Hey, guys, welcome back to the Business Journey podcast, I am so, so excited for today's episode. It's one that I wanted to do for a while and finally got it in the books. So today we are interviewing my private editor. Her name is Alisa. She is incredible. If you guys don't know, least don't follow her. First of all, go follow her on Instagram because she gives all kinds of editing tips and it's just the funnest thing to see. I learn new things about Lightroom all the time just by following her. So she's great. But I wanted to bring her on because I think that it's it would be fun to have a conversation with my editor. So many people have questions about how to bring on an editor and like, when are they ready for an editor? And I know for me personally, bringing on an editor has really changed the game and helped me just get so much time back. And it was just such a game changer for me early on in my business. And so I wanted to introduce you to Alisa. Hello, Alisa. We are so glad to have you here. Yeah, definitely. So can you just tell everybody a little bit about you, where you're located, you know, about your your adorable family, all the things? 
Alisa: Absolutely. I am, Alisa McCormick, and I've been married for thirty seven years. Yes, I'm old. I have three of the cutest grandkids you've ever seen and three adult children. And we all live in Arizona. Valley of the Sun, as they say.
Rebecca: I love it. And it's so pretty there. It's just it's so different from any other place I've been.
Alisa: It really is. The people in Arizona are like paradise because it's so natural. Everywhere you shoot, it's just beautiful, neutral, reflective light. So people. Rebecca:Yeah, I love it. And then people from Arizona are dying to shoot in trees.
Alisa: Dying for the green. Yes, absolutely.
Rebecca: It's so funny. Yeah. I remember we first took a trip out to just visit and I didn't even know you and I was staying at your house with a friend of ours and just getting to shoot in the desert was a dream. And so I've been going back every year just to shoot in the desert because it's so pretty.
Alisa: Which is awesome because I get to see you.
Rebecca: Yes. Always the best. So fun. So can you tell us a little bit about your journey just as a business owner and what got you started into photo editing? Alisa: Yes, you know, I happened on it by accident, really. I was a photographer. I had a newborn portrait studio here in Arizona, and I did newborns and maternity sessions. And I had met a couple husband and wife team big names in the industry at an industry event. And we just hit it off and just loved hanging out together. And about a year into that relationship, I got a call from them asking if I would consider editing for them. I thought, you want me to do what? I didn't even know that was a thing. I've never heard of someone editing for someone else. I just I was brand new to me. And so I thought about it. I talked about it with my hubby and I thought this might be really fun. It would be so flexible. I could make my own hours. I could work from anywhere. By that time, my first granddaughter had been born and my daughter lived in a different state. And I wanted to go see her a lot. And I thought I was editing. I could work from anywhere, just take my computer with me. And so I said yes. And within a couple of months I had laid my camera down professionally and started editing full time because I loved it so much. So that's how I got started.
Rebecca: I love it. What a dream, because I kind of fell into my business by accident as well. And so I definitely relate to that. Like, well, didn't really mean for it to go this way,
Alisa: Yes, but I know we're going to run with it.
Rebecca: Yes, exactly. And how fun to be able to literally work from anywhere. Like I see your stories and you're all over the place and get to just as long as you have your laptop, you can do it anywhere that is so fun and you dream.
Alisa: So I have the best clients like you, I adore my clients so well
Rebecca: We adore you. I can tell you guys, Alisa, such a cheerleader, like when she came on my team as an editor, it wasn't just her editing my pictures. Like, I feel like I got like a boost of just as a person that, like words of affirmation means a lot to me. Like Alisa would just text me all the time, oh, my gosh, I love this session. This is so good. And it was the best. I am telling you, I only speak truth. I wouldn't say that if your work wasn't stunning. Oh, yeah. OK, that makes you feel good. So tell us a little bit about your role as a photo editor. What is it that you do to help photographers for those that maybe were like you and didn't even know it was a thing like tell us a little bit about the industry as a whole.
Alisa: So as a private photo editor, what you do is you have clients which for your photographers, they go out, they shoot their session or their wedding, they bring it back home, they go through and cull it. Some editors do offer culling. That's not something that I normally do. I do it once in a while if one of my photographers is in a bind. But normally they go through their session or their wedding, they cull it down to just the images that they want to send to their client. And then they create smart previews and they send a smart previews catalog to me. And then on my end, I pull that into Lightroom, I edit the images, then I export it as a smart preview catalog and I send it back to them. And when they import that into Lightroom, it's literally like magic. It just brought all the changes that I made to the images on my end are transported to on their end. And then they see the edited images in their light room catalog.
