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Why Photographers Outsource (and what it says about their business)

In talking with photographers about post-production work over the past few years, I’ve found that there are three primary reasons for outsourcing this work. What’s more, the reasons for doing so evolve over time and are often indicative of the photographer’s business maturity.

See if any of these reasons resonate with you.

“I’m so busy I will never get all this work done….what was I thinking?.….my clients will kill me….so will my family & friends, if I have any left. Heck, I’ll be happy if I just live through this…I can’t answer another ‘where are my images?’ question. HELP!”

We tend see more of these cases as the photography season advances. There were good intentions to get acquainted with an editor earlier, but there wasn’t that much work then and the photographer did it all. Now things have backed up and clients are getting frustrated.

This is where outsourcing post-production work can be a life saver, but it’s also a less than ideal time to be breaking in a new service. Post-production, done right, is a process where an editor learns the photographer’s style and produces images that match it.

But when the job is already late to begin with, the process becomes rushed and expectations may become out of whack with reality. For this reason, we always suggest getting set up with your editor before the stuff hits the fan.

“There are some things I’m just not very good at, so I get help with those. The rest I can take care of myself.”  

Getting closer, but why stop there? Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it’s worth spending your time on.

A photographer doing post-production is called an opportunity cost, as the time spent doing that work is time not spent on other opportunities. Growing a business is about creating opportunities, and that can’t be done by sitting in front of Lightroom and Photoshop. Opportunities are created by getting out in the world and selling what it is that your clients are buying – you.

“I have decided that I only have so much time in my life, so I’m going to prioritize what I do and what I pay others to do for me. Post-production work is something I have decided to outsource because it will help my business.”

Now we’re talking. This is a photographer that understands themselves and their business. They know that part of prioritizing one’s time is to clearly define the processes that make up the business – sales & marketing, post-production, etc. – and decide which to keep and which to outsource.

This photographer also knows the importance of having realistic expectations about what can and can’t be done by an editor, even a professional one. Post-production is only one piece of the larger process, and the photographer has to get all the preceding parts right in order to get great images at the end.

Having said that, a photographer should expect that any outsourced post-production work be done professionally and returned on a timely basis. They should also expect to pay a reasonable price for such services. As with any service, the results have to justify the costs – direct and opportunity.

A rapidly increasing number of photographers are beginning to prioritize post-production as one of those things that make sense to outsource. Yes, it often requires them to refine their workflows and properly set their expectations, but the end result is a more effective use of time which means more time to get out and do more business. And that’s a good thing.

About the Author

Post is a team of skilled artists and business pros who help busy wedding, event, and portrait photographers by offering industry-leading color correction, retouching and album design services. They’ve made the process easy so photographers can get back to their business and their clients. Here’s an overview of how Post works!

The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!