Are you feeling like your business runs you? Are you a slave to your to-do-list – constantly with a mile long editing list looming over your head? Do you want to go do things with your friends… family…. your spouse… or maybe hang out with your kids more, but always have this guilt hanging over you because clients are waiting on their images?! Today’s post is for you!! (And these people below are why I feel so strongly about this. :))
Okay – friends – it’s time for a little tough love here today. So here we go …
I honestly cannot believe there are still professional photographers who do ALL of their own editing (especially wedding photographers who have a LOT of images to go through weekly). If you are doing this full-time and have a full schedule with numerous shoots every week and one or two weddings every weekend – there is no way you can work a manageable amount of hours between shooting days to keep up with the amount of editing that workload requires.
Just for an example – on a standard wedding day we shoot around 2,000 – 3,000 images depending on the day, cull those down to the best of the best, and deliver on average 750-1000 images. For a typical session we shoot anywhere from 500-700 images and deliver on average 50-100+ images. That means during busy season we are delivering to our various clients on average anywhere from 900 (on the very rare low end) to 2,300 images PER WEEK.
When you figure in the time we also spend during the week in the office managing client communications, building wedding day timelines, taking meetings & calls for new clients, writing and posting blogs, running social media, (hopefully) dreaming & setting goals/bringing in new business, AND keeping up with budgeting/taxes/and all that other fun business stuff…. you don’t have a whole lot of time for an actual LIFE if you are trying to do it all.
I know photographers who when I ask how on earth they shoot as much as they do and still edit all their own images their answer is: “We don’t sleep.”
Hmmm. (Insert that confused emoji face here. haha)
Aside from that being completely unsustainable over the long term, and sooo not good for you – as a client – I’d much rather have a photographer working for me who is balanced, rested, and not completely burned out from running their own business, than one who is constantly up all night just trying to churn out edits on one. more. session.
Also, just from a business perspective- if you are constantly busy just trying to keep up with the “busy work” like editing, you don’t have any other time to really work on BUILDING your business. Not to mention the obvious – you also don’t have as much time to get out there and keep shooting (i.e. bringing in more money)! Instead, you are constantly just in “maintaining mode.” And that is no way to run a thriving business!!
Sorry if this sounds a little harsh. I’m just putting out my tough love here, because truly – I needed tough love 5 years ago when we first started outsourcing too!!
Back when we first started our business 9 years ago – I did all of our own editing and I was a total Type-A control freak about it. I mean… “Don’t come near my computer, you have no idea how I make this magic happen – I am the only person who can get it to look just this way!!” kind of crazy. haha. The truth is, love, you are not THAT special. (Sorry.) And, yes, someone else can make that happen. And yes, they can probably do it faster than you. And if you paid them to do it you could make more money getting out and shooting instead of being a slave to your editing at your computer all day. Or – lightbulb moment – you could spend that time with your loved ones instead, or doing something that helps fill your cup up instead of drains you (like go for a walk, play with your dog, go on a date with your spouse, and … I don’t know… maybe actually sleep once in a while). 😉 (And in our case – we are only able to have so much time together as a family with our 18 month old boys because we outsource!)
But it wasn’t always this way!!
I hit a breaking point in 2012 where after constant nights up until 3am trying to keep up with our editing load, I realized something had to change. (James may have told me something needed to change months prior to that – but I wasn’t so good at listening right away.) And so I started looking into editing companies. I tried a couple and was not impressed. They had slow systems for their process so I wasn’t even getting edits back quickly, and the edits I got back did not look like our work at all.
Then I found Fotofafa and decided to give them a try. I was desperate and hoping this would finally work for me. Lucky for me, it did! The awesome thing about Fotofafa is that they create profiles for each client where you let them know exactly how you like your images to look – what to do, what not to do, and can send them presets to have on file for you too if you use any regularly. You can send them samples with each gallery you submit so they can work to match those samples on the remainder of the edits AND on top of that – still send you samples to approve to make sure they are on track with their edits. All of this is done in a seamless online system and your images are returned to you within days.
Then when we receive our images back – I export them and do a double check to make sure the full gallery is up to par with our level of editing and customer service. (At this point they’ve gotten our look down so well that I rarely have to fix anything and if I do – it is just a few images that I’m probably being a little Type A about… (but hey – it’s still better than what I used to do! haha)). Then we upload them to our online gallery and deliver them to our clients!
I’m going to go into much more depth about how exactly our outsourcing process works from start to finish (shooting to client delivery) in a Facebook Live this coming Tuesday at noon central time – so make sure to tune in to see the process from start to finish and ask me any questions you have!! The good thing about Facebook Live is that it stays posted on our wall there, so if you miss the live version – you can still watch back!
And for those who are already ready to make the leap and try outsourcing for themselves – here is a code that Fotofafa gave me to share with you guys!!
I hope to see you guys, Tuesday, October 10th at 12:00pm central time here: https://www.facebook.com/ChristyTylerPhotography/
And if you have any specific questions you already know you want me to address in the Facebook live – please message me or leave them in the comments below!! We’ll see you there! 🙂