Rebecca: That's one of my that's one of my favorite things to see is just all the changes just pop up like magic. Oh, my gosh. Yes. And so as a private photo editor, you're different from somebody like an agency, because I know when I first started outsourcing my editing, I worked with one of those big companies and I didn't have the same person every time. And like your role as the editor is to match our style as the photographer. Right. And so, like, go ahead. I was say, you have lots of different clients with, you know, differing styles kind of in the similar direction. But can we talk about that a little bit?
Alisa: Sure. So you're correct. A lot of the bigger box companies and I can't say all of them, I haven't investigated all of them, but some of them, what they'll do is they give you like an interview or a profile sheet to fill out. And then when they get your images, they just almost slap a color profile across the board.
Whereas a private editor, you pay more than you are with the big box companies. But we're touching every single image in the gallery and sometimes making tweaks from image to image. So it is an entirely different service. And then as far as editing for different styles, I like to tell my clients I want to be your clone. My goal would be that you wouldn't have to touch any of your images when you get them back. So that's always the goal. And you really do learn to get in someone's head. And then they also send you anchor images so you can just make sure that you're getting the images to look just the way they would look, as if they had edited them. And what you've done in a while, you're I really I call it a keen eye. Your eye really does get used to a certain style and you really do learn their style and really do get into their heads. So it's the other thing that's wonderful about having a private editor is you might work with the same person for three or four or five years. Some of my clients I've had for four years now. So versus a bigger box company, like you said, oftentimes you're getting a different person every time. So when you've seen someone's images, you know, hundreds of thousands of their images, you it's pretty easy to get into their head and know what what it is they're looking for, what it is they want out of their images when they send them to you.
Rebecca: Yeah, that's what I think I most appreciate, is I feel like you are a clone of me at this point. I think we've been working together since like late twenty nineteen. So it's been several years. And like whenever I was with like the bigger company, I was always going in and making tweaks. I'm like, what am I paying for here? Like, I thought I was paying to save me time when really it was taking me more time to go back and fix what they were doing because it wasn't the same person. They weren't matching my style the way I wanted. Whereas, you know, getting to work with you, it's been amazing that literally I can load a catalog and know, I hardly have to make any tweaks. I'm like cropping images.
Alisa: And that makes me happy.
Rebecca:  Yes, it's the best to know that I can have that trust in the person on my team to be able to just edit the way I would. And my clients don't know a difference. And for a long time, I didn't talk about the fact I had an editor because of course I was like, I don't really want them to like, think it's kind of weird, but it got. To the point where I just I talk about my team as a whole and editing is such a big part of that team that I'm like, I couldn't do it without the editor. And so I've been talking about it. And guess what? Nobody's cared. No clue. I have, like, reached out. I can't believe that you're not the one editing. Like, literally nobody has cared.
Alisa: So I had clients that try to keep they keep it a secret. And then I have clients like you that are like, hey, it adds validity to my business that show it's it's a great thing. Who cares? And one thing that I would say to anybody that's listening, that's wondering whether or not they should let the cat out of the bag and let people know they have an editor and a light room is not magic. I have a saying with my clients and I say, if you sprinkle sugar on poop, it's still poop. So it really still is up to the photographer because the better it is coming out of camera, the more an editor can do to make that image beautiful and shine. If it's a horrible image, there's only so much that you can do in Lightroom. So it's really not saying anything negative about the photographer if they are using an editor, because if they have gorgeous images, it really is because they captured it beautifully in camera. So the credit really in large part goes to the photographer regardless of whether or not an editor edit it or they do.
Rebecca: Right. And it's a team effort. You know, you have to get it right in camera to be able to do the magic in Lightroom and it all works out well. So cool. So when we're talking about photographer that's wanting to hire an editor, how does somebody know if they're ready? Because, I mean, clearly you said if you don't get in right in camera, like we're going to have problems. What are some key things that photographers should be looking for to say? Am I ready to hire an editor?
