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


UPDATED: If you’d rather listen, here’s a podcast episode on this topic!

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 “hero 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 outsourcing 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!

david manning misconceptions of being a photographer


Let’s talk about the misconceptions of being a photographer. Ever have someone say something like,

“Wow, what’s it like to work only one day a week???”

Or how about:

“What a nice camera! It must take great photos!”

This following is a conversion with a San Diego photographer, David Manning. Our topic of the day is misconceptions of being a photographer. In this episode, we talk about the backhanded compliments and snide remarks that people make about our profession as photographers. We also dive into the business of photography.

David Manning Instagram

david manning instagram

David Manning Vlog

david manning vlog


Tell us about yourself, what you do for work, for fun, where you live, all the good stuff. [00:00:36]

  • San Diego based, born in Ohio.
  • Moved to San Diego when I was 12 years old.
  • Started photography about 10 years ago. March 15 of 2017 was 10 years since I first second shot a wedding.
  • Before then, I had a coffee shop then I dabbled in photography.
  • I met Sara France who was a Pictage User Group (PUG) leader and she invited me to second shoot a wedding.

How did you make that jump from coffee shop to whatever was going on in between to shooting in weddings and be part of this community? [00:03:15]

  • I was working in the church as the media guy and my buddy Ryan Ross was the middle school pastor. One day he said, “You’ve got to check out this guy, David Jay.”
  • My dad had been pushing to love what I do.
  • Ryan got the bug in my ear about shooting weddings which got me to sign up for Pictage before I heard of the Pictage User Groups

Let’s talk about two types of misconceptions about being a photographer:

  1. Are there things that people say to you (clients or friends) that indicate that they have no idea what it’s like to be a photographer?
  2. What are some observations that you’ve discovered after being in business for a while? What were the things that you thought wedding photographers did and then realized was different later on?  [00:05:32]
  • Most of my friends are not photographers. They felt that I didn’t have much of a job. Some of them would ask me,

“How many weddings do you really shoot? 25 weddings a year? So, you work like 25 days in a year?”

That’s the most common one I hear from the outside looking in. This is what I tell people coming into- that photography is maybe 10% of my job.

  • I tell kids who want to be photographers and want to go to photography school to go to business school. If you want to get a degree in something, get your degree in business.
  • Photography is something that if you have an eye for it, you’ve got a wealth of free resources out there.
  • LEON: I advise photographers who like the artistic side of photography and don’t like the business side of it to educate themselves and find their strengths. Then build their business around their strengths and hire people to help them in those areas that they are not so strong.

What are some of the things that you do throughout the week that has nothing to do with putting your camera in your hand? [00:08:55]

  • Being an entrepreneur is one thing and that’s the business side; the accounting, emails, follow ups, websites, social media, tracking your projects during the year.
  • If you’re passionate about photography, reach out to someone who’s already a photographer and apply to be their associate.
  • On a good day, you’ll have a ton of emails. Sometimes it takes 15-20 mins to respond. That takes a lot of time.

What are some other comments that indicate someone really just doesn’t get it? [00:11:19]

  • Some people look at the picture and they just say, “Dude, that’s a sweet camera.” They don’t know that a nice camera doesn’t make a photographer.
  • In the past, if you wanted to be a wedding photographer, you would be blowing about $20,000 to buy your kit and it was insanely expensive and was a huge barrier to wedding photographers. Now, you can walk to any shop and get a pretty decent DSLR for a few hundred bucks and take great photos with it.
  • That barrier has come down but has created this misperception of being a photographer that all you need is a good camera to win.
  • Some people are of the opinion that if I get that good camera, then I can be a good photographer. But it takes a lot more than the camera. There is the business side of things, which is crucial.
  • You can take great photographs but if your business is not on point, then you’re not going to last.

Have you had a client say something during a shoot or after a shoot like “We can just fix that in Photoshop, right?” How did you feel about that? [00:15:50]

  • You can fix a lot in Photoshop. People think there is an easy button for Photoshop. We charge $25-$50 per hour for photoshop work to be done. But it still takes real work, you can spend an hour on a photo to make it perfect.
  • One of the best ways to fill that suggestions from clients is a price. Just being honest and providing a value to the client is a great service to them.
  • Even being an editor or Photoshop retoucher, there is this mentality that we have adopted over the years and it is, “Just because we can do it in Photoshop doesn’t mean we should do it in Photoshop.” In my opinion,  if it doesn’t look realistic, it’s a fail.

