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Everything you need to know: How to outsource wedding post production.

Hello from San Diego!

If this is your first time visiting with us, surely you have some questions about how to outsource your wedding post production. It’s not easy- we know, but we do hope you’ll at least send us some samples to understand how we can best serve you.

So let’s walk through the mindset and mechanics of getting started with Essential Edit!

///// 1) There’s only one YOU in the universe. 

The first thing you need to know: We’ve got your back! But this will be an exercise in letting go!

We will do our absolute best to establish a clean and consistent edit all within your preferences. However, there will always be a difference in how you edit and how we edit.

Our most successful clients trust us with the first pass on color, getting every image up to its best potential with global edits for Exposure, Contrast, White Balance, etc. Basically- everything in the Basic panel in Lightroom.

From there they take our catalog, find their favorites and spend some time creatively tweaking those images before sending to the client.

They often report that since we have carried the heaviest part of the workload, they feel more excited, more creative and eager to edit that smaller number of “money shots.”

///// 2) There are two ways to get started:

  1. Send in a dozen sample images for us to process for free. Your feedback builds your personal style guide that will travel with future orders.
  2. Send in your first order. We’ll pull 20 images, process, and post for your review. Once we get the green light, we will move forward and complete the order.

///// 3) Decide: are you a Master Catalog or Single Catalog user?

You may choose to manage your Lightroom Catalog either way:

Each has their pros & cons and work just fine within the outsource ecosystem. But the advantage of using Lightroom 5 or Lightroom CC is the use of Smart Previews, which make sending & receiving files swift and tidy!

///// 4) We only bill you once we deliver your files. 

That’s right! Send us your first order, we deliver to your specs and then we send you a link to your invoice.

We want to earn your trust and this is one way our clients have appreciated the chance to review our work.

Once you’re ready, your invoice can be paid online with Visa, MC, Amex or PayPal. Most of our happy clients will leave a credit card on file with us just like you would with your print lab. That way it’s one less thing for you to worry about.

///// 5) Did we miss the mark?

Hey, we’re amazing, but we’re not perfect! 😉

You might get an order back and feel we could have done better.

First, you should know that we are always eager to redo your work if we have missed the mark.

Just shoot us an email with a couple of screenshots to let us know what you’re seeing! Your order will go to the front of the line and will be delivered in about 24hrs.

But the difference may be so slight that you can use the Quick Develop module to make the fix in a matter of seconds!

If you come across a section that is too Bright/Dark, Warm/Cool, Contrasty, etc. you can fix it in bulk, without messing up the settings we made to your files. 

Just go to the Library module, I like to hit “G: on the keyboard to go into “Grid” mode. 

Select the images you want to adjust. 

On the right-hand side, you’ll see all the controls you’d usually see in the Develop module. The only difference is these are buttons instead of sliders. 

outsource wedding post production

When you click the single arrow, it adjusts all settings *relative to their current settings.*

When you click the double arrow, it adjusts in greater increments.

Remember, even if they have different values, it just bumps them up or down, relative to their current settings. 

This makes it quick and easy to adjust all in a certain direction without having to go one by one or sending the job back to us and waiting another day. 

We hope this guide helps you understand the process of outsourcing your wedding post production a little better!

How was WPPI 2017?

WPPI 2017: how was it?

FULL OF CHANGE.

If you’ve been to WPPI in the last few years you likely dialed in a pretty solid routine at the MGM. This year the show was at the other end of the strip at the Las Vegas Convention Center and everything felt different!

I hosted a round table discussion about all things WPPI 2017 and we covered everything- using the WPPI app, finding food, networking, vendors, classes and everything in between!

In short, there were things to like about the new location, but it also felt quite removed from the strip. Being the first year at this location, there wasn’t a local meetup place where we could just “bump into” the photographers we know and love.

However, the trade show hall was unified instead of in two rooms, seemingly brighter and cleaner than at the MGM.

If you went to WPPI, drop a comment below to tell us your thoughts!

———

A huge thank you to my guests for their time and insight on WWPI 2017:

Heather Ball from Blossom and Bloom Photography

Julie Ferneau of Julie Ferneau Photography  and the Photospark Podcast

Sage Justice from Justice Photography

 

 

Show notes:

—————————————————————

4:30 Skipping classes at WPPI to network?