Alisa: Good question. I love that question because I think people probably just assume if I'm a photographer, I need an editor. And there really is a point in a photographer's business when they are ready for an editor. And things that I would want a photographer to ask themselves are do I have a really good understanding of what my style is?Because if they're still not sure how they like their greens or how they like their skin tones or how much pop or contrast they want in an image, how much they want to bring their shadows up, if they're still playing around with all of that and they don't have a very defined style, it's going to be next to impossible for that editor or an editor to get into their head because their style is constantly changing. And so I think first and foremost, they really need to have an understanding of what their style is and what their brand is and what they want their images to look like. So that would be number one. Number two would be to make certain that they've been in the business long enough that they are getting their images out of camera, pretty close to where they want to be. So in other words, if they are extremely underexposed and then they're going for a really light and airy style, it's going to be really hard for that editor to create a post product that the photographer loves because it just didn't come out right in camera for their brand. So just to make sure that they understand their camera. And then the next thing I'm going to say, this might be a little controversial. I truly believe that a photographer needs to understand how to expose correctly in camera and how to set their white balance. And the reason I say that if someone is shooting an auto mode, which I know a lot of photographers do, I was a photographer. A lot of us photographers start out that way. But if you're sending images that have been captured in camera, in auto mode and your camera is the deciding the the white balance from image to image, it is going to be so difficult for your editor to give you a post product that's cohesive and consistent and a gallery that you love because your images and change from image to image when you're in auto mode. So it's very hard to get consistent, cohesive galleries. It's going to be almost impossible for your editor to do that for you. So unless you can shoot in a way that you are setting the white balance as a photographer, either using an expo desk or kelvin or a gray card, I mean, really, whatever you want to do to set your white balance, you really need to be at a place in your business as a photographer that you know how to set your white balance.
Rebecca: Right.
Alisa: And one more thing for an answer. But even if you're white, balance is off. Let's say you have learned to say your white balancing. You're using kelvin but it's off. And the getting ready room, the image is look blue. But if you've set your white balance, all of those are the same. So if your editor can just nail it on one image, get tweak and tweak and we can tweak and get the white balance just right in those getting ready shots, the. rest of them are going to match first shot in auto and every single image is different is just going to be hard to for your editor to deliver a post product that you love.
Rebecca: Yeah, for sure. I totally get that. And that was a big step for me to be able to get my consistency down to the point where my white balance, I can almost nail it in camera so that your tweaks don't have to take a lot. And that's one thing that I know your editing hand is better at or near your editing eye is better than mine at getting that white balance perfect. And that was something that really was a benefit to me, bringing on that editor where I could set it, set it in manual and get it close. But man, your expert eye gets that white balance perfect every time. And so that's one thing that's a benefit of bringing on that expert is if you can do as much as you can as the photographer, then they can come in with the expertise and really. Yes, nail it. Fine, tune it.
Alisa: And an editor, that's what we do all day, every day, right. In the white balance. So we get used to it. We get used to finding that white balance.
Rebecca: Yes. So good. And I think one part two of when the photographer is ready to bring on editor, the the biggest piece in my mind is consistency, being able to shoot consistently because you could have a really great session where all your settings are perfect and, you know, your exposure was great in your white balance. But then if you go to a different session and you you just can't do the same thing, like, I think it's so important to be able to repeat that. And that just comes with practice of getting out there doing sessions, because if you're struggling to edit it, probably an editor would also struggle to edit it.
And so I think it's getting to the place where when you can edit pretty smoothly, of course, you're probably going to take longer than an editor would. But if I can edit, you know, pretty smoothly, then I know that I can hand it off to an editor to do it quickly because it's consistent.
Alisa: Exactly. Absolutely. And then also, too, that's such a great point, Rebecca, having someone recognize that if they did have a session where the clouds were out and it's super dark and they couldn't shoot the way they normally shoot it, they really have an understanding that they're going to give it to their editor and they do the best you can. And they're going to know that it might not look like yesterday's session. That was perfect, like perfect white balance. So, yes, I know. Understanding of what's possible.
Rebecca: Right. And I know I've had those sessions where I text you. I'm like, I'm so sorry. I'm just warning you, it's not my best work. The lighting. I had problems. And most of the time you're like, Rebecca, it was not that bad,
Alisa: it's really not that bad. I can't I can't even think of one that you said that way. But I'm sure there has been because we all have those days, you know, as a photographer, you just have those situations.
