You choose: Take an epic 3-week vacation to Iceland, Norway and Sweden or sit in your office doing your wedding post processing.

When was the last time you took a 3-week vacation to ANYWHERE???


emily gutman instagram feed

Meet my friend Emily Gutman.

Wedding photographer talks about outsourcing photo editing










Emily just returned from a very epic trip to each of these countries, which you can replay on her fabulous Instagram feed.

I asked Emily to tell her story of outsourcing her photo editing and how it’s changed her business.

It’s changed her business, but it’s also drastically changed her quality of life.

Read more to see how:

outsourcing photo editing

photo by Emily Gutman


I’m shooting between 2 and 4 weddings per week (small ones, at city hall), but that number still seems to be enough to make any photographer go crazy!

However, I outsource all my editing to Essential Edit, and by doing so, I’ve managed to rock a pretty consistent 15-20 hour work week, with lots of built-in free time and even vacation time!

I actually just got back from a 3-week vacation in Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and I was able to take another mini vacation down at my family’s farm right after since I didn’t have to be at the office editing!

I started outsourcing my editing a while back for two reasons:

  1. I frankly just wasn’t that good at editing, specifically keeping a consistent look across various lighting situations, and
  2. I found myself becoming so emotionally invested in the photos that I would continue tweaking the images until they were just right (which they never were).

outsourcing photo editing

Taking the plunge was actually not at all difficult.

I, like many other photographers I know, consider myself a bit of a control freak when it comes to my images.

When when I sent off my first batch of photos for editing, I figured worst case scenario, I’d just re-edit them myself.

Fortunately, I was thrilled with the results, and from then on I sent off every big wedding I shot and just did the smaller jobs myself.

Once I transitioned to only shooting small jobs, I outsourced all of those for editing and no longer do any editing of my own, save for personal projects.

After a week of shooting a few weddings, I cull them down to my favourites and send them off in one Lightroom Catalog for editing.

When I get the finished catalog the following week, I import them to Lightroom and set them to render 1:1 overnight.

I find not watching them render really helps me not worry about the final product.

When I first started outsourcing I’d watch an image that originally had a cool white balance turn warm, and because I was so used to the cool tones, I’d freak out a little because all of a sudden everything looked too yellow, when it reality it looked just fine.

Now because I render everything before looking through, I’m able to sit down to a computer of fully-edited images and be happy with what I see.

Once everything is rendered, I do a quick spot check in grid mode and flag anything that needs adjusting (usually straightening or a little photoshopping to remove objects/people).

As soon as that’s done, I make virtual copy of each image and turn those black and white, and voilà!

I’m done!

outsourcing photo editing

photo by Emily Gutman

I’m constantly urging my photographer friends to outsource their images, partly because now I have all this free time but my friends are still stuck at work. :/

I have a few other tools that help me streamline my business. I use PhotoMechanic to cull photos (renders more quickly than Lightroom), Lightroom is my main tool for organizing and editing, and I do a bit of heavier editing in Photoshop.

outsourcing photo editing

photo by Emily Gutman

On the business side of things, my two favourite platforms for keeping everything organized are:

1. Adobe Document Cloud (formerly Echosign) for contracts. You can design your own contracts, upload them and have them completed online.

esign services

2. Freshbooks for invoicing and accounting . Clients can pay online without having to follow links through PayPal, and you can track expenses in there, too.



These are all fantastic tools for keeping everything simple and efficient, but I still found editing to be the biggest time-suck for me, hence my decision to outsource.

One of the best arguments I’ve heard in favour of outsourcing referred back to the days of film:

Sure a lot of fine art photographers developed their own photos, but other photographers doing big-batch work like weddings or product photos would outsource their images to a lab, and this is really no different.

If you’re still on the fence about going full in, just stick your toes in.

Send off a few images for a test run.

If you like what you see, send off a job.

Keep an open dialog with the lab; if they’re good, they’ll work with you to get it just right.

[Ed. note: Essential Edit will work hard to get it right, even if it means a couple of rounds of revisions just to set up your personal profile.]

Once you get a system that works for you, it’ll be a piece of cake for future jobs and you’ll be so glad you invested the time to make it work.

And I’ll be glad too, since now I’ll have someone to go get coffee with in the middle of the day!

Because seriously, I have SO MUCH free time!