8:32 Was WPPI aimed at newer photographers?

10:00 How changes affected eating and networking.

11:55 Meeting vendors this year.

16:00 Meeting Paris Hilton.

18:50 Going to WPPI for the first time.

20:15 Things don’t go according to the plan!

23:40 How to survive WPPI. Party nap?

25:00 Pre-game preparations for WPPI.

29:28 Who had the best trade show booth?

Mentioned: VISION ART, 17hats, Richard Photo Lab

32:20 Were booth sizes smaller? Less vendors?

34:00 Making real connections at WPPI in a sales environment.

37:20 Each of us rate this show and summarize what we liked & didn’t like.

50:10 Will WPPI relocate next year?

Any wedding photographer will tell you: Even with the best computer you always wish that you could edit faster in Lightroom!

In fact, I think that everyone wishes they could edit faster in Lightroom, no matter what you’re shooting!

This is true, right?

The moment you get the fastest computer available Lightroom gets an update with more features (that require more computing power).

The moment you have both the fastest computer AND fastest version of Lightroom, you buy a new camera with MASSIVE Raw files.

The cycle never ends.

Smart Previews have been a total lifesaver when you want to outsource your wedding post production.

But did you know there was recently a feature released in Lightroom CC  that allows you to leverage Smart Previews to make editing swift and snappy at home?
edit faster in lightroom update

Once you run your Adobe Creative Cloud update and launch Lightroom, you will see the screen below. Note the middle point:

Smart Previews are smaller versions of your original images and can sometimes provide faster performance in the Develop module. Check out the Performance Preferences to learn more. 

edit faster in lightroom 1

Fabulous! Let’s dive into the Preferences!

Here we find the checkbox to always “Use Smart Previews Instead of Originals for image editing.”

With a note that says:

“This will allow increased performance, but may display decreased quality while editing. Final output will remain full size/quality.”

edit faster in lightroom 2

Now, of course, when you send your orders to us we use Smart Previews to edit. This feature has been around for a while.

(And we’ve never really noticed a “decreased quality while editing.” So proceed without hesitation!)

The difference is that now when you receive your edited Lightroom Catalog from us you can do your final cropping or creative treatments FASTER in Lightroom simply because it will be looking to the small versions instead of the full sized 40MB Raw files.

This will also be HUGE for those of you who prefer to do your culling inside Lightroom. That means it won’t take 3 seconds for Lightroom to load the next image. 😉

Hopefully, this one simple trick will help you edit faster in Lightroom so you can get back to what you love- SHOOTING!

Our New Look

When I go shoe shopping I realize just how shabby my old kicks are.

The comparison is so striking between a new and old pair.

37ca4a9e-65fc-48de-b483-c06bb9f902c6
If it’s appropriate, I’ll often wear the new shoes right out of the building once I pay for them!

That’s how I feel about our new identity, crafted by an exceptional local designer, Kai Diaz.


It’s important that our brand identity illustrates the deepest levels of our philosophy when it comes to editing photos.

I think this redesign nails it.

So the and new logo goes like this…

It’s a 3D box.

foundation2

 

We’ve long talked about how we build a foundation for all editing with four essential points that we focus on:

1) White Point
2) Black Point
3) Mid Tones
4) White Balance
A strong home is built upon a solid foundation first.

The cabinets and furniture are selected later.

We do the exact same with your images and start with a good foundation.

From there we can move in any direction, illustrated by the intersecting lines in the center.

 

853caa67-6240-4f92-8a83-2485fedd3541

 

Warmer, Cooler?
Darker, Brighter?
More/Less Contrasty?

You bet.
It was also deliberate to go black & white and stay minimal as a way to communicate:

“here’s our editing structure,
now let’s customize and build on top of it.”
Will this identity change anything for you?

Nope- same awesome goodness.

But for us, this feels like walking into a party with our best suit on!

Thanks for partying with us, friends!

Sending an order to Essential Edit: The Finer Details

Just like you, we are constantly refining our internal workflow!

