EduReviewerBlogHow to be a Freelance Photo Editor
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How to be a Freelance Photo Editor

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Suppose you’ve gone for a studio session and have observed that the final picture looks way better than it ordinarily should. In that case, there’s a chance a professional photo editor retouched the picture.

Editors enhance pictures and other digital works of visual art. Most photographers prefer outsourcing the editing part of their operations to professional editors. That way, they get to specialize more in their profession.

So, what steps should you take to become a Freelance editor? We’ve covered the nitty-gritty and outlined the best strategies to grow and build your business.

Can Freelance Photo Editors Get a Job Without a Degree?

Though, to work with some companies, you typically would need a degree. It’s not always a hard requirement for contract work. The must-have instead is a solid professional stint as a freelance editor.

These days, bidding for work is getting progressively simplified. Creating a portfolio of your works on professional sites like Behance, Dribbble, and even Instagram and forwarding them to prospective clients is enough to net your work in the field.

Nonetheless, getting a bachelor’s degree in photography might be a good idea to stand above the horde of editors bidding for the same jobs as you. Couple that with a remarkable understanding of photo editing principles plus tools of the trade, and you’re set for a blast.

While you’re pursuing your dream to become a freelance photo editor, it’s beneficial to stay informed about the educational landscape. Knowing about the worst colleges in America can help you make the best decisions for your future learning endeavors.

Qualifications Needed to Become a Freelance Photo Editor

Freelance Photo Editors do not need any professional qualifications when starting. As we’ve mentioned, having an outstanding portfolio is more than enough of a resume to clinch work contracts. Nonetheless, qualifications are nice to have as they set you apart.

However, if you must, check out the Adobe Certified Professional certificate for Photoshop to boost your credibility as an expert in the field. If you can afford one also, consider getting a degree in any course affiliated with the field. Clients tend to trust more quickly in the abilities of clients who’ve obtained advanced professional degrees.

These days, with editors being a dime a dozen, you must set yourself apart as not only a creative professional but also as equally capable of meeting set deadlines. Nothing pisses clients, or even agencies you might be working with, more than an editor who turns in work later than agreed.

As a freelance photo editor, you’ll need to be fast and efficient. Part of that efficiency involves knowing how to make a quick resume. This skill can give you an edge when applying for gigs and presenting your work to potential clients.

How to Start a Career as a Freelance Photo Editor?


Now that you’ve to know a degree is not all that important to becoming an editor, what are the best approaches to becoming one? We’ve outlined some steps below:

1.    Taking an Online Course

It’s impossible to delve into the field without a basic understanding of how things work that we can all agree on. Most MOOCs these days typically have tons of course material available to provide a basic exposition into the field of freelance editing and recommendations that may come in handy.

To fast-track your career, consider starting with any of these courses, Photo Editing, Gimp Photo Editing, and Adobe Lightroom Classic on both Udemy and Skillshare for your career.

2.    Create an Online Portfolio

Hardly would you find a client ready to lay for your services without having an idea of how good you are. An online portfolio is essentially your resumé as a photo editor. It’s how clients get to assess how skilled you’re and whether or not they should hire you.

Making an online portfolio is as easy as designing a suitable website with any no-code builder, say WordPress or Wix. If you prefer something more customizable, consider coding from the ground up – outsource if you’re not much of a coder.

You might also want to check out dedicated portfolio websites like Behance or Dribbble to spice things up. However, WordPress and others may very well be enough as they allow you to customize image galleries and features and easily display your work.

Free resource websites to help with your customizations are:

Add some professional retouches to suitable pictures you’ve found on the websites. Display them on your portfolio site as finished works, and you’re set to land your first gig.

In your journey to become a freelance photo editor, you might consider expanding your skills. Mastering how to write a CV for a professional engineer, for instance, can offer unexpected career avenues.

3.    Set Competitive Pricing

As you might expect, you wouldn’t be the only freelancer bidding for a new gig on Upwork, Fiverr, or anywhere else you check for jobs. To improve your chances of landing the gig, it’s essential you set a price tag comparable to the other editors’.

You may have heard about setting low price points to improve your chances of winning a bid. However, that doesn’t always hold. Repetitively accepting more work for lesser prices may work against you in the long run, especially on freelancing sites like Upwork, where clients get to check how much you’ve earned versus how many jobs you’ve completed.

However, most potential clients are also photographers who know that quality edits do not come cheap. Set a price point that is not higher than your competitors’ and certainly not lesser than theirs.

Strive to deliver value, and they’d be the ones to contact you for more work. But, how much do freelance editors make? How much professionals typically are influenced by a variety of factors. How much you stand to make as a freelancer is influenced by factors such as how much of a rapport you have with the client and their budget in itself.

Understanding how to craft the best job descriptions for resumes can significantly enhance your career prospects. As a freelance photo editor, precision in describing your skills can set you apart from the competition.

4.    Set a Marketing Strategy

Hardly does any business, be it service-oriented or otherwise, stand a shot at succeeding without towing along the path of a well-developed marketing strategy. To get more eyes on your portfolio, it’d be a great idea to try and reach more customers through the internet.

You needn’t necessarily restrict yourself to freelancing websites in landing gigs. Running a paid ad on Facebook or even Google could get more eyes on your business and improve your client list.

Starting an editing-niched blog and delivering quality content to your audience has also improved your client list. It’s a great way to pass yourself off as an expert in the field without incurring much overhead.

Building an audience on LinkedIn would also help in no small measure. Post engaging content relevant to your field regularly on the network. If you’re too busy to add that to your list of to-dos, consider outsourcing to specialists.

You can also employ many other tactics to get more customers. One of such could be to start a referral program. You might decide to hack off a sizeable cut-off the next order a client if they referred some new clients.

For freelance photo editors transitioning to different roles, knowing how to prepare resumes for job fairs can be a game-changer. Showcasing your editing prowess in these environments can open a world of opportunities.

5.    Get Your Resume Ready

If you’d rather work at a structured company, then it’s time to create your resume. One smart way to get this done quickly would be to check for online templates, and you might also consider outsourcing to the best creative resume writers to speed up the process.

Remember to highlight your achievements and provide a link to your online portfolio to boost your chances of getting an interview invite.

Basic Requirements to Become a Freelance Photo Editor

To recap. To become a freelance photo editor, you must be well-versed with Industry tools, like Photoshop, Lightroom, Gimp, and so on, and must also be highly creative. A verifiable stint as a professional would also come in handy in landing contract work.

Consider interning at any agency you might be interested in if you do not have any relevant working experience. Such stints typically allow you to build a sustainable network with clients and editors like yourself. Getting a degree in a photography field would also be useful, although not a hard requirement.

As a budding freelance photo editor, knowing how to present your qualifications effectively is crucial. Learn how to write EdD on resume and make your freelance profile stand out to potential clients.


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