Ep. 56 Becoming a Photo Editor, with Alisa McCormick

March 15, 2022

When I started this podcast, the goal was to bring mothers in different indutries to this community so that YOU can see the variety of ways you can either start a side hustle or jump right in to a new career with skills you may already have. Today’s guest is not only an amazing listen, but selfishly so fun as she is in the photography space – so I got to geek out on somethings! Alisa McCormick is a private photography editor for weddings who started her career as a photographer! We talk about how she was a stay at home mom and wanted a way to reinvent herself, so teamed up with her daughter to start a photography business. She tells me how she transitioned to being a photo editor and how she made that her full time work. She has continued to learn and grow in the space and wanted to find a way to support and share her tips, so she created a course for photo editing!

I love that so many of Alisa’s tips are not only for those in photography. She talks about how important your network is and how she has really focused on finding careers for the different chapters of her life (serious goals)! I know you will love this episode just as much as I did, so make sure to check out her site and feed after you listen!

56. Becoming a Photo Editor, with Alisa McCormick

When I started this podcast, the goal was to bring mothers in different indutries to this community so that YOU can see the variety of ways you can either start a side hustle or jump right in to a new career with skills you may already have.

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Full Transcript:

Dana: Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your baby’s first I would have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings. My name is Dana Graham, and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 hour workweeks that go either until I did. The wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans and made the terrifying and totally bizarre leap from Health Insurance Program to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and a newborn into only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds. Doing it all. Alright, everybody, welcome back to another episode of amidst the chaos. I am here this week with Alisa McCormick. We’re going to talk all about her journey into entrepreneurship and how she runs her business on a day to day basis and how she got there and all the things So Lisa, thanks for being here. Welcome. Thank you.

Alisa: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited.

Dana: It’s so funny to talk to somebody in my realm of business because I get like, I was just talking to Lauren, my marketing manager, she was playing we had a little meeting and I was telling her I was like, it’s somebody in my wheelhouse. Like, I’m so excited to pick your brain and hear all the photographer. Yes. So give me an overview of what you do now and where your businesses today so that we can pack up and have an idea of where we’re going for your story.

Alisa: Absolutely. So I have been a private photo editor for this is my seventh year so I’m going on my seventh year. I have edited well over 1000 weddings. My main my main source of income is through professional wedding photographers, and I ended at home it’s a wonderful, wonderful job and you can make your own hours. You are your own boss. You can have as many or as few clients as you want and really, I say you can work from home you really can work from anywhere in the world. I know a guy who does this and she and her husband took a year off and just traveled the country and went to every national park in the US of A in a year while she edited so it’s really it’s a it’s just an amazing opportunity. I love it. I used to be a photographer like you and someone actually approached me a husband and wife photography duo approached me and asked if I would edit for them and I didn’t even know that was a thing. I thought right edit for somebody else. I’ve never even heard of that. But as they explained it to me and I thought about it I thought this would be amazing. I wouldn’t be tied to anything else except this it could go with me wherever my laptop could go. And I just fell in love with it. I never looked back so I haven’t shot professionally for six years ever since I discovered this game. That was it for me.

Dana: Wow. That’s it truly is incredible into there. So you know this podcast a lot of it the original inspiration for creating it was about finding freedom, like freedom to you know, live your life on your own terms. Right this like you have so much so many of our guests have freedom and that they can choose how many clients they serve and what their prices are and you know they can have less prices for higher prices for less customers and less work, right? You’re still tied to a physical location or whatever they’re doing or their actual service for people whereas this is one of the few jobs that’s truly completely virtual and totally on your own time. So Okay, talk to me about how you even became an entrepreneur in the first place like where did where was your life like before you’re even a photographer like talk to me about how you got into the realm of working for yourself. Okay, so

Alisa: I am a grandmother now but I was a stay at home mom for years and years and years. We had four kids and I actually homeschooled with the kids all day every day loved it wouldn’t change it. But once the kids grew up and started moving away and getting married, I knew I had to reinvent myself I was like Okay, now what what do I want to do now? And at the time my second child which is daughter had started a photography business and she had asked me to join her, like, Help me Help me with the business helped me run it helped me build my website, and I thought this would be so fun. So I did. She got into wedding photography, and before I knew it had also she dragged me along into that and told me you gotta be my second shooter and I was like, I am never going to shoot and never, never that’s never going to happen. And then fast forward we became a dual mother and daughter team we shot weddings for four years and loved it loved every minute of it being in business with her just was just a blast. She got married and moved away. So then I thought okay, now what? I didn’t have any grandbabies at the time that I knew I loved babies and I thought I want to try newborn photography. I never had any interest in doing weddings on my own. So I knew that’s not anything that I would continue with right? So I mentored with a gal that did newborns and then I shot newborns and maternity for four years opened up a little studio here in my area. Absolutely loved it. But again, I didn’t have the freedom I was tied to my studio. I was tied to my sessions and things like that. So when I was approached by this husband and wife team that shot weddings about editing for them that’s what really attracted me was I thought at this time now I did have a grandbaby that did not live in the same state as me ah job that I could take with me and I could go see my grandbaby whenever I wanted. So that’s kind of how I transitioned from being a photographer into being a private photo editor.