What other things have people said to you either friends, clients or family that’s on your mind about misconceptions of being a photographer? [00:19:10]

  • The big one is why do we charge so much.
  • Also, “Why does it take two or three weeks for me to get my images?”
  • They must have this misconception that because it’s digital, there’s no effort involved. You’re just putting the camera in position and pressing the button. They don’t put into consideration the years of training that you’ve put into this, the experimentation, the cost of the gear.

Are there observations that you’ve discovered after being in the business for a while? Think back to the early days of your photography career. What were some of the things that you thought about wedding photographers that changed later on? [00:21:41]

  • I had lots of weird perceptions mainly because my initial perception was David Jay.

Using David Jay as a case study: he’s driving fast cars, has a big house on the hill in Santa Barbara. A lot of people probably look at that and see that it’s possible as a wedding photographer. But I don’t think most wedding photographers roll like that. Would you agree? [00:22:28]

  • Yes. The big thing about that is that lots of us get into it thinking we can make easy money.
  • When you look at David Jay, you realize he was smart in business and that got him there.
  • As a new photographer, I thought this is easy money.
  • Lots of people who do regular jobs earn hourly or a salary and that means a steady income thus you can calculate your finances but as a photographer, you have no idea how many weddings you’re going to book next year.

Sometimes you’ve got a couple of months of bookings and things feel really good. Then you have the slow season where it just feels depressing. That’s one of the things a lot of people aren’t prepared for when they become a wedding photographer. Would you agree? [00:25:00]

  • Yes. A lot of that is about financial awareness and knowing that you need to prepare for it and run proper budgets.
  • Knowing your numbers is so important. Why are you charging what you’re charging?
  • Know how much you would spend on gear and when it would start depreciating. You need to know those numbers.
  • You need to know how many hours it takes for each job.
  • The reason why people come and go out of wedding photography is they don’t know their numbers and they don’t realize how little they’re making.
  • [00:30:16] If you want to figure out how to negotiate, the most successful people I’ve seen in photography don’t negotiate to get a lower price, they start creating more value to the client. They actually find a way to make them spend more money by finding ways to provide more value to the client and it’s not unethical.
  • [00:31:04] There are a lot of ways to add value. For me, I negotiate price. There should be room for a discount. Sometimes I give my clients gifts.
  • [00:33:54] Photographers shouldn’t run their business with emotions. Make business decisions on whether it’s a good idea or not. Have a plan and set your business in a way that if a client asks for a discount, you’ll be prepared for it and know how to navigate that conversation than being emotional about it.

One of the toughest things for a new photographer is the debate about buying camera gear. Should you go into debt to build your kit? Should you rent or borrow gear? Or just make do with whatever you’ve got?

sage justice buying camera gear

In this episode, I talk with Sage Justice, a wedding photographer from San Diego. Sage admits that he has a problem with buying too much camera gear and I thought he’d be a great person to talk to on the topic of building your kit. Perhaps he’s made enough mistakes in buying camera gear he can save you some trouble! 

(Sage Justice Instagram)



Why don’t you tell everybody about yourself? What is your thing? What do you do for work and fun? [00:00:43]

  • My name is Sage Justice, I’m a wedding photographer, also shooting couples portraits and lifestyle. 
  • I like live music and love to hang out on weekends when I don’t have work.
  • Working out and out and going on hikes is my jam.

Talk to me about when you started shooting weddings, how many years ago was that? [00:02:59]

  • In 2009 I got my start.
  • I had Nikon D5000 with a kit lens 18-55. I progressed to second shooting where I moved to Canon 5d-II with 24mm and some lenses here and there.
  • A few years later in 2012 I started first shooting full time.

How was it that you landed on wedding photography of all the different things that you could choose to shoot? How was it wedding photography that drew you in? [00:03:40]

  • When I started in 2009, I was shooting night life but it wasn’t lucrative at all.  I got paid about $15/hour.
  • I talked to a friend and he was shooting weddings full time and he said: “If you want to be a full-time photographer, wedding photography is the only way you can make it.” That stuck with me. It translated to me doing most of my work shooting weddings.

