freelance photography

Freelance Photography: Learn How to Charge Outsourced Photo Editing

Freelance photography is one of the good profession as well. Are you looking to outsource your photo editing work and don’t know where to start? Use these tips to figure out what works best for you and your clients.

When you become a freelance photographer, you get used to creating beautiful images for your clients. But you know, pressing the shutter button doesn’t stop work. Nowadays, the client prefers perfect clipping paths and polished images.

For some photographers, photo editing is part of the job. For others, it’s an unnecessary, tedious task they don’t want to do.

 If you enjoy photo editing, guess what? You can turn it into an upsell, when you set up your photo editing services properly, you don’t even have to shoot anymore-you can trade on your camera to make a living as a photo editor.

 That’s right: if you outsource your pajamas, you can theoretically make a decent income from home!

If this sounds good to you, then you’re probably starting to figure out how to charge for photo editing and what photo editing rate to set. Below, we’ll discuss the hourly vs. replica vs. flat free rate, how to determine which number to drop and make sure you’re included in those rates and how you can make more money by outsourcing something Of work.

Included with photography vs. editing as a separate service

You can only offer editing services or add them to your existing photography packages:

Freelance photography: Edit as a standalone service

Photo editing may be the only thing you offer as a service and while helpful, you don’t have to have photography experience to be a photo editor. 

However, you need to have a creative eye and a deep knowledge of professional photo editing software. Remember, if you offer photo editing as a standalone service, your website and social media channels should be designed with photographers in mind-they are not the source of your business, the person or organization taking the photos. Do you offer cooling or custom preset creation? Highlight how you can make the job of a photographer easier.

Freelance photography: Includes editing

Some photographers prefer to wrap edits in their photo packages. Photographers who have now created their business in a unique style may like this route and depending on their follow-up, they may have some popular editing gifts available for purchase.

Usually, packages are based, in part, on the number of photos the customer receives. Customers select one of their favorite shots and they will be edited images as part of the package. If you wrap the editing of your photography package, make sure you note it on your website. Let customers know that the price includes touch-ups, color correction, etc.

Your editing method comes down to your personal preference, involving much more than just taking great photos for running a photography business. “In addition to shooting, which is extremely time consuming and editing (more time-intensive), photographers manage clients, consult, contract, account, keep up to date on Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest, website maintenance and frequent blog updates,” said Katie Rivera a fulltime photo editor.

Depending on the workload, sometimes outsourcing editing is more efficient. If you offer editing as a service, your freelance photography rate will be used depending on whether you wrap the edits with your photography or whether you offer editing as a standalone service.

Freelance Photography: Find out what you should charge

Determining how much will charge your client for photography is challenging in itself. The internal debate probably goes something like this:

How long will it take me to do this work?

How big their budget seems?

Am I overpricing? low price?

Am I going to lose this client if I charge too much?

And when you grow your business and start outsource photo editing work, the disaster becomes more complicated. 

While outsourcing work can save you time and help you make more money, you need to make sure that you are charging enough to cover those extra fees from your client and that it suits your time.

Factors Affecting Your Photo Editing Rate

Turnaround time

As a general rule, the faster your client needs to work, the higher the charge. Before agreeing to work, ask your clients what their deadlines are for specific projects. This will affect how much you spend on outsourcing photo editing work and the rate you pay your client.

 In general, clients understand a higher rate if they give you less time to complete a project. 

The complexity of editing

First, let’s define “edit”. There are many ways to edit a photo and each requires a different amount of time, skill, and knowledge.

Simple photo editing: There is simple editing, which involves making fundamental changes such as color correction or straightening the horizon. A basic edit like a chair can add a drop shadow.

Photo retouching: Then there is retouching, which includes more details such as removing glare from the glass or expanding the background of the photo.

Special photo editing: And finally, there are special edits. This may include changing the color of an item, smoothing out the wrinkles, or completely changing the background. This level of retouching can take anywhere from 10 minutes to hours per photo.

Variety of images of freelance photography

The cost of photo editing will also vary depending on the type of photo. For example, are the product photos, portraits, real estate, or editorial photos? Different amounts of editing anything from general editing to more intensive retrieval. To edit sports, music, and other types of event photography, you need a strong understanding of the culture and coverage trends of this particular niche. Some edit choices may seem outdated or out of touch.