Dana: I love that transition. So, by the way, if if and when my mom listens to this episode, she’s going to be like, I get that like she does not want to do anything that would tie her down to not be able to come to us at the drop of a hat which is that I can tell you I appreciate very much. Talk to me about the pivot from weddings to newborn because you made it sound easy, but was it for you like it might have been but was that easy for you? Because I know some people really struggle like it’s an educational difference, but it’s also it’s a client different clientele base. Obviously you have people that have gotten married so maybe they’re having babies but it still is a total it recharging less like it’s a very different market. So it is how addition for you.

Alisa: You know, it’s funny, that’s such a good question. For me, what I did is I knew I couldn’t just strike out on my own. And so I did find a gal in my area that was very good at what she did. She had a newborn studio and all she did was newborns and maternity sessions. And so I went to her and I said, I want to learn from you. I will clean your studio. I will cook your meals I will come clean your house. You know can we set up a trade system where I could just come to your sessions and learn from you watch you I you know, I can assist you. And that’s kind of how it started for me. I just gleaned everything I could from her and then the funny thing is is rides get you know they’re getting married and having babies. Some of my very first clients were past brides it was because I was in the industry I could just easily let the people I knew and I was very involved in the industry. I did local industry events. You know I did tons of different conferences and continuing education whenever I could. So I knew a lot of people in the industry. So it was an easy transition for me to say, Hey, I’m not doing weddings anymore. I’m doing newborns in maternity. Most wedding photographers want nothing to do with newborn and maternity sessions, so that they knew me they trusted me and I could say send me your brides when your brides start having babies. Send them to me and they did. So my business actually grew very quickly and I I had more business than I could handle for the four years that I did it but I think that was because I had been in the industry long enough that I had a lot of people that knew me and trusted me and they would send me their clients because it is a it’s very specified niche in the photography industry. And you don’t just do families and weddings and seniors. Oh, when I do newborns, it really is very specified niche so most photographers either all they do as newborns or they don’t touch newborns.

Dana: Right. I have a friend who is just his back in Virginia and obviously I’m not in Virginia right now. And so she is a real estate agent. She needed a branding shoot down and she’s like, I’m so sad. You’re not here and I’m like, no like you don’t want me anyway like, it would be fine but like I would do a good job but somebody else will do better. Like exactly is their niche like they are a branding photographer. They put in all the effort. And I don’t think people realize that. Like I don’t think people realize that like your specialty as a photographer makes you who you are and makes your service be actually so much more exceptional if they really know what they’re doing. And so obviously starting out a lot of people do it all which is great and sometimes you have to but once you can really kind of niche down and figure out what you’re really good at. I feel like that’s when my business really took off and I got much better once I realized this what I’m actually good at

Alisa: and to your audience if I if I could if I could just throw this out not only what you’re good at, but that is your passion and what brings you joy. If I understand that as a photographer, a lot of times we do start out shooting everything. But I would say do that until you find the thing that you love. Because then it’s not going to feel like drudgery. It’s just going to be a joy. If you love shooting the newborns. Do the newborns if you love shooting weddings, do the weddings, because it is hard work. But if you’re good, it’s going to bring you joy. It’s what you you’re passionate about and what you’d love to shoot. And it’s going to make you feel better

Dana: Yes. And your clients feel like they’re more comfortable and they’re more willing to book you when you’re obviously passionate about what you’re doing. But you also have the experience. And I feel like along with what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at. You also need to think about what’s going to work for you and your family because for more likely point I would love to shoot weddings like that would be so fun. For me like I would have a blast. Like I’d love that age group of people like it’s just fun. Like there’s a lot of fun to be had there. But if I did that it would be all my weekends gone a lot during the week, like a lot, a lot, a lot of hours and that’s our time. And so for me that wasn’t there wasn’t really an option. So you really have to think all the way around about what’s going to be the best for you and your family and for your heart too. So right so for speaking of which, for your family and for your heart, you then kind of fell into photo editing. So at that point, were you able to just like tap back into your whole network and client of clientele to be able to say hey, I’m hopping into editing if you need to outsource. I’m your gal or like how did that work?