Today we are talking about buying camera gear. When you started out as a photographer, what was in your gear bag? What was your first kit? [00:05:21]

  • For starters, I didn’t do it the right way!
  • In the beginning, I had a Nikon D5000 and an 18-55mm and I had this bird watcher of 55-300mm or something crazy. I was doing research and buying more lenses and trying to figure out whether to invest more in the glass or upgrade my film camera.
  • When I realized I wasted a lot of money in doing that, I sold everything off.
  • I went to get a Canon 5D Mark II and I got a 24-70mm. when you start out, getting a 24-70 and a 70-200 is very essential.

How was it that you went about buying your camera gear? Where were you on the scale? Slow, fast, or in between? [00:07:53]

  • It was really slow in buying camera gear.
  • I got a 24-70mm and then I realized I wanted to do more portrait photography so I ended up getting another film camera.
  • Once I started accepting money for shoots, I felt it was necessary to buy one thing at a time.
  • LEON: when I first started out in wedding photography, I rented a lot of gear. I wasn’t in a position to be buying camera gear at that time. I decided to invest in a nice Canon 70-200 2.8L. That was my first pro lens I bought.

Did you ever rent gear? [00:11:24]

  • Honestly, I think that’s the best route to go when you’re first starting out. But I never personally did. I felt that if I was going to waste the money renting something, then I might just as well put it towards the lens.
  • The down side of renting is that it can get pricey.

Did you borrow gear from friends in the beginning? [00:13:10]

  • Yes, and that also held me back from renting gear. My mindset was “Why should I spend $100 to rent a lens when I could just bug my buddy and get it for free?”

Looking back, how would you have built your kit differently? [00:14:24]

  • I would have done a little bit more research on which camera brand I wanted and why I wanted to get that route. Let’s say Canon for skin tones or for better-looking portraits and Nikon for autofocus or ISO or whatever.
  • So, it would be better to take a few months, rent a body and see what you like rather than wasting money on one brand and reselling everything off to buy another.
  • Some of this depends on what genre photographer you are. Do research and buy camera gear you won’t have to change in a year. 
  • Better to spend the money to buy good gear than to buy the cheap stuff and later dump it in the closet. It will save you the hassle of dealing with the cheap, lesser gear.

Now, that you like having a ton of gear if you were to shoot a wedding with only one lens for the entire day, which one would it be and why? [00:18:47]

  • Shooting a wedding with a lens, I would use my 35mm 1.4 glued to one of my bodies almost the entire wedding.
  • LEON: I have stopped shooting weddings for many years when I did shoot weddings I shot weddings with one lens because I had a second shooter with me and the purpose was to capture overall the vibe and look and feel of the event. I switched lenses but the majority I shot was with my 70-200mm 2.8L.

What are your thoughts on prime lenses versus zoom lenses? [00:20:46]

  • I am against using zoom lenses for weddings because with primes you’re always using your feet to actually zoom. Just moving around finding different angles puts you in your zone and lets you be more creative than you’d normally be. It also makes me feel less lazy. I’ve always felt that with the zoom lenses I’m cheating.

There is a famous video of a photographer who was walking backward and falls into the lake off the walkway. If you’re the photographer, do you have a backup kit in the trunk that is ready to go? [00:23:55]

  • Yes. Exactly. It’s important when you’re doing paid work always have a clean backup.

What is your philosophy on memory cards? Some like to have the largest memory cards possible and there are other people who think it’s risky so they want to have only small memory cards. Where do you land? [00:24:28]

  • I have approached it from both mindsets.
  • With the cost coming way down, I don’t really see the point of doing of small cards these days. We can have up to 256 GB cards.
  • Personally, I like to shoot on 64 GB card but I typically shoot most of the wedding on 164 GB card.
  • When you’re shooting weddings with smaller cards, the risk of having a corrupt card or lost card is amplified.

Everybody is loving the Fuji or the Sony mirrorless cameras, have you tinkered with them? Do you think you will ever add one to your kit anytime soon? [00:28:23] 

  • Yes obviously, mirrorless is the future. It’s just a matter of time before DSLRs are out.
  • They are fantastic cameras with great color but for certain instances in you can’t use them. Thus, I would still be rocking the DSLR till all limitations are figured.

What’s the one item that you’re excited to acquire if there is something? [00:34:10]

  • Now, I’m in the process of selling my strobes. I’m looking to buy the Flashpoint XPLOR 600. I’ve seen reviews both have similar features but XPLOR has a built-in transceiver and has high-speed sync.
  • They are great and affordable for what they offer.

flashpoint-xplore buying camera gear

using instagram to travel the worldRaise your hand if you’ve ever dreamed of using Instagram to travel the world?

