How to Become a Professional Photo Editor (8 Steps)

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Are you interested in how raw photos become the stunning artworks we see in books, magazines, websites, and social media? Editing is the key to making photos look stunning. 

Photo editing could become a lucrative career path for someone who enjoys doing it. A photo editor should have photo editing skills and know what makes a great photo. Many editors can work from the home office.

If you would like to learn how to become a professional photo editor, read the whole article. I have mentioned 8 beginner-friendly easy steps to becoming a professional photo editor.

Photo editing is not just a job; it must become something you enjoy and are passionate about.

dilwala shakil

What Is Photo Editing?

It refers to the process of adjusting, changing, and enhancing film, print, or digital photos. It can be done using computer software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.

What Is a Photo Editor?

A photo editor is one who selects the best photos, enhances their quality using software, corrects errors such as red eyes or glare, and prepares them to use for different purposes. Photo editors make photographs look good. 

A photographer invests a lot of money in equipment or staging before a shoot, but professional editing is what makes their photos look good.

It is estimated that a Photo Editor earns an average salary of $50K to $70K per year in the United States.

8 Steps to Become a Professional Freelance Photo Editor

Step #1: Get Some Photography Skills

In order to work as a photo editor, you often need a degree in photojournalism, visual arts, photography, or a related field.

However, a professional photo editor doesn’t require good photography skills but having some little knowledge is good. 

As a professional photo editor, you must have creativity, collaborative skills, and a natural eye for photography and know how to enhance images.

Keep an eye on successful photographers’ portfolios and find out the differences, and uniqueness of their photographs. 

Discover their styles, strengths, and weaknesses. If you can find it quickly then it will be easy to become a successful photo editor. You may have the ability to select the best one from thousands of photos.

Your skills must be marketable and ready to use even before you have your first client. With hours of practice, you can master your photo editing skills. Good management skills are essential for any editor.

Photo Editors must have both technical skills and experience as well as creativity and collaborative skills. Great photo editors welcome feedback and are constantly improving their skills.

Step #2: Research & Pick the Right Topic

As a Freelance photo editor, you can offer these services.

  1. Culling services
  2. Color correction
  3. Photo retouching
  4. Removing or adding elements
  5. Background removal or clipping
  6. Real estate photo editing

Don’t quickly pick up any topic without doing enough research on them. Take your time, It will be good for your long time journey. Learning them one by one is the best way.

A professional photo editor is not limited to wedding photographers. They can also work for newspapers, magazines, and book publishing companies. In addition, other companies need posters, banners, leaflets, and pamphlets.

You should focus on a single photo editing niche. For example, edit real estate photos or wedding photos, then become an expert in that field.

Step #3: Invest in Proper Training

You may invest in a good photo editing course to learn quickly. Or you can learn everything from the internet.

Investing in a good online course will help you become an expert photo editor in a relatively short period of time.

Step #4: Learn & Master Your Editing Software

Work smartly with the right and reliable photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom that can save a lot of manual work.

Get started with their free plan and when you decide to move forward in your photo editor business, you can upgrade to an affordable plan for just $9.99 per month.

Don’t forget to check out Canva and Glorify Apps as they offer lifetime free plans. There are thousands of stunning template ideas to choose from. Remember to calibrate your monitor’s color and brightness.

Step #5: Set Up an Online Killer Portfolio

You will need samples before you can get paid for your work. To showcase your photo editing skills, you’ll need to create an online portfolio.

Use sites like Pixabay and Unsplash to find free stock photography and edit them to look like professional photos. You could also take your own photos, edit them, and add them to your portfolio.

Add publications you worked on, such as yearbooks, magazines, or event books, to your portfolio. My favorite is to create a website to share relevant work samples.

Step #6: Set Competitive Pricing

Don’t undervalue your picture editing skills in exchange for low prices. Photographers are well aware of the amount of time that goes into editing photos.

Your editing can save your clients time that they can use to be out on the field shooting more pictures and building friendships with their clients.

Step #7: Develop a Plan for Executing

You need to plan out the entire process before working with your first client, from receiving the photos to editing them to delivering the finished product.

If you want to grow your photo editing business and get more clients, you need a marketing strategy. You should provide your clients with a written version of your plan so that they know exactly what to expect. 

Good organization and planning can result in client satisfaction and recurring work. Also, make an image backup plan. I have seen too many photographers lose their images during computer crashes before making a backup plan.

You should always deliver high-quality photos, whether you’re doing a small project for free or working for a returning client. This type of service is good for retaining clients. A client is more likely to hire you again if you deliver better results.

Start hiring a freelance photo editor can also help you quickly scale your income and grow your photo editing business. You should make sure your hired help is as attentive to detail as you are.

Step #8: Marketing Your Services

Below are some marketing strategies I like most to get huge growth in the photo editing business.

  1. Reach out to clients through social media platforms. email marketing, and forums.
  2. Youtube is one of the best ways to share your experience with friends and people.
  3. Create a blog website with the best affordable hosting, upload SEO-friendly content, and rank on google to get organic clients.
  4. Run Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and google ads to get clients.
  5. Help others editors or photographers on social media platforms and develop relationships with them.
  6. Design beautiful pamphlets, ebooks, and pdfs to promote your work, skills, and purpose.
  7. Sell photo editing services on freelancing websites such as Fiverr (Most popular), Upwork, or
  8. Become A Trainer: Create and sell paid online training courses to earn more.
  9. Offer giveaways.
  10. Ask your existing client for testimonials or reviews and show these to new clients.
  11. Create a referral program to attract clients. For example, your clients can get a 30% discount if they refer you to their network.

Where Can I Get Clients for My New Image Editing Company?

Where Can I Get Clients for My New Image Editing Company?

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FAQs – How to Become a Professional Photo Editor

Can I Be a Photo Editor Without Being a Photographer?


Are Photo Editors in Demand?

The photo editing skill is in high demand

Do Photo Editors Make Good Money?


How Much Do Professional Photo Editors Make?

The Average Salary for a Photo Editor in America is around $50K to $75K+ per year.

Do I Need a Degree to Be a Photo Editor?

Becoming a photo editor doesn’t require a degree. However, having a bachelor’s degree in photography, visual arts, or digital media is good.

Should I learn Lightroom or Photoshop?

Lightroom is the best photo editing software for managing and processing thousands of photos from your device. With Photoshop, you will be able to have greater control and expensive editing experience to make a few images look flawless.

I'm Dilwala Shakil a Web Designer, Blogger, Digital Marketer, Affiliate Marketer, and YouTuber. In this website I write reviews about best online business related tools. Subscribe my YouTube. Also Facebook and Twitter

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