Rebecca: Right. At that point, it's like, yep, you do your best and just know it may not look like all the, you know, perfect lighting situations, but it's still saving you time as a photographer.
Alisa: And that, I think, is an encouragement to your the folks that are listening and the photographers that are out there. I just want to tell you really, truly here this most of the things that you stress about as a photographer, those little tweaks that are driving you crazy and you might spend 20 minutes on one image, your client is probably not even going to notice. Right. As a photographer, you have an understanding of that. You will have your business so much more. Yeah, really. If I could just help every photographer not to stress the small things that clients aren't noticing, I really do think that they would have more joy in their business.
Rebecca: I agree with that. And I think that's something that bringing on an editor helped me with, too, was because I could tend to, you know, to spend way too much time on images that it allowed me to step back, to not be the one to make all the tweaks and then to receive that final gallery. And, you know, even if those sessions, you know, those sessions that you just don't love and you're kind of dreading editing because there's so much emotion attached to those sessions.
Alisa: Exactly. you know how you felt. Oh, you were shooting it.
Rebecca: Yes, I those are the ones that before I had an editor, I would say I would let it sit on my camera for at least a week because I told my clients two weeks I would let it sit there for, you know, ten days and then finally say, OK, I need to sit down and just edit it. And I dreaded it the whole time. And there's so much emotion that came with it. And that was just a freeing aspect of hiring an editor that I didn't have to relive those emotions at such a deep level. Sitting there in editing, I could separate myself from it a little bit, like talk about mental health. Like that's a huge part, I think, for photographers to be able to separate yourself from your work a little bit, let somebody else handle that fine tuning, and then you can come back with a much better view of your gallery because you don't see necessarily all those awful parts. You now see a finished gallery.
Alisa: You're like. I can deliver this, such, and it's just such a pleasant surprise, like, wow, this wasn't as bad as I remember.
Rebeca: Yes, yes. I can't tell you how many times when I know that I sent you a gallery and I was dreading it. And then I saw and I'm like, no way. Like, I felt so good. Oh, my gosh. Yes. Love it. OK, so let's go on to the next question here. What would you as an editor look for in a photographer that you take on? I know this is kind of similar to our previous question of like, when is somebody ready? But what are the things that you look for in when you're bringing on photographers to work with?
Alisa: That is such a great question. So I think first and foremost, kind of what I've already alluded to is I want to make sure that they have a very defined style and brand and that they have an understanding of what they're looking for in a post product. So I want to make sure that there's that. And then for me as an editor and again, if you asked 10 editors this question, you might get 10 different answers or variables of those answers. But for me, they I'm looking for consistency and I have to know that they know how to set white balance. I don't care how they said it. I don't care what they use. But I typically don't take on clients that are shooting in auto mode just because I know that I'm not going to be able to deliver a post product to them that I love and that they love. And I'm not going to be able to be as consistent and cohesive as I'm used to. So I really do look for a photographer that has an understanding of their camera and can shoot in manual mode and then just to make sure we click. So when I take on are on board a new client, we always do. You have do, do or talk on the phone. We do a trial run. I want to make sure that I'm a good fit for them. I have always said I know I'm not going to be the perfect fit for everyone and for everyone's business. And that's OK. It's not personal, it's business. And so first and foremost, I want to make sure I'm a good fit for them and that we have a good rapport and that we click. And so there's that. And then I do try to stick to a style. I don't I wouldn't say I'm light and airy as an editor or film ESC, but I don't take on any photographers that are super, super dark and moody just because I have trained my eye in the last five years for a certain style. And I don't feel like I would be able to serve a client that had a dramatically different style that I'm used to. I wouldn't be able to serve them as well because my eye isn't keen to that style. So I probably would try to help them find an editor that edits in that style because I just feel like they would be served better.
Rebecca: Right. It's like you want to have that expert to be able to help you. Kind of like we down. I serve families. I'm not going to be the best fit for somebody that wants a wedding photographer. But can I shoot weddings? Yes. Is it a lot more draining for me? And it's just so much harder because I'm not trained for it. Absolutely. And so I feel like the same thing kind of goes with editing styles that if I try, you know, could I edit a moody style? Yes. What it take me so much longer. Absolutely. Because the same way I'm just not trained even to shoot that way, let alone edit that way. So I totally understand that. And I think that clicking personality wise is also a big piece of it, because that's the benefit of hiring a personal editor, the editor, that you don't get a personal relationship with big box companies. It's very much like rinse and repeat. You're just a person in the system to them, whereas it's so personal with that private editor because you're letting them in on the most vulnerable pieces of your work and getting to I mean, even to receive their feedback like nobody else sees your raw images, like how vulnerable is that? Like, I don't go,
Alisa: For an artist. It is so vulnerable.
