A few years ago, while I was a full-time (and overworked) wedding photographer, I discovered that a friend made $70k+ a year working from home as a boutique private photo editor. After not having a weekend off in months, I was intrigued (to say the least), and learned that:
- Wedding and portrait photographers around the globe are outsourcing photo editing to private photo editors
- These private photo editors can work from home or anywhere they choose to be
- Becoming a private photo editor does not require any fancy degree
- You can acquire the necessary skills at home, study on your own time, and at your own pace
To be completely honest, making this career switch without an efficient client management system or fast editing workflow was really difficult. I had a lot of kinks to work out, and working those kinks cost time, money, and clients. But, after I kept refining and improving my systems, becoming a photo editor for wedding photographers changed my entire life.
I made $75,000 last year editing wedding photos for photographers worldwide and loved the flexibility of working from anywhere. Since then, I have taught hundreds of people how to change their lives and build their own successful, profitable businesses from home. But don’t take my word for it; click here to read what my clients and fellow photo editors say.
If you want to learn how to become a private photo editor, work from anywhere, and build a high-income business on your terms, then read on!
1. “What kind of photo editing services do you offer?”
Unlike the extreme photoshopping or retouching you see in commercial photography, I offer straightforward edits of gorgeous, everyday weddings and portrait sessions like these below:
Or like this style of editing…
Photo editing is essentially a trade skill when you’re editing for others – the photographers have creative control over the style of their images, all the editors have to do is replicate their unique style. In the The Photo Editor’s Guide® (my 3-part online course), I teach students a step-by-step editing method that helps them adopt ANY wedding photographer’s editing style with confidence, speed, and consistency!
2. “How do you make a full time income?”
In the first six months working part-time as a private photo editor, I made $20,500 editing photos on the side while I was still working full-time in my photography business. After those first six months, seeing the earning potential of photo editing firsthand, I stepped away from photography to pursue my photo editing full-time. Six months later, I was able to reach a total of $59,800 for my first year of photo editing.
Now, I make on average $75,000 per year with photo editing – view my 12-month editing income report during a year that my husband and I spent traveling full-time.
There is plenty of work readily available to be outsourced for good photo editors! Although, I’m based in the U.S. I can have clients that are based anywhere — there are thousands of wedding and portrait photographers from around the world in need of outsourced editing. Imagine learning a skill that could expand your potential customer base on a global level.
To put that in reference, I needed 18 clients to reach the full-time income I was looking for.
All I needed was 18 photographer clients out of a global pool of wedding photographers to reach the editing income I wanted.
Want to hear the best part?
The beautiful thing about editing for wedding photographers is the opportunity to maintain a working relationship with them for years to come. This means — no searching for a whole set of new clients every year!
When you cater to wedding photographers and put care into creating an amazing client experience — there is no searching for a whole set of new clients every year!
3. “What Exactly Does a Photo Editor Do?”
Portrait and wedding photographers hire online private photo editors for outsourcing the bulk of their photo editing. To free up more personal time, they turn to photo editing outsourcing. Think of photo editors like virtual assistants, whose 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. Instead, I do relatively basic batch editing to correct color, adjust exposure, and straighten cropping. After I receive an edit job, my client pays an online invoice. Then, I deliver the edited catalog online within a designated turnaround time.
Working as a photo editor is ideal for anyone who:
- has been craving a creativity based career that has a positive impact
- has a keen eye for detail
- enjoys being organized
- can put their creative preferences aside to edit with their client’s style in mind
- is self-motivated and dependable
If you’re not sure if photo editing is a good fit, please sign-up to watch the Photo Editor’s Guide®’s free video training to see if this for you!
4. “How Much Money Do Photo Editors Make?”
Editors charge a per image rate, and you can expect to make $40 to $100+ per hour depending on your set rates and how much work you choose to take on.
When you start in the industry as a new editor with no previous experience, alumni of students of the Photo Editor’s Guide have been able to book clients charing about $0.28-$0.32/image. Then, as you gain more professional experience and positive reviews, you can raise your prices each year.
You can choose to edit part-time with around 2-5 clients per year, earning anywhere from $5k to $15k, or full-time with much higher earning potential. Either way, you get to decide:
- what you want to charge for your services
- what fees you want to charge
- what type of editing you want to provide
- how often you want to accept edits
On average, I make $350-$500+ per edit wedding, and I edit anywhere from 10-30 weddings per month.