Yep! Pretty much all of us!

This episode covers exactly that in a conversation with David Pomfret, a globe-trotting Instagrammer with impeccable taste in design, originally from England. David had a successful design agency and then dropped it for traveling the world. Which is funded by his work on Instagram. We talk about his best practices on Instagram and much more! Enjoy!



Using Instagram to Travel the World


Where are you from and where are you now? [00:02:27]

    • I’m originally from England and right now I’m chilling in Thailand

What are you doing in Thailand? [00:02:41]

    • I’m just exploring on a daily basis and try to see as much as humanly possible before I leave in about a week.

Give us a little bit of background about your career. Where did you come from and how did that evolve to where you are today? [00:02:58]

    • Throughout school, I was a designer. After school, I continued on that path as a graphic designer.
    • I got a little bored and I started my own company which transitioned into web development, then transitioned into mobile and I just built this design agency where we designed and built products for digital tech companies.

You were able to go from a one-man operation to a bigger operation, working for bigger companies. How did you walk away from it all and decide to go travel the world? [00:04:18]

    • After working for the design agency for about 3 years, I realized that the travel motivates me more than the design.
    • I’ve been designing as a career for 10 years so I felt it was a time to step away and follow my passion which was to travel.

How did you get the courage to do it? [00:05:05]

    • I never have a good answer for this.
    • I’m a “yes man,” and I feel you should say yes to things and try them and if you fail you fail and you should just move to the next thing.

How did you transition into doing travel photography? Was it a hobby? [00:05:40]

    • At the beginning, it was a hobby. I did a lot of travel photography when I started traveling full time around about four to five years ago.
    • The family requested that I should take pictures so they can see what I’m up to.
    • Over time it progressed into something that I realized that I can capitalize on in order to fund travel. It’s also a huge passion of mine.

Did you feel like photography came easy to you? [00:07:15]

    • Because I studied photography and design at the same time, I see a lot of similarities between them.
    • I have always seen photography as relatively easy as well as design and illustration and anything else that’s remotely creative because I think that’s part of my DNA and I’m just aware of the details. When I see them, I pick up the camera and start shooting. If I don’t see them, the camera stays in my bag.

There are two types of photographers: the pure artist who imagines something magical that they want to capture and then there is the technical photographer. Where would you fall in those categories or would you say you were in between? [00:08:15]

    • I would say I’m in the middle and a lot of it comes down what I had to learn in college for photography. We were given two sets of rules.
      1. First, our camera had to be film and completely manual.
      2. Second, we had to develop our film and prints in the darkroom.
    • Amongst the two, I liked picking the manual settings and getting it right but developing of the film wasn’t my strong suit.
    • It’s the same with design, I didn’t love drawing with pen and paper but I loved doing it with the computer.

How did you get started on Instagram? Talk about the inspiration for embracing Instagram and how you’ve been able to use Instagram to travel the world. [00:10:05]

    • It goes back down to working in the tech industry. I am a hacker and I test everything and see what works.
    • My love of photography and the medium of Instagram stuck and I was able to enjoy taking pictures and posting them on Instagram and hacking and testing everything to see what would work.
    • All of sudden, people just started getting in touch. So, it just was obvious that this can fund travel and soon it would be able to fund life and travel. I’ve literally been able to use Instagram to travel the world.

Was it mostly people approaching you or did you reach out to some people to generate some interest? [00:11:37]

    • It started with people approaching me which gave me the realization that my account is good enough.

What are some things that work well for you on Instagram? There are a lot of white hat and black hat techniques that people use. What are some of the things that have worked well for you? [00:12:24]

    • For me, the thing that has surprised me the most and got me the most engagement are locations. For example, it’s not about going to somebody’s beach club and taking lots of pictures and tagging it as somebody’s beach club. I would go take pictures somewhere in Bali and I would tag every picture I take in Bali as “Bali” because those who are planning a vacation, they don’t know where they want to go in Bali yet.
    • They’re just going to search for Bali and see where they like and try to find out where that is in relation to their hotel or wherever they are staying in Bali. Because the location is Bali, they don’t know where it is. They just know they want to go there, and that forces the engagement.
    • So, they would post on the picture saying, “Hey where is this in Bali?” You’ve got your engagement, they’ve found your content and it’s a win-win.