The goal?

To become more efficient and accurate.

We have identified one little thing YOU CAN DO to help us out:

FILE NAMES!

(Exciting, right?)

If you’re reading this, you’re looking to send an order to Essential Edit and hopefully you’ve already read our tutorial on how to set up your Lightroom Catalog and Smart Previews!

Here’s our request- when submitting orders, please do three easy things:

  1. Create a new folder for your files.
  2. Name your folder with a specific format.
  3. Zip your folder.

Model Citizen Emily

Take for example, Emily Gutman– a model citizen who always sends her orders this way and never has missing, incomplete or corrupted files when she sends her orders.

Emily follows our guidelines:

Sending an order to Essential Edit

FORMULA:

  • First letter of your first name
  • Last name
  • Underscore
  • Order reference name

When it comes to references names, we suggest making it the name or names of your client, or date of the event.

The goal is that it’s something *unique* that we can refer to. Keep them short and always make sure it matches the reference name you entered on your order form.
Managing tens of thousands of files each day is a big task and these tiny details really help us more than you can imagine!

Thanks so much- do be in touch if you have any questions!

-Leon


Other related articles on sending an order to Essential Edit:

Practical Hustle: How one photographer built her client base and actually grew her business during the slow season.

 

Every professional photographer goes through the peaks and valleys of the seasons. Especially wedding photographers- it’s easy to go from “balling” to “broke” in a matter of days.

So how do you even out those highs and lows? How do you grow your photography business and make it profitable in the slow season?

Recently I opened up our blog to anyone who wants to write- about anything.

Julie answered the call and I thought her fresh perspective on this very topic is really inspiring. I hope you find some inspiration in reading her story, one that is still in progress!

-Leon


Tips to grow your photography business

The following is a guest post by Julie Templin.

Julie is a sentimental photographer for warmhearted and spunky families in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

She is in her third year of business and loves the challenge of balancing work and motherhood. She enjoys cooking, gardening, reading with her three kids and outdoor family activities.

 

 

 


My journey as a full time family portrait photographer began in 2013 and I quickly realized: there are many days where I am working hard but not making money. Sound familiar?

Over the cold and rainy months it is so tempting to for me to isolate, clean my office or buy a few new CreativeLive classes…


Being visible and giving back

As 2016 began, I chose to get out of my comfort zone. What I want to tell you is that every single effort has reaped some awesome reward, both personal and business related.

I knew that in order to build my client base, I needed to be meeting more of my ideal clients.

No matter who we want to work with we need to have a presence where they hang out, eat, shop and do their errands.

Last fall I did a few drawings for free portraits at a local hair salon for kids. I started with putting a photo book and some canvases in the shop. This got me a few new clients but then I decided to try something else.

I did two different drawings for mini sessions asking people to sign up for my mailing list to enter.

Over 100 people entered.

The winners have already booked me for something else and referred me to their friends.

For Valentine’s Day and Easter I set up a backdrop and lighting and offered complimentary pictures with hair cuts at the same popular kids salon. I picked two evenings and a Saturday before each holiday and spent several hours meeting moms and dads with kids who had just had their hair cut. All together I probably photographed 90 kids.

Initially I thought I would mostly see families from my kids’ school and our neighboring elementary school but that was not the case.

I met only two new families from our local schools but everyone else was from surrounding areas. If that was all I learned while doing this experiment, I found it valuable information.

It taught me that there are plenty of families out there for me to photograph and potential clients galore. I would love to have one family per week on my schedule and this was encouraging!

This also made me realize I don’t need to reach out to larger cities 30 miles away to get more clients. These potential clients are 5-10 minutes away and are already visiting businesses in my neighborhood- including one that I already partner with.

(Hmmm, what else can I do for and with this partner?)

Doing this gave me great exposure to lots of families in a relatively short amount of time that I would have not met otherwise. It was a great experience for everyone.

Quick inventory on this experiment:

  • The families were pleasantly surprised it didn’t cost anything
  • They got to see how I interact with their children first hand
  • They experienced my customer service
  • Each got a custom Sticky Album with a few of my favorite images of their kids which included my logo and every possible way to contact me by website, email or phone.

