Let’s be real…
Let’s be real, the flexibility of being able to work from home is great — but good opportunities are hard to come by. You’re probably considering learning a skill that you can turn into a service that you can offer in an online business — that you don’t have to go back to school for.
Now, this might not be for everyone — but, what if I told you that I made $75,000 last year editing wedding photos for photographers all around the world?
Yes — an online photo editor for wedding and portrait photographers!
Right? It sounds glamorous and made up, I know.
Well, it’s neither of those! Wedding and portrait photographers around the globe are outsourcing their editing for their photographer to private photo editors.
It was hard work to get started, but once the ball was rolling this business changed my entire life.
No, you don’t need fancy certification or a degree. Becoming a photo editor is a skill that you can learn at home, on your own time, and at your own pace.
Wondering if you have the potential to become an online private photo editor? In today’s post I’ll share how to become a photo editor and work from home or from anywhere!
(And of course, I’ll be sharing more information on The Photo Editor’s Guide)
1. “What kind of ‘Photo Editing’ are we talking about?”
No, not the extreme Photoshopping or retouching you see in commercial photography — I’m talking about really straightforward edits of gorgeous, ever-day weddings like this one:
Even as a photographer, I wasn’t fully aware that people were making a living editing photos for wedding photographers. To me, it seemed like a rare service that wasn’t in demand — Wow, was I wrong.
After I found out that a friend of mine was making $70k+ a year working from home as a boutique private photo editor — I dove into photo editing industry and learned everything I could.
There is plenty of work readily available to be outsourced for good photo editors! Although, I’m based in the U.S. a handful of my clients are from countries all over the world. Imagine learning a skill that could expand your potential customer base on a global level.
To put that in reference, I needed 20 clients to reach the full-time income I was looking for.
All I needed was 20 photographer clients out of a global pool of wedding photographers to reach the income I wanted.
(Did you know wedding photographers hire other photographers to help them shoot weddings + events? This is the same concept. Editors help them edit… and editing weddings is truly extremely difficult if you take the time to learn!)
Photo editing is essentially a trade skill when you’re editing for others (the photographers have creative control, all the editors have to do is replicate their style). Yes, while photo editing can be subjective, you CAN learn a client’s specific editing style that you will replicate for them when you edit their work – THIS is the technique that I teach.
In the Guide, I teach students a step-by-step editing method that helps them approach learning ANY wedding photographer’s editing style with confidence! The method you learn in the Photo Editor’s Guide will give you the workflow tools to confidently take on new clients and learn their unique style quickly!
2. “How did you make full-time income with photo editing?”
Although I was grateful to have built a six figure wedding photography business, it completely burned me out after only four years. Wedding/shoot locations ruled my entire life and schedule; every weekend and most evenings were booked.
Even though I had created a “successful” photography business, I knew that it simply demanded more time that I had to give.
I was ready for more freedom and much more down time. I wanted to spend more time at home and with my family. Eager to make a transition to something that would better suit me, I very quickly created my photo editing business.
In the first six months of my part-time photo editing business 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 – view my 12-month editing income report during a year that my husband and I spent traveling full-time.
Now I want to help others discover that path to flexibility too.
I’m sure there are so many people out there that have the potential to be a great photo editor, they just need the right guidance and resources to show them the way.
3. “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 life, at home or growing other aspects of their business. 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. 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 life, at home or growing other aspects of their business. 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.
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 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, please sign-up to watch the free video training to see if this for you! You’ll also receive our current enrollment information, testimonials, FAQ’s, and payment plan options!
4. “What are the computer & software requirements?”
The software that taught in the Guide is Adobe Lightroom Classic. If you have access to internet, email, and Lightroom Classic — you have everything you need to get started.
5. “What Type of Person Has the Potential to Become a Good Photo Editor?”
People that become great photo editors have an eye for detail enjoy being organized! 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 edit their client’s photos with their client’s style in mind.
A photo editor is basically a member of their team, virtually hopping on their computer, editing their photos just like they would!
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 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.
Before I even set up the systems + operations of my business I was paralyzed with the fear of “what if I don’t find clients?” I made the mistake of worrying about the outcome 10 steps ahead instead of focusing on the step I was on.
Worrying isn’t working. Instead of worrying, work!
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.
7. “How Much Can You Make Working From Home Editing Photos as a Photo Editor?” “How much do photo editor’s make?”
Although I get these questions really often, it’s like asking how much photographers make — it varies based on their rates and how much work they choose to take on.
To summarize: 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 can make anywhere from $40-$100+ per hour. This can vary based on their service rate and speed.
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 $300-$425 per edit job and I edit anywhere from 10-30 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 a wide variety of income that they choose. Whether that’s $500 or $2,000+ per month.
Editing income is not all made equal — just like any freelance business (or any other job for that matter), if you’re completely new to the job/business that requires a skilled service you’re going to probably earn an “entry-level” income. Typically photo editors that are new to the industry charge around $0.25/image. Also just like any other job, there is room for growth: as you gain more skilled experience and positive reviews you can raise your prices each year.
Although I have $75k in yearly revenue, I have years of background experience and client testimonials. But, I do want you to understand that everyone starts from somewhere – the question is: are you willing to work towards a goal?
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.
I made a supplemental income of $20,500 editing part-time 15-20 hours per week in my first six months while I worked full-time in my wedding photography business.
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 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 — This is a way to learn the skills you need to reasonably profit from them on your own terms.
8. “Why 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 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 17 clients, I currently have 20. 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!
There are other businesses that I’ve edited for that doesn’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.
9. “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.
10. “How Many Hours per Week Do Photos Editors Work On Average?”
Since I focus on wedding photography editing, there is a slower season and 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 I aim for $75k per year. These are my preferences.
For people that are looking for part-time or even seasonal work, you could achieve a full-time income of $45,000 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.
11. “How Do Beginner or New Photo Editors Find Their 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.
ONE THIRD OF THE ENTIRE course training is dedicated to teaching Guide students how to create a brand to attract their ideal client, how to launch, how to book leads, and how to KEEP clients (even as a newbie). 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 course modules available to members of 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!
12. “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?
JOINING THE GUIDE EMPOWERS YOU TO…
- Feel confident in your technical, business, and marketing skills to feel ready to book your first clients as a private photo editor
- 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
LEARN THE SKILLS + BUSINESS FOUNDATION YOU NEED TO BECOME A PROFITABLE PHOTO EDITOR, SO YOU CAN WORK FROM ANYWHERE.
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!