Alisa: Right? So I actually had a leg up. The husband and wife team that originally contacted me to see if I would be interested in editing for them is one of the top names in the industry. So they shoot weddings all over the world. Clients have flown them to Paris to shoot surprise engagements. They were very, very well known in the industry and I just happened to meet them at an industry event and I’m literally old enough to be their mother. We just fell in love with each other. I just kind of loved him like my kids, we’d always look for each other at the you know all the industry events and conferences that we would end up at together. And so when they were thinking editing, they thought of me having said that once I agreed to do it, I only edited for them for the whole first year. And so I did. I did my photography half time. I brought on a partner for my newborn business. Did photography half time and then edited for them the rest of the time. They moved into education and stopped shooting. They went from 40 weddings to about average about three weddings. A year. So I told him I was like, you just do not have enough work for me. You got to fire me. Let me go. And I’m like you need to fire me and then I’ll just edit for other people. I love this. I think I want to shut my studio doors. I want to do this instead. And so they did put out a blurb on that they had a private Facebook group from all they had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that had purchased their educational materials. And they simply just put out a little blurb saying our private editor is taking on a few more clients if you’re interested. Let me know and within 30 minutes I had to call them and say please take that down. I have 80 people doing all these inquiries, so I did have a leg up. Having said that I only took on two or three of those people and from there I’ve never wants to advertise that never wants done anything my business has built entirely by word of mouth and that is very typical in this industry. The hardest part about becoming a private editor is getting your first few clients. It does take some legwork got a knock on some doors. You got to make the effort to go to industry events and things like that. Once you have your first few clients, as you know as a photographer, photographers talk with other photographers, we have friends in the industry, and when you take on an editor is life changing for most photographers and they are shouting your name from the hilltops. And so yes, once you have a first few clients, your business really does start to gain momentum and you you build your business that way by word of mouth. So that’s kind of how it What’s

Dana: that and that’s what kind of what happened to me like as a photographer, like I think it’s less often with for wedding photographers because it’s not as popular of a thing like you’re not having wedding every single year but you are getting families most years you know, those, those clients that are getting really do spread word of mouth and for any photographers that are listening, if you’re in that first year of your business and you’re wondering how you’re going to keep getting clients remember that like if you’re doing a good job for them. Not only are they recommending you to their friends and family who are seeing their pictures that they’re posting on social media, but also they’re gonna come back like that’s one great thing about our family, a newborn and family photographer is that they have more babies, they want more pictures taken you have their babies get bigger so I would say get through those first, like 18 months, and then all of a sudden it’s like, huh, I have a whole thing. That’s like, right, well, that was easy looking at it. It’s like okay, well we’re here we’re at the promised land.

Alisa: So, so true and just to encourage those photographers I’m not kidding when I say your clients become your friends. You shoot them so many times. Yes, they really do become friends there. I have clients I’ve been invited to weddings. I’ve been invited to baby showers. I have clients we shot their engagement sessions, their weddings, then their maternity session and their newborn session and their family session and they literally have become friends. So that it takes a while it takes a while to build that. But it can’t it says yeah, it does.

Dana: Okay, so when you started editing for these other photographers, were you saying okay, I’m your private editor for all the weddings or were you like taking things on a case by case basis? Like, hey, I need this wedding edited XYZ, and is there a strategy when you’re starting your business behind that? Like, would you rather have editing clients that are like, hey, I need you for the year or editing clients or like on a case by case project basis?