Many of these parents signed up for my mailing list to receive my monthly newsletter and have actually booked spring mini-sessions. Now they are part of my tribe!

They are the first ring outside my core friends, family, previously known acquaintances. How exciting!


Sharing Ideal Clients

I also knew that meeting other business owners who have similar ideal clients would be mutually beneficial.

Since blogging is important to me, my goal has been to blog every week no matter what. I alternate between offering helpful info & tips or feature sessions as I have them. It can be harder to get through spring blogging because it is my slow time.

I decided that in May I was going to get out there and find four inspirational business moms to blog about. 

I started with a Chiropractor in my neighborhood, Dr. Brooke Coates. I have always respected Dr. Coates for how she lives life to the fullest, is happy, healthy and takes great care of herself and family.

Tips to grow your photography business

Dr. Brooke Coates

When I went to interview her, I was so inspired by what she does in her practice.

I had no idea.

It is of course about necks, backs and healing, but so much more.

She teaches, gives samples, recipes, promotes healthy lifestyle and is really interested in balance between the mind/body/spirit. She works with all kinds of clients but is also passionate about inspiring moms and helping them get healthy and live their best lives.

A few days after my blog post went live about Dr. Coates, I received an email from Shaunna who owns the fitness studio where Dr. Coates works out. She was super complimentary about my post and Brooke.

Tips to grow your photography business

Shaunna

Shaunna invited me over to see what they did and I absolutely loved their studio. I have been working out there ever since. She and Dr. Coates have totally pulled me out of my fitness and injury slump are helping me to become a better mom and version of myself.

I featured Shaunna and her fitness studio in another blog post in May and she of course shared it with her clients which was fabulous because her ideal client is my ideal client!

I also blogged about Teresa, who developed a pure skin product line because her daughter had reactions to organic and natural products as a baby. I just completed a family session for Teresa and she is going to be a great advocate for me. We also share very similar ideal clients.

Tips to grow your photography business

Teresa

The four of us have formed a “Moms in Business” group to support, challenge and keep each other accountable.

My community is learning about my desire and commitment to serve families.

Through this experiment, I have many new friends and have gained followers who are now telling their family, friends and co-workers about me.


This is the good stuff…

We can all get stuck in the day to day necessary tasks, but we need to be thinking about and working on future possibilities too.

Sometimes as a photographer I like to hide and get a bunch of work done. It is comfortable for me.

However, right now I am focused on relationships, getting the word out about my brand and telling myself that having a perfectly organized office is overrated. 

In summary, here are a few things you can do to maximize your down time and grow your photography business, even in the slow season. They are working for me and I hope they work for you too. 

  1. Find ways to interact with your ideal client.
  2. Meet other small business owners in your area who have similar ideal clients.
  3. Figure out a personal way to get your work in front of potential new clients.
  4. Plan an event so people can experience you and your service. No strings attached.
  5. Work on building your mailing list with people who could be ideal clients.

If you don’t have any active clients, get out in the community and find someone to partner with! If you don’t have anything to blog about go find someone inspiring that deserves a bit of publicity. Photograph them and write about their story.

You will both win!

business books for photographers

Leon’s list of Top 5 Business Books for Photographers. (With honorable mentions.)

I’ll be up front: None of these books are technically “business books for photographers.” They are simply books on business, marketing and customer service!

However, I still think this collection of books will help anyone in the photography business, as the concepts simply revolve around the interaction of business, creativity and profit!

This list happens to be the 5 that I feel have influenced me the most. If my house was on fire, I would grab these books first!

In NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

1) Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Clever, minimal and provocative. This book challenges the norm with topics like:

  • Meetings are Toxic
  • Good Enough is Fine
  • Say No by Default

More like a collection of short blog posts, this is a quick read and I pretty much have highlights or underlines on every single page.

2) Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon McKenzie

ULTRA-CREATIVE! The “hairball” symbolizes the corporate machine and how we as ultra-creatives can still orbit, function and contribute within that organization without getting caught up in the messiness.

