People ask me all the time: “HOW DO YOU KEEP UP?!” Most of the time, I just answer that I have no clue, and friends, how true that is. The only thing I can think of is that we don’t have kids yet, so somehow I manage to find time to do the million things on my to-do list. One of my biggest goals this year to alleviate some of those to-dos was to outsource as much as I can: I have task-management systems that help me keep things organized, financial dashboards that keep track of payments and expenses for me, and friends…I hired an EDITOR. (Cue the confetti.)
I can’t even begin to describe how this has transformed my business. Editing is such a time-sucker and such a stresser in my life. I have editing lists MILES long (ok, not miles…but lists that take up the front and back of a piece of computer paper every month). When I tell people I hired an editor, they always have so many questions, so I thought I would answer those for you right here.
But FIRST—Meet Mandy.
She is a military wife with a crazy cute (crazy and cute) lab, who loves the outdoors. And she is an actual editing wizard. I really don’t know how she does it, but I think she is a real-life wizard. She edits for a large number of photographers and manages to stay sane, keep to deadlines, AND match each and every photographer’s individual and unique style. She’s also a wedding photographer, and you can find more of her life + work here and here.
1. If she’s editing for you, doesn’t that mean it’s her work/style and not yours?
This is the number one question I get asked, and the number 1 question/hesitation I had before hiring an editor. I interviewed/spoke with so many people before hiring Mandy, and I ended up choosing her because she made it so clear that I needed to have a defined style before she would want to edit for me. (How great is that?!) She ensured me that she could match my specific style, and proved it to me (by editing a few test images) before I ever had to pay her money.
TIP: Here’s the trick to making sure it’s my style and not hers (especially the first few times before she really had a handle on my style): ANCHOR IMAGES. Skip down to number 5 and I’ll explain more! The biggest way to make sure your style is being matched accurately is to hire a good editor.
2. Isn’t hiring an editor expensive?
Expensive compared to what? Spending money from my business account is always scary, but knowing that the money I’m spending is giving me more time to do the things I love and that can actually grow the business always makes it worth it. I have saved SO MANY hours by having her edit my weddings for me.
FUN FACT: Most editors charge per image. Some editors cull and edit, while others just edit.
3. Does she work in your office?
She does not work in my office. She actually works out of state from me, and because she’s a military wife, she moves often. We had a Skype meeting before I hired her to make sure she wasn’t a crazy person trying to steal my money (turns out she’s legit), and everything else is done online too. (Thank you DropBox and Smart Previews!) I talk more about the process in number 5!
4. How long does it take her to edit?
This girl is a crazy beast, and her turnaround time is 5-7 days. It varies from editor to editor, but Mandy is super fast, and is so good at meeting her deadlines (seriously, she’s impressive).
NOTE: This doesn’t necessarily mean my wedding turnaround time is 5-7 days. Before weddings are sent to her, I have to back up the images, cull the images, and then get the gallery ready for her, which takes a few days. Then after she sends them back, I have to review the edits and export/rename each image and upload them to your gallery. HOWEVER, because Mandy is so awesome and so fast, I have lowered my average turnaround time from 6 weeks in 2016 to 3 weeks in 2017, and I’m hoping to continue to make that average quicker!
5. How does the process work?
After a wedding, I back up all of the images and then I sit down to cull them (this means go through them and delete any duplicates or lighting test images). I then open them up in Lightroom and edit my anchor images. As I mentioned in question 1, anchor images are important for letting your editor know what you want your edits to look like in different lighting situations. Editing anchor images means that I go through and edit a few images from each part of the wedding day for Mandy to use as an “anchor” for editing the rest of the images from that point in the day. This is helpful because the lighting can be so crazy on a wedding day and it lets her know exactly how I want the images edited. After I edit my anchor images, I upload the catalog to DropBox, she downloads it, edits the entire wedding, and then DropBoxes it back to me. Voilà—Magic!
FUN FACT: Mandy doesn’t edit all of my sessions; She only edits my weddings. You will never know a difference between the images I have edited and the ones she has edited. (I’ll say it again–she is such a great editor!)
Are there any questions I missed about hiring an editor? Leave them in the comments below, and I’d be happy to answer them!
Most of the time when Mandy sends back edits from a wedding, I post the edit imports on my Instagram story. Want to see? Follow along here.
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