Useful Photography Tip #15: Outsourcing Tasks To Improve Your Photography Business

Bridal portrait on the beach in Maui
Bridal portrait on the beach in Maui

Bridal portrait on the beach in Maui, Hawaii

Anyone who has run a successful photography business can tell you that being successful is 80% business and 20% photography. I know when I first started out that the biggest time block was spent in editing. And all that time editing is completely wasted because I don’t get paid any more for spending more time editing. So the less time I can spend processing my images, the more time I can invest where it matters.

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Most photographers get paid by job or by hour. But what about the processing? That’s on you. Every minute you spend processing your images is a minute you can’t spend marketing yourself, improving your craft or enjoying life with friends and family. Time is your limiting factor in a photography business.

You Are Your Product

Furthermore, what is your product? It is you. Anyone can sell your images, but only you can sell you. If you are a wedding photographer, the bride wants to know who is going to follow her around all day. She wants to know you. Having a great portfolio is awesome, but a great portfolio is not going to sell you as much as you can. Millions of people can create a great image. But millions of people aren’t you. Photography is a total package deal, and that is why you need to sell both your craft and your personality.

The solution to having more time in front of clients, more time with friends and family and more time to shoot and improve your craft is to outsource. While outsourcing is an added an expense, it frees you up to do the things that make you money.

Wait. What about…?

The main objections I have heard to outsourcing your processing are:

1. I don’t want to spend the money!

and

2. I want my images to retain my vision through the editing process.

As far as money goes, it all comes down to the cost to you of your time. Could I change my own oil? Absolutely. It would probably take me an hour and I’d save about $10 over what the gas station charges me. But my hour is more valuable than $10, so I have them change it for me while I play Angry Birds. See, I didn’t waste that hour.

The same goes for processing. When I first started processing, it must have spend 80-90 hours selecting, color correcting, cropping files. It doesn’t take me near as long to process any more – partly because I am quicker at processing and partly because I am more accurate at shooting. Had there been a place where I could upload my files for $.30 each, about the going rate, I would have jumped on it. If 1000 files took me 80 hours, I was basically making $3.75/hour at a $.30/file rate.

Retaining your vision through outsourced processing is all about having the right person processing. The best service I have found is Night Owl Post Processing. They will customize your images to your look. If you primarily use a couple presets, they will use that for your images. However, it may take a while to find the right service for you. Most outsourcing services will process a few files for you so you can find the service that does it how you like. The hidden bonus could be that you find a company might do a better job processing than you do.

Conclusion

Outsourcing can be a really great way to free up time for yourself to grow as a photographer, sell yourself to future clients and just enjoy life. Outsourcing the tedious jobs you do not enjoy can bring the fun and excitement back into your business, because it will give you more time to spend doing the things you really enjoy.

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