When you decide to work as a photo editor, you first need to make up your mind about whether you want to take up photo editing as your profession or just as a hobby. Needless to say, if you have decided to take it up as a profession, you need to be more serious about providing professional photo editing services to your clients.
In this post, I will throw some light into the world of professional photo editing. This post is intended to help newbie photo editors.
Prepare Yourself: First of all, you need to be prepared to face questions like what exactly do you do, what your job is etc. Most people are not familiar with the concept of editing or retouching pictures. You have to keep in mind that this job has a wide variety of aspects and thus it is not like most other jobs.
Know Your Job: A professional who edits pictures does a lot more than just editing. He/she needs to look closely into the picture to find out what changes need to be made according to their client’s needs. They also have to be ready for impromptu work because clients do not always have a clear idea of what they want from editors. You have to form an idea in your mind by asking questions to your client.
Sometimes, clients may just ask you to improve the lighting or add some shadow effects to their photos, or they might even want to you to create a retro look or a futuristic look in their picture. Sometimes you may even be asked to remove someone from a snapshot or merge a couple of individual snapshots to make a group portrait. You have to know the tricks to take care of these jobs successfully.
In this age, many people, especially business owners download a snapshot from an online source and ask editors to ‘retouch’ the picture so that they can use it on their company’s promotional materials or worse, corporate identity. These people do not understand the concept of copyright. You have to be able to convince them that you cannot undertake such work because of copyright issues and that they would have to use stock photos instead. Remember to always use images that have the Creative Commons license.
Photoshop and Other Tools: You have to be well-versed with Photoshop because it is a powerful tool for retouching, modifying or manipulating images. Besides, you have to be aware of the photo editing software available in the market – how to use them, when the new versions are coming up etc. Browse the internet for tutorials and tips to get the most out of your software.
Create Samples: Clients do not always understand technical terms. For instance, if you ask them whether they want noise reduction in their image, not all of them may understand. This is where the need for creating samples arises. Create some examples using your imagination and tools that you can get your hands on, focusing on different aspects of modifying and manipulating images. When they approach you with a project, listen to their needs and show them your examples. You can also put these samples in your portfolio.
Network: Get to know photographers, agencies and editors like you. Connect with them on social media, comment on their blogs and interact with them. Exchanging ideas, critiquing their work, requesting critiques for your work etc. are ways to network with other professionals in your field. This would help you get more projects and stay updated about the latest happenings in your field.
In the end, always keep honing your skills. Remember, modifying images is a part of a huge field called graphic design. Learn as much as you can about the subject and never stop learning.
All the best and do share your comments with us!