One thing that I’ve noticed on Instagram that gets more engagement is photos where people are smiling. Is there anything that would relate to that for you as a travel photographer? What images get you the best engagement? [00:14:31]

    • If there isn’t a person in the picture, traction is ridiculously low.
    • The traction has doubled just for me putting myself in these couple of images for the last couple of weeks.

As a design and photography expert, what do you think people are connecting with? [0:15:34]

    • I think first, it’s adding that focal point.
    • Second, the contrast of colors. In the pictures of Bali, the color contrast adds the interesting focal point. It makes it more wonderful to look at. It adds a sense of identity.

What about hashtags? What is your philosophy or theory about hashtags? [00:16:44]

    • Hashtags help tremendously.
    • Having your own hashtags helps someone to find your content and they could use your hashtag and keep that momentum going. I’ve got this method where the first hashtag is my own.

What is your preference? Are you someone who likes to use hashtags in the initial captions or do you put it in the first comment? Have you tested it? [00:18:02]

    • I haven’t tested it. The only reason I haven’t tested it is because the designer in me hates seeing the hashtags.

Do you use any type of a third-party app like Later or Planoly to help you plan out your post? What’s your method of post-production on getting things posted? [00:18:37]

    • After every shoot, I would edit it.
    • I use Lightroom so, I have the Lightroom mobile app on my phone.
    • Then I would create a single post as a draft with the caption location and everything ready to go. I post it every morning when I wake up. It’s my routine.

Are you a business account or a personal account? [00:19:24]

    • I’m a business account with analytics.

What about comment pods, have you ever used those to raise engagement? [00:19:51]

    • I have not and I haven’t heard about it until the other day.
    • [00:20:08] How comment pods work on Instagram

How has the Instagram community been to you? Have you made real friends or connected with people in real life? [00:22:17]

    • Yes. I think the Instagram community is good.
    • The best part for me is using Instagram to find places to shoot photos or where to find good food when traveling. 

Give us an idea of what of the most exciting moments was for you when it came to finding a sponsor or somebody who wanted to hook you up with something. [00:23:29]

    • I think my favorite time that I got a sponsorship was last month in Bali. This company got in touch because in my description is says where my current location is and where I’m going to next. 

What kind of gear are you traveling with? [00:25:21]

    • The traveling camera right now is the Sony A6500. It is a beast. The shutter speed is ridiculous.
    • I have a drone also.
    • (David’s blog post: What’s in my bag?)

sony a6500



If I remember, you have a YouTube channel, is that part of your larger goal as well, for example as a portfolio to get gigs creating video content for some of these resorts and hotels? [00:26:35]

    • For the past year or so, I started out experimenting with different things.
    • I started experimenting with travel blogging and then I switched to travel blogging. How could I use Instagram and video to Travel the World?
    • Video has a huge soft spot for me and it’s something I want do more with.
    • Right now, I’m focusing on the career switch and when that is solid, I shall go back to video.

travel photography

Where are you off to next? [00:27:57]

    • I’m heading back to Bali. I had a month there previously and it was unbelievable.
    • From Bali, I’m back to Europe to do a road trip around Scotland.

After Scotland, any other plans? [00:28:21]

    • Cape Town, South Africa.


Today’s topic is about how to make money as a photographer. A lot of photographers burn brightly for two or three years and then they burn out. They close down their business and move on to other professions. Becker and I talk about why photographers struggle so much to make money and make a sustainable business.

Chris Becker has been in the business for more than 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge and insight to the photography industry. Becker still shoots weddings, coaches people on losing weight and consults photographers one-on-one pricing for their business.

how to make money as photographer











What are your thoughts why photographers have a hard time making money in this industry? [00:03:03]

  • This is my 21st season as a wedding photography.
  • It does depend on the kind of clients that you have. It’s more than photography. You have to have a solid business background.
  • I’ve got my style of photography but beyond that, I always pride myself on giving a killer experience to my clients and make sure they have fun on their wedding day.
  • Maintaining relationships with clients is crucial.

Why do you think photographers are timid to set a price that allows for sustainable business? [00:07:34]

  • One factor is the lack of confidence. I hate being pressured so I hate to pressure my clients.
  • The hardest part of the business is getting booked. If you don’t believe in yourself nobody is going to either.
  • Another factor is that photographers just put prices together not knowing what it’s going to cost to get the wedding edit or build an album.