The 12 months following my first full year as a photo editor, I made $75k in gross income. Wedding photography editing is highly seasonal; thus, income fluctuates from month to month. If you average out my yearly income into months, that is $6,258/month — view my editing 12-month income report during a time when my husband and I traveled full-time.
It’s important to mention that this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme but a way to learn the skills you need to reasonably profit from them on your terms.
5. “What are the computer & software requirements?”
For the most part, all you need is your laptop! For more info, check out my list of resources and components needed to start your own editing business!
The software that taught in the Guide is the latest version of Adobe Lightroom Classic for Desktop. If you have access to internet, email, and a computer that can run the latest version of Lightroom Classic — you have everything you need to get started.
6. “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 career.
At first, learning and building a business can be overwhelmingly daunting. There seems like a lot of “unknowns” when you don’t have a mentor or a clear path to getting there: “How will I know where and how find my first clients?” “How will I know if I’m ready?” “How do I get over my fear of ‘failing’ in order to take the steps I need to get there?”
Don’t let any self-doubt or fear of not finding any clients and earning an income paralyze you. When you’re considering learning or doing something outside of your comfort zone and you start to spiral into worrying, ask yourself this: “What would my life look like if I made this happen?” “What would it take for me to make this commitment to myself?”
7. “Why Edit Wedding Photography?”
While I’ve edited a wide range of photos, including event, real estate, interior design, family, small business marketing photos, and more, photo editing for portrait and wedding photographers is a skill that is in incredibly high demand all around the globe.
The wedding industry is a 72 billion dollar industry, and In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 2.1 million weddings every year. 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 18 clients! For you, these could be clients in your own country or from all around the world.
Currently, I have edited over 1,000 weddings and I’ve had photographers on a waitlist for a client opening for 2+ years. I am constantly having to send photographers referrals to my fellow editor friends because wedding photographers in this industry really value how working with a private editor improves the wellbeing of their business and personal life.
8. “I already know how to edit — why do I need training to start a photo editing business?”
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 + comprehensive 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 Photo Editor’s Guide. I want all of my members to learn the skills they need to feel confident that they have the knowledge AND the practice under their belts to go out and become an excellent photo editor.
9. “How Many Hours per Week Do Photos Editors Work On Average?”
Wedding photography editing is seasonal, with a slow season from January to June and a busy season from July to December. As an editor with a full-time list of clients, I work 10-15 hours per week during the slow season and anywhere from 20-45 hours per week during the busy season.
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 I aim for $75k per year.
A part-time photo editing career is ideal for:
- stay-at-home moms and dads that have limited time to spend working but want to supplement their income
- anyone that can only work a few of days per week and answer emails on a weekly basis
For people that are looking for part-time or even seasonal work, you could achieve a full-time income of $45,000+ USD working full-time or part-time hours. This can depend on your rate, service quality, and editing efficiency — which are crucial modules I teach in the course training available in the Photo Editor’s Guide.
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.
10. “How Do Beginner or New Photo Editors Find Their First Clients?”
Editors who are struggling to find and keep clients are either lacking training or not implementing critical marketing methods — or both! I teach you the skills you need to attract the clients you want AND keep those clients long-term.
I have a marketing method that attracts photographers and converts their inquiries to a paid editing job. This method is covered extensively in the course modules available to members of the Photo Editor’s Guide.
ONE-THIRD OF THE ENTIRE course training is dedicated to teaching students:
- how to create a brand to attract their ideal client
- how to launch
- how to book leads
- how to KEEP clients (even as a newbie)
Potential clients need to see that you’ve learned and refined your editing skills. Therefore, you must take the proper training to acquire good, consistent editing skills before you market yourself to potential clients.
11. “Would This Be A Good Stay-At-Home Job For Parents?”
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 could vary by season depending on the niche they choose).
Ready to learn more about the Guide and find out if photo editing is a good fit for you?
The Photo Editors Guide is a complete step-by-step online course + community with ongoing support. The training program is designed for busy people to learn at their own pace and is broken down into organized, bite-sized videos so you can squeeze in 15 minutes of training throughout your busy schedule.
Joining the Guide gives you the ability to…
- Learn how to start a photo editing business from home with a “business-in-a-box” step-by-step guide & community
- Become confident in your technical, business, and marketing skills to book your first client
- Learn how to attract and book wedding + portrait photographers you are excited to work with
- Have lifetime access to the education + coursework with a private community of other editors to find support, feedback, and encouragement as you grow
- Become a booked editor FAST, with handy grab-and-go templates + scripts