal for clients to text, call, email, Facebook (and any other way they can find to get ahold of you!) asking - when will my photos be ready?! Sending your photos to me means that because I don't have weekends filled with photo shoots, I have time to spend solely on editing. (This also ensures that I get each portrait just right!) For a portrait session, the turnaround time is 4 days or sooner for me. Can you imagine taking your clients photos on a Saturday, and sending a link to their FULL online gallery on Monday or Tuesday? That means you are making money faster as well. Time really is money!
3. It’s totally worth the money. Let’s do some math. Let’s say you spend 3 hours editing a session. You have 5 sessions. That is 15 hours of work! How many more sessions could you schedule during the week if you had 15 free extra hours? Assuming the average session is about 2 hours, you could do 7 more full shoots. If you charge $300 per shoot, you’re making an extra $2100. Now 7 shoots is a lot, but it means that if you even schedule 4 more shoots a week, you will have some free time on your hands – and that is AWESOME! As you’re sitting in the movie theater munching popcorn and watching Captain America fight off the bad guys – your photos are being edited for you, and you're making more money to boot!
Should you outsource? YES! I know that outsourcing brings up a lot of questions, so in my next blog post I will address some of the questions I’ve heard. Stay tuned!
Joy Phillips has been providing a personalized, custom, post production experience for photographers for several years. She loves to give her clients beautiful photos.. and their lives back!