Rebecca: Oh, my gosh, I don't go showcasing my raw images. Like that's embarrassing. Some of my raw images are not great, although, you know, I try to get it right in camera. But, man, sometimes I just can't nail it. And so that it's so personal to share that with somebody and for them to see, like, if you will, like the work side of your photography because, of course, you deliver a beautiful product. But man, sometimes to get it there,
Alisa: There are some steps from A to B there are some steps.
Rebecca: And so I think that that personal relationship really does matter so that you can, you know, be vulnerable and have those moments where I'm like, listen, this just wasn't it and I'm so sorry. But to then receive that feedback, you know, the times that I just nail it and I want somebody to be excited about how much I nailed it, like, I know I have somebody that is like a cheerleader and it's like, yes, I get it. Like, we just all need that person in our in our lives.
Alisa: And it's just such a fun relationship, too, like you said, I mean, I would consider all of my clients friends, we text back and forth all the time. I love seeing them explode like you have and just being able to watch from behind the scenes and cheer them on and just watch them grow as an artist. And it's just I absolutely love it. And when you go with a bigger box company, you just don't have that kind of relationship. You don't. So it is it's a pretty special thing to be able to work one on one with folks for the long haul. I love it. Absolutely love it.
Rebecca: For sure. And we mentioned that it is more expensive, obviously, but I think that that investment is worth it. I know the company I was working with before was about 10, 15 cents cheaper than working with your image
Alisa: Per image.
Rebecca: Yes. Yes. And, you know, yes, it was cheaper on the front end, but, man, it's still required more work for me. And I didn't have the personal aspect of it where, you know, I think it's so worth the investment to pay a little bit more because think about it, you can still wrap that into your pricing of your photography package. Right. And so you're really passing the costs off to your clients and not to you. And you get so much more in that investment. So I think it's 100 percent worth it. I will always tell people, go with a private editor over a big box if you can. It's just amazing.
Alisa: It's really easy to do. I mean, to encourage people listening, they really would not have to raise their prices. But a couple of hundred dollars, maybe three hundred dollars per wedding, and then they can have a private editor. So I think that way it's it really is invaluable, you know, investment in your business. Yeah. And then we report through time that it frees for you to to grow your business or to spend with your family or to just take a bubble bath after the wedding is definitely worth, I think, the money that you spend on an editor. I've never known anybody that has hired a private editor that's had a good working relationship with that editor and ever gone back to editing their own. Never. 
Rebecca: Oh, my gosh. And I'm telling even like on a personal level, the time that I saved not sitting behind my computer. I mean, an editor was the first thing I outsource. Editing was the first thing I outsourced. And I remember so vividly, like the first time that I got back from I don't know if it was mini sessions. I think it was mini sessions. I got back from a set of minis that I didn't have to sit down and edit and I got to just sit there with my kids like I had a new baby. My son was born in twenty nineteen and Maddy was two at the time. So I had these really little kids. I got to just sit and like have dinner and watch a movie and not have to sit there worrying about, you know, all week getting all these images processed. And it was so liberating to be able to just enjoy life because like, that's why we come into business. We start a business to achieve this sense of freedom and flexibility. And even at the time I had a full time job, I was working full time and had my kids.
Alisa: You were acting like a crazy person when I met you.
Rebecca: I know you don't know. I think I'm still a little bit crazy,
Alisa: But I marvelled. I was like, how does she do that?
Rebecca: I have no idea. Like, looking back, I'm like, what did I do with my time? Like, I literally was so packed for time because I worked full time, had, you know, my kids all the things and still built this business. And so I couldn't have done it without outsourcing because I'm not a night person. I'm very much a morning person. And so, you know, there are people that will stay up editing till midnight, two a.m. I could physically could not like I'm falling asleep wherever I am at about ten thirty. And so, you know, for me that was a really, really hard to, you know, edit and that's when it became really not enjoyable for me. I couldn't handle it. And so the fact that I was able to pass that off received some kind of just this freedom, this burden was lifted. It made all the difference to me. And I would I will never go back. I will never go back to editing my own images.
