how much do you pay someone to edit

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by mark_englehart, May 16, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I have a couple of photographer friends who may be interested in hiring me to edit their pics. I have no idea what to charge and I'm sure that compensation is commensurate with ability, but I just want a ballpark figure as to what to offer. I don't want to quote some outrageous fee on the one hand and I don't want to rip myself off either. Any advice would be wonderful.
    Thank you,
  2. Why don't you determine a reasonable hourly rate and just quote that? I charge $50/hr for any major editing.
    Find out how many images they need edited on average and figure out your workflow. Also ask if they shoot RAW and using Lightroom can save a lot of time editing / exporting in batches.
    I would also ask for some sample images and see how long it takes you to do some SPECIFIC type editing ie color correction, sharpening etc.
    Would you be expected to upload/FTP these to a website/slideshow or burn CD/DVDs. Include that time also in your estimates.
    Good Luck!
  3. In the Midwest, I think you'd likely be looking at $15-30 per hour assuming that you're good at post-work and familiar with all the pro short-cuts. This work is likely something that can be scheduled during off-hours which can lower the price demands. However, price/pay can be based on several variables independent of mere competency and you may be competing with the craiglist crowd as well.
    BTW, I would never outsource my postwork. It's simply too easy to batch process and do the work on my own.....the profit margin in running a wedding studio is not often large enough to justify any high outsourcing fees. Large established studios often have their own small staff that can handle high volume wedding/studio work.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    “I don't want to quote some outrageous fee on the one hand and I don't want to rip myself off either. Any advice would be wonderful.”
    “Large established studios often have their own small staff that can handle high volume wedding/studio work.”

    Last year I was still working for a Studio (July 2008 t o June 2009). We had a woman work Part-time Monday and Tuesday and she could comfortably complete four Weddings in those two, eight-hour days. In US$ she was on about $28/hour – but it was a regular gig. And I have no idea how much assistance it gives you to know what a Professional Photofinisher earns in Sydney (and there are quite a few who do this here), but you asked.
    Now the point is, as David mentions, what a Wedding Photographer is willing to pay (or more correctly what the amount is to pay, which constitutes a good business decision), is not what a (Wedding) Photographer would necessarily hire his or her time out to do the same post production work for a Customer - this goes to continuity of supply of work and many other elements.
    As an example: I recently did some restorations for a Client. I had done their Family Portraits a few years previous. Why did they ask me and not seek out some studio who advertised their speciality was restorations? - because they trusted me and liked the quality of my finished work, they did not want to leave their “old family treasures” with just anyone.
    Now I charged them for my time and skill that was $X.
    But, if for example, David Schilling called me up and said, “hey Bill I have an ongoing series of Restoration Work for the next few months and I am considering offloading it, what would you charge?”
    I would not be charging David the same rate as the one off job for a retail customer – that’s not because he is a good guy, or because I owe him a favour, or any other personal reason, it is because it is just about business – it is expected to be a regular workflow for me, at a steady rate and that can be factored in to being expediently managed and coordinated with my other business tasks – hence efficiencies – hence a lower charge – hence an happy customer - hence more regular work.
    I think you need to know how regular this gig will be and what is the expected turnaround time – I can only draw on my experiences – the reason we outsourced the Post Production Wedding work, is because the Studio thrived on the very quick turnaround time to produce the FINISHED Product.
    I can’t think of another reason why any Wedding Studio or solo Photographer would outsource the Digital Post Production work, unless it was for fast turnaround ? ? ?
    Also, to have fast turnaround, it is important that the Photographers are shooting within reasonable technical capacities and (as we did) tend to shoot in (lighting) batches.
    If the files are all over the shop, and the shoots are uncoordinated, it could be hell on a stick doing the Post Production for a Wedding. . . just thinking . . . you need to know exactly what the job is, which you are taking on.
  5. Hey Mark,
    It's a really good question, and it hinges on several things.
    I've actually been training several individuals to do post for me, and hope in a couple of years to create my own photo editing company, yes there are others, but there are also other wedding photographers too.