Now as a professional wedding or portrait photographer you might not think this applies, since you’re not governed by the machine or “the man.” However, this book brings a fantastic freedom to be creative, to own your artistry and how to do so within the context of running a profitable business.

I have gifted this book and given my own copies too many times to count. Sadly, I don’t even have a copy at the moment!

3) Linchpin by Seth Godin

Seth is really the guy who set it all off for me. Many years ago when I was in “editor” mode, working for someone else I was criticized for something I said. It was a goofy, off-the-cuff comment and not meant to be taken seriously.

It backfired.

My boss looked at me with a furrowed brow and said,

“Well we’ll make sure to never put you in charge of marketing then…”

It set a fire in me to learn everything I could about marketing. Seth’s ancient book “Unleashing the Ideavirus” was one of the first books I picked up after that moment and it inspired me to begin the process of working for myself.

Linchpin is focused on developing that person inside you who owns unique talent and perspective that makes you 100% indispensable.

This book is another that I have gifted or loaned many times, and my copies have not returned back home. I’m okay with that!

4) Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Strengths Finder 2.0 is less of a book and more of a personality test.

The book is really just a first chapter to set the stage for why we want to find our top five strengths. Once you read the intro, you go to the back of the book where you find your secret code to take the online test.

This book is based on the premise that if we know what our strengths are, we can stop wasting time and effort doing the things that don’t come naturally to us. (You’re not off the hook though- the author doesn’t suggest just shrugging our weaknesses!)

The ability to focus on what you’re REALLY good at and outsource or delegate what you’re not will ultimately make you way more effective, efficient and is more rewarding in the end.

Example: I’m not a numbers guy. I hate accounting and bookkeeping. It makes sense for me to educate myself as best as possible, but then hire a professional to do the heavy lifting to ensure everything with my business accounting is air-tight.

What’s crazy is when I read my top five personality strengths I felt like someone gathered my best friends and had them write a description of ME. It was fascinating insight that has really helped me grow my business.

5) The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

This is required reading for any small business owner! I resisted reading this book for years and I just don’t know why. Everyone told me I’d love it. I should have listened earlier!

The E-Myth tackles this uncomfortable subject of why most businesses don’t work and why. Mainly the concept is that just because someone is an amazing carpenter, doesn’t mean they make a great business person!

This is such an easy read, I bet you could read it over the weekend!

Yet it has so many rich lessons and illustrations to learn about your decision making mindset and running your business.

The key phrase from this book is “Working ON your business and not IN your business.”


Honorable mentions:

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey catches some flack for having an “in your face” approach. Buy you know what? Sometimes that’s just what I need: someone to call me on my laziness and lame excuses!

This book is a road map, a “how to” that I think every business owner wishes they had before they started their biz.

It covers everything from technology, customer service, hiring, firing and financial strategies for success.

Hug Your Customers by Jack Mitchell

This book is kind of old school! It’s about a men’s suit shop that went to INSANE lengths to know their customers so well they could predict their next move.

Ever heard those stories of a 5 star hotel concierge going the extra mile to make a miracle happen? Yeah, this book is an anthology full of them, all to illustrate how much your clients will love when you remember detailed personal information.

The idea is that detailed, personalized service that meets people’s needs and solves their problems will bring you the best fortune through client loyalty, referrals and good will.

I have always taken great pride in my level of client care and customer service, but this book alone took things to a whole new level.


How about you? Do you have some personal favorite books that have helped you as a photographer? Shout out in the comments below!

When you prefer to have one Master Lightroom Catalog to keep track of all your shoots, it’s still very possible to send out just the files you need edited and take advantage of Smart Previews to streamline your uploads.

In short, you select the images you want to send us and export them as a new Catalog with Smart Previews. 

We will send back a new Catalog which you will use to import our adjustments to your Master Catalog.

Ready? Let’s do this!


1) Find and select *ONLY* the images you wish to send us. 

2) Go to the File Menu and select “Export as Catalog.”

Master Lightroom Catalog Smart Previews Outsource Photo Editing

3) Which will bring up the following dialogue box. Make sure to note the settings checked at the bottom:

Master Lightroom Catalog Smart Previews Outsource Photo Editing

4) When naming your export folder, please include your first initial and last name followed by a good reference name for this order. For example, “JSmith_Kelly&Joel, or JSmith_JohnsonWedding”

5) Once the output is complete, zip this folder so you just have one nice and tidy file to upload. 