Alisa: Well, I'm glad you're here.
Rebecca: Yes. So good. OK, so last question that I have planned. Who knows if I'll ask more, but how would photographers go about finding the best fit for them? Like, is there a place that they can search for editors or like where can people look? Because that's a question I get all the time. Like where do I even find an editor is, you know, is Alisa a unicorn. I don't know. Like, where do people find out?
Alisa: It is such a good question. The industry right now is in desperate need of good editors. I cannot tell you how many photographers I have to turn down. It's heartbreaking for me. I always say if there were enough hours in the day, I would say yes to everybody, because it's a joy for me to help and just come alongside them in their business, but there's only so many clients an editor can take on. And so I wish I had a wonderful answer for you. Really, the only thing I can say is when they're at their industry events, ask all of their photographer friends, do you have an editor? Do you love them? Are they taking new clients? Word of mouth is wonderful. I don't know if there is a website out there that has I would be beautiful if there was a place you could go and photographers could meet editors because it is such a need. I know of two companies that might be taking new clients and one of them is called Cultivated Edits and they have editing. I don't want to call them apprentices, but they have several editors that work for them. So you may not your work may not go directly to the people that run and own cultivated editors, but you would have the same editor every time you would have a personal relationship with that editor. And then there's another company called Janelle Joy Photo Editing, I believe it's called. And she also has are they called apprentices, Rebecca?
Rebecca: Associates.
Alisa: Associates, yes. They have associate editors. So you get the same editor every time. So someplace like that, you might have better luck because it's not just a sole proprietor like I am. Yeah. And then I'm also releasing a course of this fall that teaches others how to do what I do. So I literally open my playbook. I show them every single thing I do. I give them practice galleries, I give you all my email templates. So if you've ever considered being an editor, that is something that you should look into because the industry needs editors desperately. And I can promise you, if you wanted to be an editor, there would be business for you because I get information daily.
Rebecca: Yeah, that's amazing. Yeah. The two companies that you mentioned, I'm familiar with both and they are so awesome. I know it's me and it's only takes on wedding clients. So they, they do not take on portraits. But Janelle does take on portraits. So perfect. So if anybody's looking there and yeah. If anybody like you're listening to this, you're like, I love editing like that because for me I don't love editing,
Alisa: I love it.
Rebecca: Yeah. I feel like, you know pretty easily. And I was like, I it's not for me, but if somebody is listening, you're like, editing is my thing. I want to do that. You guys, Alisa is a wealth of knowledge and I haven't even seen her course content, but I know it's going to be amazing. And so you need to follow her, check it out whenever she launches, because I'm telling you, she's right. If you want to be an editor, the work, there's plenty of work because there are so many photographers. Oh, my gosh. And the best part is that you get on a handful of clients and they're marketing. They're getting new clients and all the things. And you get to just do all their, you know, all the sessions that they book or all the weddings that they book. And so it's like you don't have to take on hundreds of clients. You literally take on a handful and then you can do all their work.
Alisa: If you had as an editor, if you had ten to twelve clients that were working full time, you would be a full time editor. Amazing. Oh, it just kind of shows you how many editors we need. There are millions of photographers around the world. And if you as an editor can only take on ten to twelve clients, we need a lot of editors.
Rebecca: It's true. Oh, my gosh, that's amazing. And just the world needs editors, the photographers, photographers need editors. I love it. OK, so at least that can you tell everybody where they can find you, your website, social, all the things.
Alisa: Thank you for asking. Yes. Just you can go to my website, ABC-photoediting.com. You can find me on Instagram. My course doesn't launch until the fall, but you can email me at ABCphotoediting@Gmail.com. I can put you on a waiting list. And then I also do have a free course that I love to give away. I don't ever try to sell you anything, but it's a course that teaches you how to use Lightroom on your phone. And I show you there's like twenty one videos in there. I show you how to use every single tool so you can pull photos in from your phone and edit them, edit them just like you would on your desktop.
So email me or I can give her back to the link for that. You guys get off that horse. So anyway. Yeah.

Episode Transcript

28.   A Conversation with my Editor