Can you go back to your early days and think about some missteps that you made or something that changed your direction of your path as a business owner? [00:11:20]

  • I was a teenager when I started doing weddings. I wasn’t trustworthy because I wasn’t experienced in charging for the job.
  • I started as a fashion photographer and I felt let it pushed me into wedding photography. I took a workshop about wedding photo journalism.
  • The most important thing I learned is instead of selling pictures, charge a fee for your time and talent and make everything else available. I embraced that concept.
  • There is the perception that if you charge more, then you’re worth it. So, I learned that from Denis I started charging as an artist.
  • My goals were to every single year, shoot fewer weddings and make more money.
  • [00:14:43] Story of my mentee Mike Colón who was charging small rates for wedding photography but later fixed high rates and clients began to see him as better.
  • [00:16:26] One of the elements of this is owning your art, talent and business.
  • There are many photographers are fantastic with great work but there is this mentality of “I’m not good enough to charge that money.”
  • You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t, then nobody will believe in you but at the same time, you must justify the rates you’re charging.

There is a connection between raising your price and owning it. When you raise your price, you feel you have to perform at that level. Would you agree with that? [00:20:02]

  • Yes. I’ve always thought that you should charge a little bit less than what you’re worth. That way, when you’re meeting with the client, you’ll be, “Hey look I should be charging $5K and I’m only charging you $4800.” I believe that anything in life, your attitude and how you approach it really have to do with your results and stuff like that.
  • Set your goals high.
  • The bottom line of making money in the photography business is happy clients. If your clients love you, they would refer you to their friends.

What kind of advice can you give somebody when it comes to making your numbers? How do they begin figuring out that number that actually gets them to where they can sustain their business? [00:24:28]

  • Everyone is different. There are a lot of factors that contribute to it.
  • Photographers should know figures like their rent, their overhead, what they need to make every week.
  • Don’t worry about what other photographers think, think about what you need to put food on the table for your family.
  • I have basic package and other packages, I add more value to it. When you are selling a package or an album, have that exact album.
  • When selling your work, look at it from the client perspective. Don’t just pick numbers for your prices.
  • If you’re starting at $2000, you can’t just have a $20,000 package because it doesn’t make sense.

Is there some strategy to the way you sell without being overly salesy? [00:33:23]

  • For me, my whole entire career, I’ve always used a very low-pressure sales pitch because if the fear of rejection.

To summarize today’s conversation about how to make money as a photographer: [00:35:45]

    1. Own your art and craft
    2. Have a good level of confidence
    3. Refine your sales process to reflect you and your personality and adding value.
    4. Providing a great experience for your clients.

The BECKER system [00:36:27]

B stands for better photos.

E stands experience delivered.

C is cultivate relationships with clients and other photographers.

K is for killer branding.

E is for Efficiency.

R is for right attitude.

If you would like to learn more about making money as a photographer, check out Becker’s coaching program here.

This episode is a conversation I had Justin Hadley, who owns and runs a wedding post production service called HADLEY(s) Photo Edits.

hadleys photo edits

Since we both field questions from photographers who are always struggling with their wedding post production, we thought we would chat about the common things we see photographers do that completely kill the efficiency and accuracy of a good digital workflow.

So here is our list of seven things that photographers are doing wrong in post production.

We would talk about why you should never edit in Lightroom by the pool. We also talked about knowing your pace, how fast or how slow you are when it comes to your post production.




Summary of the conversation:

Here are the seven things that photographers do wrong during post production:

  1. You are overthinking it.
  2. You are over processing.
  3. You’re editing by the pool.
  4. You’re not using Photo Mechanic.
  5. You don’t know your pace.
  6. You’re not calibrating your monitor.
  7. You care way too much.


1.) You are overthinking it!

Photographers can be overwhelmed easily by the amount of presets that are available in the market.

  • PROBLEM: Photographers can be paralyzed by this idea of using presets in Lightroom. They start applying them one by one to a wedding which is an inefficient way of using time. They are literally making dozens of decisions for every single image.
  • SOLUTION: Don’t overthink it. Just find a good preset that works for you as a baseline and build from there. Then you can adjust each image as needed when it comes to overall Brightness, Contrast, White Balance, etc.

2) You’re over processing. [00:09:13]

One common mistake is that a photographer will rely so heavily on processing techniques that it overshadows their original captures. As photographers, we should rely on our strengths, our insights and timing rather than post production tricks.

  • PROBLEM: Relying on effects for impact rather than your artistic ability. These images will look very dated a couple of years down the road!
  • SOLUTION: Find a simple, almost understated look that will stand the test of time. If your post production is drawing attention to itself, it’s probably being overdone!