6) Go to our order form and enter your information. Once you submit the form, you will be directed to a page where you can upload your zip file. 

And that’s it! 

On the other side, once you receive our edited Catalog go to the “File > Import from Another Catalog.” From the dialogue box that pops up, just navigate to the new Catalog that we sent you and all of our settings will apply to your images.

Master Lightroom Catalog Smart Previews Outsource Photo Editing

Your master Lightroom Catalog is now fully complete with our edits and you are free to add any final touches to your images before exporting.

This workflow is the best of both worlds! You get to maximize the powerful organization tools within Lightroom like keywords, labels, ratings and smart collections and yet just send us the set of files you would like color corrected.

It should also be noted that when you wish for us to do the culling and color correcting, you can use the same process. The only difference is when you import the info from our Catalog you will see 5 star ratings to indicate the “keepers.” These files will also have the color corrections lovingly applied by our team.

horse-rescue_06

Several weeks ago my family stayed in LA with some close friends who own a horse. My youngest son spent every moment inside the corral with Diego the horse.

He was raking dirt, laying new wood chips, feeding, grooming, just showing him affection.

Diego was neglected at his previous home until our friends took him in. Now he’s in good hands, happy to be on the road to great health again.

Noticing my son’s interest in the horse, they suggested we find a place near home, perhaps a horse rescue where Evan could volunteer his time to be around horses more.

So we did.

horse-rescue_01

We got home and my wife reached out to a local horse rescue 10 minutes from our house and they agreed to do a trial, since he was on the younger side for their volunteers.

They rescue horses destined for slaughter. Many are former race horses, some were abandoned at a feed lot, some were surrendered because the owners just couldn’t take care of them anymore.

horse-rescue_04

It was a Monday. I took Evan to his first day at the rescue and his excitement was electric.

I figured I’d stay with him and make sure he wasn’t in over his head.

But you know what happened?

I got involved and I loved it.

Please understand- you could fill a book with all the things I DON’T know about horses. I was nervous and found myself asking lots of questions, feeling awkward and unsure.

It occurred to me that it’s been over 15 years since my “first day on the job” anywhere. I’ve worked for myself for so long I forgot what this felt like.

It was scary, but the challenge was fun.

On Thursday, my son said, “Daaa’aaad… Monday is coming.”

Thinking hard I said, “What’s on Monday?”

He smiled big and said, “Horses.”

Next Monday was much better. The nerves were gone and I felt a little more confident. We knew the horses names, delivered their morning feed, mucked out their stalls and took them for a walk.

I was totally out of my element, but there was a great sense of joy and reward.

horse-rescue_03

My entire work day at Essential Edit revolves around electricity and technology.

And here I was, serving these beautiful, powerful creatures. This was something tangible. I could see it and smell it. I could touch and feel the horses and interact with them. Even in these simple acts, I know I am making a difference.

Most importantly, I am also making memories with my son, investing in something that make his life better and bring him joy.

Remember- this was supposed to be an activity for Evan. The plan was to “drop and go” after the second or third time.

But now I’m looking forward to going back every Monday and serving too!

Because serving others brought me great joy. I felt like I could make a difference.

Because it got me out of my comfort zone, away from the desk, managing bits, bytes and technology all day long.

Because I am learning new skills, new language, and making new friends.

Because working alongside my son, who is in love with horses is some of the sweetest stuff in life and something I will always cherish. (I hope he will too.)

horse-rescue_05

So why share this with you?

I’m not totally sure.

Maybe I’m hoping that as you get busier this year you will find something to do outside of your normal routine. Something that is NOT work-related.

I hope you spend more quality time with your kids, family, and friends.

Volunteer somewhere.

The return on investment is more than you can measure.

Choosing an online photo editing service sounds scary. But so does losing sleep, losing business, and losing opportunity!

I asked Caitlin Guidry to write about her experience as a new client. In short, she says:

As skeptical as I was to send off my edits to a photo editing service, I will absolutely make Essential Edit an essential part of my business from now on.

