4 Steps to Becoming a Private Photo Editor - the-jepsons.com

4 Steps to Becoming a Private Photo Editor

Boutique Editing

Imagine this.

You wake up without an alarm. You take your time with breakfast, and brew a cup of coffee during your morning devotional or while reading your favorite book. Then, instead of bundling up or going out in the rain, you take your coffee into your home office, sit down, and open your laptop. Your work day has just begun.

As a private photo editor, I am able to set my own schedule, work wherever my laptop can travel, and still be part of the wedding photography industry that I love SO much. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like, here are 4 stepping stones to becoming a private editor.

#1: Envision your DREAM client.

First, you’ll need to set the tone for your business and who you will be serving. Dream up the perfect client. Is this person male or female (keep in mind that the vast majority of wedding photographers are female!)? How many weddings does she shoot in a given year? 10? 20? How many images does she deliver to her couples per wedding? What does she like to do for fun? Where does she shop? I know this might seem silly, but this will all come in handy in tip number 4. One more thing: Give your ideal client a NAME. For real. This is your grown-up imaginary BFF. Let’s call her Hannah for this example.

#2: Decide on your income goals.

Now that you’ve got your perfect client sitting comfortably in your brain, let’s talk about numbers. What is the magic number you want to hit in your first year of business? Write that down. Now, it’s time to set a price point. We recommend charging per image, as catalogs of images vary in size, and we also recommend that you don’t change that number from year to year. Typically, basic private photo editing ranges from $.30-$.39 per image. Now let’s revisit Hannah. You’ve decided she usually shoots 20 weddings/year and delivers an average of 700 images per wedding. You’ve also decided to charge $.36 per image. That is $252 per wedding, and $5,040 per year, per Hannah. This is the golden question: How many Hannahs do you need to reach your income goal? You’re getting closer! Just beware, there are some mistakes you can make here that could easily cause you unnecessary stress and burn out. See our cheat sheet to avoid five very common newbie mistakes!

#3: Create systems.

Friend, I cannot stress enough the importance of systems. Create a workflow, write it down, and stick to it. You will tweak that system until it is perfect, and then you’ll likely tweak it some more. Just HAVE workflows. You will need a workflow for everything in your business, including a system for on-boarding (bringing on new clients), communication, and editing catalogs. It seems like a lot, and it does take time to set these up, but SHOOT DANG do we love our systems! They save us soooo much stress, and we are consistently trying to make them better to serve our clients the best we can.

#4: Reach out to potential clients.

You are so close to realizing your dream of flexible, from-home work hours! Now is the part where we ask, “What does Hannah want, need, and fear?” She is likely exhausted from all the late-night editing she does, she feels guilty for missing out on the life of her family, and she knows something needs to change. It’s time to find some Hannahs. You likely already follow them on social media sites, and if you don’t, now is the time to start. Engage with them (without mentioning private editing…yet), encourage them if they’re struggling. Be a PERSON, and be YOU. And you know what? When you send them an email, they might just be ready to hear from you.

If you’d like to learn even more, click below to grab our cheat sheet that will let you in on the 5 biggest mistakes newbie editors make when they first get started. Trust me, we’ve learned a thing or two and we wouldn’t want you to make the same mistakes!

  1. Becka says:

    Great post! Just wondering if there are any editing programs you’d recommend?

  2. Meagan Jepson says:

    Hi Becka! Definitely Lightroom. 🙂

  3. Erika says:

    My name is Erika. I just found out about photo editing as a job and I’m very interested! However, I’m curious how important and necessary it is aquire a degree in photography, visual communication, or graphic design before putting myself out there. I do have a little experience in Lightroom and other photo editing apps. I’ve been an avid photo editor on my own accord since I was a teen and think that this would be a really exciting career path for me.

    Thank you!

  4. Nathon says:

    Some Tips to Convert a Clients
    Cause I’ve been struggling a lot, when it comes to finding them and they are too afraid to send me a catalogue for test edit

  5. Aimee says:

    Hi im trying to get the 5 mistakes editors make cheat sheet but the page is broken. Can you help? Thanks!

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