Similarly, certain types of photographs will require some amount of industrial knowledge (for example real estate or product photography). Build on that time and skill at your cost rate. 


Next, determine how many rounds of editing you will allow for each image. If they are not happy with the first set of photos, how many times will you allow them to change? It is best to have an extra contract with this condition with some customers, it is very easy to suck in an endless hole of correction.

Corresponding outsourcing fees

In some cases, this may mean outsourcing editing to a reputable company. Although it costs money, some basic editing saves a considerable amount of money that you can fill in with the time saved. It frees you to touch the finishing touch with your own hands and then returns the set to your client. Clipping paths in India, for example, clipping paths start at just 49 per image. With this option, you can make your editing services much more competitive.

Freelance photography Cost of image editing software

There is no shortage of readily available photo editing software. Here are just a few you can explore:

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom: Adobe may be the most recognized name in photo editing. Their editor is a cloud-based app that works on desktops, mobiles, and tablets. Lightroom simplifies basic edits and Photoshop offers advanced options. You can buy Photoshop yourself or choose plan lightroom. ($9.99 to $19.99 per month.)

Affinity Photo: Affinity is another powerful photo editor. It has more power than lightroom, but it probably won’t make sense to have both affinity and Photoshop. You can use all the features on both desktops and iPads. It is considered a more affordable option. (Selling $24.99, usually $49.99)

Luminar AI: Luminar AI uses artificial intelligence to suggest edits. It’s easy to use and requires less learning than Photoshop, for example. (From $69.00 to $197.00 per year.)    

If none of these options match the bill, there are plenty of other photo editing technologies to choose from. Take the time to research your options and choose the one that suits your needs.

Set up your price structure

When it comes to pricing your edits, there are a few differences in setting your rate. Some photographers or editors use complex calculations, but for the most part, editing rates are usually expressed in three different ways: by the hour, by the project, and by the image. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.


Charging hours means you get what you consider fair compensation for one hour of your time and it is relatively easy to calculate how much you will earn for the tasks you take on. 

The downsides, however, include those customers who are upset about how long the work took and clients who think they will be overcharged.

If you pay the bill every hour, always provide a quote to the client. In quotes, make sure the language is written about the time to correct. 

The average rate is about $45 to 100 USD per hour. For complex and detailed work that rate can go up to 500 USD per hour.

Flat rate per photo

A per image fee is easy to understand and makes it easy for you to calculate rates. The main downside is that on rare occasions, editing a photo can take longer than usual, which means you’re doing less work. 

The average rate goes from 30c to $7 per photo. (Considers the type of editing required and the image in a wide range. Jewelry, for example, is often difficult to edit.)

Project fee

Project fees are simple: potential clients know how much they will cost. One downside is that if the project takes longer than you expected, you may end up losing or losing money. 

Project fees vary widely depending on the size and scope of the project. For a smaller project, be sure to discuss your minimum project rate.


A holder means that a client pays in advance to ensure that your services are available to them for a specified time. This type of payment is usually used for long-term projects or access to services regularly. Most holders last for a month or more.

 It is important to budget your time when your client has a retainer. It is not usually wise for you to rely on a client for 100% of your income, so they need to combine their work with the work of other clients. 

The average holder varies depending on the client and the reasoning. Typically, holder fees start at about one thousand per month.


Some photographers and photo editors choose to set up packages for clients to choose from. Services are shared (usually in a good, best set-up) so that potential clients know exactly what they’re getting. Alternatives and upgrades should also be available on the A-la-carte.

Freelance photography: How to present your photo editing rate to potential clients

Once you’ve discussed potential jobs, it’s time to present your rates. For more intuitive work, you can feel free to give your client your rate immediately. For many jobs, it’s wise to email a quote to q potential client this way it’s all written down (and easy to mention if they have questions). 

In your quote, be very clear about the details. This will benefit both you and the client. Includes:

The scope of work has been discussed

Proposed timeline 

Allocation amendment 

Delivery method 

Terms of payment

A written quote can also be a good opportunity for upselling. For example, if the client asks about basic editing, you can include your rates for additional services or more advanced editing options. Note: This should probably be in a separate document so that the client is not confused.

You can take a look at our services listed below:

Product photo editing service

Clipping path

Photo retouching

Jewelry retouching

Graphic Design