What would you change about your current income or job?
Are you searching for work you can do at home with a bit more flexibility and freedom?
Does it sound crazy I made $75k in the past 12 months working from home by editing wedding photos for photographers?
Busy wedding and portrait photographers will gladly pay a premium price to outsource all of their photo editing to good private photo editors. Yes! There are photographers that spend a few thousand outsourcing their photo editing to online photo editors.
It’s true. I have clients from all over the world that I edit for!
What kind of editing are we talking about?
No, not Photoshop wizardry or retouching… I’m talking about pretty basic + straightforward edits!
Learning this trade, starting this path, and building a photo editing career is easier than you might think.
Let me breakdown the four steps that lead me to being able to have five-figure months.
1. I Was “All-In” from the Start
When I first had the realization that photo editing was a possible full-time escape from wedding photography, I jumped on it. Despite how scary it was, I dived right in and never looked back.
I decided to completely quit my previous photography business to focus on photo editing. Because my household’s main source of income depended on me, I needed to do everything I could to bring in editing income and FAST.
And I did just that — After my first six months, I reached full-time income with online photo editing.
WITHIN TWO YEARS I GRADUALLY INCREASED THAT INCOME TO WHAT IT IS TODAY: $75K.
What all did I do within those two years for growth?
I created a website dedicated to only photo editing! Whether you have another online business or not, it’s important for prospective clients to feel confident that you’re an expert in photo editing as a service – not a jack of all trades!
I defined who my ideal client is. For me, this was easy – my ideal client was exactly the type of wedding photographer I was (same style, same price range, same experience level, same type of brides and grooms)! It’s important to find out who that ideal client is for you so you know how to attract them. What type of photographer are they? Where do they spend most of their time online – Instagram? Facebook groups?
As I slowly gained my first few clients I worked on quality of service. I learned what communication techniques are best with the editor-photographer relationship and I discovered management strategies to keep my clients coming back year after year!
Okay, but what is my business actually like?
I have 20 clients all around the world (when you’re an online editor, the world is your client pool!)
I work full-time May through December during the busiest wedding months, then during the slower months I only have to edit part-time. By having busy months I’m able to pay myself the same “salary” all year ‘round to help cover the slower months.
On my editing days I usually binge on business podcasts or watch Netflix (because after you get the hang of editing, it’s really fun and easy!)
I keep the majority of my clients year after year, preventing me from having to find new ones at the start of each year.
Each of my clients spends around $3,200 – $4,200 for my editing services per year. They send me about 10-15 weddings per year.
2. I Practiced & Improved My Skills
There’s always room for improvement. Even for experienced professionals.
Disclaimer: When I made the transition from wedding photography to photo editing, I had about eight years of experience editing photos in Lightroom, with six of those years being for my own photography. By the time I quit photography to start my photo editing business I could edit about 75 images per hour.
I bounced around different tools and methods to figure out how I could improve the speed and quality of my edits, without sacrificing consistency.
After a few months of practice, with much trial and error, I finally created a workflow that produced exceptional results in a fraction of the time. (I teach this workflow in my signature course, The Photo Editor’s Guide)
“WITH MY NEW WORKFLOW IN PLACE,
I WAS ABLE TO INCREASE MY EDITING SPEED TO 200-300 IMAGES PER HOUR.”
I learned where to focus my time and energy and optimize the tools I was already using. This changed the way the business functioned on a foundational level.
The key benefit of improving your core skills is seen in the results. When you’re spending less time on large areas of your service, you gain flexibility in your work-life balance and freedom to reinvest your time elsewhere in the business.
In my signature online course, I tech my students the exact editing workflow I use to stay consistent AND fast!
3. I Charged a Premium Rate
Photo editing rates vary quite a bit. There are too many niches, types and styles, and one size doesn’t fit all, so there isn’t an “industry standard” rate – there are too many variables to consider.
Because I had experience in wedding photography, I was able to charge a higher rate right off the bat.
Don’t let my experience and background intimidate you into thinking you’re not capable! Just like every skill, with time + practice you will grow, and you will be able to increase your rates so you can scale your income too!
There is plenty of work out there for good photo editors, they just need the right training and guidance to get there… like The Photo Editor’s Guide.
Last month, my clients spent an average of $310 on each edit job. On average, I can complete an edit job in three to four hours.
“THAT’S AROUND $75-$100/HOUR FOR A SKILL THAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE THE POTENTIAL OF LEARNING + REFINING.”
Let’s just go over that again — that’s $100/hour for a skill that many people have the potential of learning and refining. You don’t need a degree or certification – you just need to learn the skills and invest time in practice!
The reason why I’m giving you averages: the amount of time it takes me to complete a job can vary slightly with each client and with each job. No job is the same as before, one edit job may be easier or harder, smaller or larger than the previous one!
4. I Set Automatic & Simple Systems in Place to Provide an Amazing Client Experience
Like I said before, making five figure months as a photo editor takes a good amount of dedication. You have to be committed to the success of your business.
Intake, scheduling, invoicing, bookkeeping, content creation, social media… The tasks can seem like they’re endless, unless you have great systems + operations in place that make running this business smooth sailing!
My easy-going “systems + operations” in my business is something I teach my students in The Photo Editor’s Guide: how to create the foundation of their business, client on-boarding, client management, bookkeeping, email scripts, marketing, how to find your first clients, and everything on how to optimize your systems + operations.
These systems are tools like: scheduling systems, invoicing, contract and questionnaire forms, and feedback documents. In the Guide, I teach a workflow that ties all of these together!
In creating a system for every step of your job and front-loading tasks the same way every time, you save yourself from having to think about it.
A big key to success for me as a private photo editor is working smarter and not harder. Having the right scheduling and business management tools in place to help streamline the bulk of my work has made everything function easily for both me and my clients.
Now, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned…
sign-up below to see if enrollment is open!
LEARN THE SKILLS + BUSINESS FOUNDATION YOU NEED TO BECOME A PROFITABLE PHOTO EDITOR, SO YOU CAN WORK FROM ANYWHERE.
The Photo Editors Guide is a step-by-step, complete online course + community with on-going support. Included is everything you would need to learn to become a skilled photo editor with a profitable photo editing business — guiding you through every single step of your learning and business-building journey.
This is an online training program designed for busy people to learn at their own pace. The training program is broken down into organized, bite-size videos so you can squeeze in 15 minutes of training throughout your busy schedule.
Whether you’re learning from scratch or you have experience editing, this course is still for you! Learning profitable photo editing techniques and tricks-of-the-trade is only 1/3 of the program — there is much more that goes into creating a profitable photo editing business, built for success, and I’ll teach you all of it!