3) You’re editing by the pool. [00:11:55]

I see this on Instagram a lot: these idyllic photos of photographers with a laptop editing in Lightroom by the pool.

  • PROBLEM: Your sight can be easily tricked by the ambient brightness and surrounding colors. When you’re sitting by the pool and it’s super bright and sunny beside your laptop, all those vibrant, saturated colors around you influences the way that you perceive color on your screen. You end up overcompensating
  • SOLUTION: If you want a consistent color, you should edit in a consistent environment with controlled lighting. Ideally, a dimly lit room with neutral colored walls.

4) You’re not using Photo Mechanic. [00:15:53]

 Photo Mechanic outperforms Lightroom a million to one when it comes to creating the previews.

  • PROBLEM: Lightroom is pretty slow at creating previews of your files. Even once it’s done, it might still lag between photos. Even worse, you’re importing hundreds of thousands of files that you really don’t need to have in Lightroom. This makes Lightroom even slower!
  • SOLUTION: Only import the images you wish to have color corrected in Lightroom. This cuts out the time it takes to import and generate previews on images you don’t really need in Lightroom. Keeping the catalog as small as possible keeps Lightroom working faster.


photo mechanic for wedding post production

5) You don’t know your pace. [00:18:39]

  • PROBLEM: No one knows how long it takes them to edit. This creates a HUGE unknown and mental overwhelm.
  • SOLUTION: Jot down how long it takes for every step of your post production process. Once you do this for a few jobs, you have an idea of how long every step takes you. This information is powerful! Now you can evaluate, refine your workflow and make it faster! Use

6) You’re not calibrating your monitor. [00:24:05]

  • PROBLEM: All monitors stray in color accuracy over time. Even if it has been calibrated before, it needs to be calibrated on a regular basis.
  • SOLUTION: Buy a calibration device like the Spyder5 Pro. (Any brand will do.) The device reads color on your screen and makes sure that color is being displayed true to life. This also ensures that your prints are going to be a better match to your print lab. Calibrate at least once a month!

monitor calibration for wedding post production

7) You care way too much. [00:31:45]

  • PROBLEM: Photographers get too emotionally attached to images and end up spending far too much time editing an image.
  • SOLUTION: There is an actual point of diminishing returns when it comes to editing. You have to evaluate whether or not spending 10 more minutes on this photo will result in any amount of cash in your bank account. Yes, care about your editing but remember that if you’re in the proofing stage, you can’t care about the image as if they are going to be the final prints that go on the cover of a magazine.
  • One of the benefits of outsourcing your post production is having a pair of fresh eyes to look at your images. No one is going to see as many faults in your images as you are. Most photographers put their expectations so high on post production but their clients’ expectations are far lower.

Hey, Leon here. I started a photography podcast.

Since I discovered podcasts, I’ve always wanted to have my own podcast. Let’s call it… 2004-ish. But I never started one. Until 2017.

I was one of those odd kids in college listening to talk radio and loving it. I not only loved learning and being informed, but it was a fascinating study in communication!

So why did it take me so long?

Paralysis by analysis.

I found myself consumed by the questions about technology, what gear to buy, how to build out a soundproof recording booth, how to host it, how to promote it, ad nauseam.

I also struggled with content- what would my topic be? What would be the format of my show?

And then I was sitting on the beach enjoying the gorgeous San Diego weather doing some brainstorming about my business. (Because what business owner would simply check out and enjoy the beach???) 😛

I realized I was making things way too complicated. So I hatched the idea on a Friday, put the word out looking for guests over the weekend, recorded four episodes by Tuesday, submitted the podcast to iTunes on Thursday and within a few hours it was approved and live.

DONE- within a week I launched my own podcast.

I decided I wanted to have my own show for photographers. Yes, there are dozens of other photography podcasts, but I wanted to do my very own, with my own style and flavor.

The idea behind this podcast for photographers is simply this: to discuss all things related to the business of photography- and from all genres, not just limited to wedding or portrait. I want to provide a safe place to discuss the wins and fails of business owners just like you.

I hope that this podcast will serve as a place for you to find inspiration, connect with others, and maybe even a place for your voice to be heard.

You can subscribe to this podcast for Photographers Like You on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and Overcast.


How was WPPI 2017?

WPPI 2017: how was it?


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.

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.



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.




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!