I love to have time for my brides. Time to answer their phone calls, or meet them for coffee, or talk about how they can play a part in getting their best wedding images.

It’s easy to feel skeptical! But it’s also easy to test out our service, just like Caitlin did. Send us some sample images for free processing so we can learn about your processing style and create your profile.

The time you regain in your work week from using our services could be the move that grows your business exponentially this year!

Many thanks, Caitlin for your kind words!

-Leon


 

online photo editing service

Caitlin Guidry

I guess I should begin by saying that I absolutely love being a wedding photographer.

Not that it doesn’t have its own set of struggles, every job does, but when it’s all said and done, I know that I have my dream job.

I started doing photography in 2012 made it a full time job about 2 years later. Soon after I went full time, I decided that I wanted my focus to be around wedding photography.

I narrowed my services down to bridals, engagements, boudoir, and wedding day coverage. I knew that this is where I felt most creative and most comfortable.

I truly felt like I had found my passion. I was totally in the honeymoon phase.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what I do, but I had NO IDEA how much unexpected work came along with being a wedding photographer that had almost nothing to do with the photos.

I quickly realized that my job would be about 10% photography and about 90% everything else.

online photo editing service

I was swamped with emails, contracts, keeping track of payments, but most importantly staying inspired. Although I would have never admitted this to anyone, the road to being burnt out seemed a little less out of reach than it ever had before.

Then my very first real wedding season came up and I realized that I had bitten off WAY more than I could chew. The idea of sending off my edits to an online photo editing service came up a few times but at first I was very apprehensive. My super talented photographer friend sent me to Leon at Essential Edit and I figured I might as well give it a try.

online photo editing service

The next wedding I shot was a rough one.

The light was awful, everything was inside, no windows and no natural light. It was basically a nightmare for me since I love natural light. I tried my hardest and did it the best I could. This bride was one of my favorite people ever and I really wanted to deliver something great even though I wasn’t shooting in my comfort zone at all!

Once the pictures were downloaded, it took me a long time to look at them again. I avoided it big time.

Soon enough I realized that maybe this would be a good time for me to try out Essential Edit. Of course I was nervous at first. I didn’t really want to send work that I wasn’t totally proud of to people I never met or people who hadn’t seen my best work, but at this point I was desperate so I sent it over.

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Leon was so flipping NICE! He explained exactly how I needed to send over the pictures and was super patient with me even though I’m not always the most computer savvy.

Three days later the images were back to me and they looked AWESOME!

They totally flipped my idea of how I shot the wedding. What I at first thought was a wedding I was totally not proud of ended up on my blog.

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Let me back up a little. When I started my business two years ago, I took every wedding that came my way. Inspired or not, I was honestly just glad that people liked my work enough to hire me. That became a bit of a problem once I had booked up the year with weddings that I didn’t always connect with.

Again, I love my job and I’ve almost always loved my brides, but I was way overwhelmed and under inspired. I needed to find a way to clear up my schedule a bit. I wanted to shoot more, find more inspiration, spend more time talking to clients to make the whole experience more collaborative, etc.

Essential Edit opened up my schedule a lot. The work that they delivered back to me pretty much looked better than if I would have edited it myself.

Which brings me to my next point.

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They totally matched my edit and the pictures I got back were completely in line with the other images I had edited for my blog and site. Customer service is through the roof with these guys! Even in October, which is super busy here in Louisiana, and I can imagine is pretty busy throughout the country, I got a wedding back from them in 2 days and again the pics looked awesome!

As skeptical as I was to send off my edits to a photo editing service, I think I will absolutely make Essential Edit an essential part of my business from now on. (Emphasis added. -Ed.)

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I love to have time for my brides. Time to answer their phone calls, or meet them for coffee, or talk about how they can play a part in getting their best wedding images.

I also want to deliver work that I am proud of and I’ve never been the type of person to create quality work when I feel totally swamped.

Essential Edit has helped me to do all of these things and I have no doubt that working with them will help me make my business the best it can be.

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Follow Caitlin on Instagram: @caitlinguid