    So I pay my employees a set fee per wedding. I know how long it should take, and how long it takes me, I've been ripped off before paying an hourly rate for someone who really didn't know how to do the edits despite saying they did. Additionally, I can get my employees more work, and hence more $$ if they can get it done quickly. Meaning, if I am paying x per wedding, and they do 10 weddings in a week, they get 10x, if I'm paying hourly, I see less incentive to finish my work for me. This is of course from the employers perspective. But after having an assignment milked for 20 hours and still not done..I'm going to err on the side of my bottom line.
    All my editing is done in Lightroom. I can make the very first edits, export the catalog and remaining RAW files to a portable HD, place it in their hands and they edit. Export the catalog without previews or RAW files, and upload it to my server.
    So question to you, are you editing in LR, Aperture, Photoshop, etc?
    How are you getting the files, all of this adds up to what everyone else is talking about...time.
    What is your time worth? Will it be recurring work? Do you like the work? Me-I hate post production, I'm good at it, but I find it monotonous for 50-80 weddings a year and I'd rather be photographing or creating albums, or working with and talking to other photogs. So to me, it's worth what I pay to another for that freedom. I know that it's tough work and you can't be extremely creative all the time so that does wear down on you.
    WW, his last point is the most salient, I know how long it takes for post on my pictures, but I know how I shoot. I've no idea how the photogs you are dealing with do it, so I would set up an introductory rate, sort of feel each other out, and go from there.
  6. William- Post work could be outsourced for a variety of reasons. While I like doing post work, (in fact I learn a lot from it) I can see how one might benefit from getting some help. I think it makes sense to outsource any part of a business that will make it more productive, or that needs more time, skill, or energy to complete than the business has or is capable of.
    If I had to outsource work, I'd want to pay by the job, not the hour.
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Daniel – Interesting points, Interesting Business Venture. Good luck with it.
    As I mentioned, here, there are specialist Photo-Finishers and these folk are employed by Wedding Studios, but more by Commercial Photographers and also Publication Houses.
    senor – yes thanks for answering my question.
    Considering outsourcing any part of the business to make the overall business more productive is good thinking – you caught me being micro-focussed and introspective, rather than thinking macro and across all possible business models, thanks for that.
    Turnaround time is a passion of mine - I should consider that is not such a priority for others.
    Indeed your comment made me think that many Photographers who “enjoy” the post production work might be lulled into spending far too much time “enjoying it” and thus not be a very efficient business, (not implied nor directed to you).
    Mark - I too agree with paying per job, rather than per hour.
    For clarification: the woman to whom I referred in my first comment was actually employed as a “Casual Employee” (which here is different from a Part Time Employee – so my first description was inaccurate).
    She was paid by the hour, because that is the only way possible these are the rules – otherwise she would have to be a sub-contractor. There was no impact in regard to time wasting she was very efficient, diligent and very good at her work.
    However the two Photographers who worked for the studio were paid by the job: so I, in this case, was a subcontractor.
    I have no idea how the Tax / Employment Laws work in your neck of the woods, nor what your business set-up is - but here, a subcontractor could charge either by the hour or a flat fee for a job, basically all that is necessary is to supply a Tax Invoice and then get paid.
    There are plusses and minuses for having an employee or outsourcing to a subcontractor here - and I guess the same basic differences apply where you live too, but perhaps you just have different terminologies.
    But the point is, assuming you have some (photography) business structure in place – you should also think about what the best method is for you to be engaged and also the best method by which you should be paid.
    When considering these elements, you should also consider what is best for the Client or Employer – as mentioned on this thread, three of us, would want to pay per completed job – and personally I would require a Tax Invoice from you and require that you be a Registered Business, such that I could fully claim the Goods and Services Tax element of the invoice. What that means is – (speaking about my situation only) – I would not outsource Post Production in the same way I engage a Second or Assistant Photographer for work – I can and will engage a Photographer (who is not Registered Business) as a Casual Employee for a Day’s work – but buying a Service such as Post Production, I would want a Registered Business’s Tax Invoice.
    I mention these examples because, although most likely not directly applicable to your circumstance, thinking about the structure of how you set up an ongoing business relationship, is quite important for you to consider.
  8. I don't.... I made the mess - I clean it up...
    I do agree with a lot of what's been written already - getting into a time based contract as opposed to a # of images or a flat rate contract is better for the retoucher / worse for the photographer.
    I've seen local people (MN) offering to do retouching for $10-15 per hour on the low side and $25 - $30 on the high side...
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I don't.... I made the mess - I clean it up... "
  10. This is very interesting question since I should be going to live in the New York or New Jersey in a couple of months and I would like to get some work retouching or edting other photogs. pictures as a freelance.
    I think that a good fee would be a average of 20-30 dollars per hour. I'm good with Photoshop but I'm no Wiz. I also make album designs after I have a selection from the Photog or the Bride. But that would be another fee I have to think about.
  11. You all certainly bring up great points. Thank you for your time. I will use this for consideration.
  12. Check out Shoot Dot Edit. They're awesome. :)

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