Most photographers I know are either over-worked or really happy with their work-life balance. The happy folks all seem to have something in common – they can either edit their work (sessions, weddings, whatever) in a scant few hours and get back to their life or they outsource that work and get it off their plates. One way or the other the happy business owner isn’t responsible for cranking through the finishing of the images.
The business owner also tends to be the driving creative force in the business, so understandably some people have a problem with that person not doing the processing work on their images. I can’t really speak to that, either you are comfortable with it or not. I will say that generally speaking anything can be broken down into a system and mastered. So I would tend to think that processing could be reliably broken down, codified and outsourced to a trained third party – obviously your mileage will vary.
So instead of attacking this issue from the creative side I’m going to address it from the business side. I’ve come to believe that every photography business has 2 primary directives that it needs to execute on to survive in the long term, and it needs to prioritize them in this order:
- Goal #1 – Book new business
- Goal #2 – Execute on existing business
On a business level, if taking care of goal #2 infringes on your ability to do your best to take care of goal #1 you probably ought to consider outsourcing. You definitely have to get your work done, but you can’t get so bogged down in getting your work done that you don’t put everything you’ve got into getting the next job in the door. For idealists this can be a weird concept, after all most people who start a photography business do so to do the work. There is nothing wrong with the work, but the business owner wears a few hats, and the job that you can’t outsource is running the business and driving the value proposition – that’s the primary engine that brings business in the door. Better to outsource everything else than to drop the ball on being the business owner.
Then again, I’m just one guy with an opinion. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
P.S. – We’re Livestreaming again tomorrow night. Our previous 2 streams have been quite a hit so please check out Episode 1 with Seshu and Spencer Lum and Episode 2 with Stacy Reeves. Tomorrow night (9/11) at 9:15 EST I’m going to be talking travel weddings, associate programs, and the importance of sticking to your creative guns with Sergio Mottola and Chuck Anerino. You may remember those guys from Episode 3 and Episode 1 of our podcast (respectively). You can tune in to the stream on our Photography Business Youtube Channel tomorrow night and ask questions in the Live Comments section. Or you can leave questions for me, Sergio or Chuck in the comments section below or send them anonymously to [email protected]. Hope to see you guys on the stream, but if you miss it the recording will automatically upload to The …a Man to Fish… channel to watch (or rewatch) later. If you like the streams and want to see more please subscribe to our channel, leave us a “like” rating and share the channel out to photographers you know.