Alisa: Right. Very good question. So I actually have a course that teaches people to do exactly what I do. And so I do go into it in great detail, but I’ll do my best to kind of give you the Reader’s Digest version terminar. It’s better to find the niche that you want to edit. So in other words, there are editors that only edit portrait, you know, family type sessions are editors that only edit weddings. And then I would say even niche it down further because as you know, there are different kinds of photography out there. There’s the dark and moody there’s the light and airy, there’s the film esque look and if you make yourself niche down as an editor, you’re going to be a better editor for your clients. Because you’ll get a keen eye in the truest sense your eye becomes very keen to that style, and you become a better editor for your clients. Because you are niched down and you’re not trying to edit a dark and moody family portrait one day and a lightened airy wedding the next day. And then the third day you’re editing a maternity session that’s cut that film look, you know you really just niche down again just as when you start photography when you start editing professionally, you may take a few clients from each niche until you find what you love till you find what you’re really good at what you’re is drawn to that I would encourage you as you go to really niche down and then there is a vetting process. Say that as an editor, you’re not necessarily I’m going to take every client that comes to you. A lot of times photographers are looking for an editor before they’re really ready for an editor. And what I mean by that is they really need to have an understanding of the camera, they need to shoot in manual mode, if they’re shooting in auto mode is going to be very hard for your editor to return a gallery that is cohesive and consistent, because that when you’re shooting in auto mode, things can change in your photos from image to image. And so for your editor to be able to deliver a cohesive gallery back to you is going to be next to impossible. And it won’t be profitable for the editor because it will take so long, right so a photographer really has to understand like they need to know their camera they need to be able to shoot in manual mode, and things like that before they really are and understand that their style what is their style What do they want their images to look like? A lot of times when we start out as photographers, one session is maybe a little dark one sessions, maybe a little white, one sessions, maybe a little pink, the next one’s a little yellow, because we’re still you know, how do we want our greens. How do we want our skin tones? We’re still trying to figure out what our style is. So photographers really not ready for an editor till they have a very clear understanding of their style so they can explain it to the editor. Yeah, and then really have a very good understanding of their camera and how it works and an understanding of how to find the right light and all of that. So there is a vetting process I have as an editor to make sure that I’m going to be a good fit for them. They’re going to be a good fit for me. So I don’t just take everybody that comes. And then once I am someone’s editor, I do give them I call it a service agreement. I’ll call it a contract. Because primarily I always want to just make sure that I’m a good fit right on my client. Wait for them. Yeah, so if any point in the process, let’s say six months and I’ve just not the right fit and they’re seeing that I’m not the right fit. I want them to feel the freedom to go find an editor that is the right fit. So there’s no like contract. I do ask for a notice if they’re going to move on. And I would do the same thing for them. But I do have a service agreement just so there’s no misunderstanding. This is what I charge per image. This is my turnaround time. This is how I’ll notify you if you know when my vacations are coming things like that.

Dana: I love like consistency that brings for you and your business because and not in for them to but also for you because you’re no like okay, this is what I have going on. This is how many weddings that they have this year this you know it’s a bit more predictable as opposed to like, the hustle bustle of like okay, I need some more clients for February like those heads. You know, like I feel like it does give you a little bit more consistency in there for sure. Right?

Alisa: Because I do wedding photography at the beginning of every year. I have my people book, you know, a year or two years in advance. So I have my photographer send me all of their weddings for that year. And I put them on my calendar. So weddings are always added. But I have a pretty clear idea of how many weddings I’m going to have for the year I’m in as of January. So today I can sit here and tell you how many weddings I have in May. So it’s easy for me to know can I take on more clients do I need to just stop worrying that I got it?

Dana: Right? So talk to me, okay, we went through how you got into photography in the first place and then how you got into editing but talk to me about how you went into education because it sounds like well, I know from checking everything out. It’s this course you have to teach people how to edit photos is super comprehensive and amazing. So what made you want to get into education and how has that been going like how has that changed your business at all?

Alisa: You know, I sound so corny but for years and years in the first three or four years of my business on the monthly I would say to my husband this is a dream job. Believe that I get to do this job. I can work from anywhere. It’s very lucrative. I adore my clients. So I I just loved it and I would go on and on about it. And he used to sit and I used to say I want everybody to know about this. I have a heart especially for young moms that would love to be able to stay home with their kids don’t want to work outside the home but need to bring in a second income. And I used to say this would be perfect. They could do this when their kids are in school. Then they could put their laptop away and be done for the day and he used to say you need to just teach up you need to teach up you need to teach them and then last year I decided okay, this is the year and I just started writing down everything I do everything I had learned in the six years that I had been doing it and just I left no stone unturned. I opened my playbook I give I give him everything every literally every template, every email every just everything I do so that people if they had a desire to do what I do would be able, it’s like a business in a box. They would be able to go through the course and then go find their clients and be able to do what I do. That was really where it started as I just I just wanted to provide the opportunity for other people and even people my age who kids whose kids are grown, but they want the freedom to travel like you can travel more at my age than you could when you had littles but you know but they want to bring in a second income they’re not ready to retire. So there were just several different seasons and age groups. I could think of that this would be such a good fit for and I didn’t I found out after I created my course there were other people teaching it but at the time I didn’t know anybody was even teaching it. And I thought people have to hear this. So I

Dana: I’m like sitting over here laughing like patting myself on the back because everything you just said hit every single nail on the head for why I started this podcast series. You were like I just wanted to give the opportunity. I mean literally everything you said was you just absolutely sold why this podcast even exists. And I will be using this all over social media because when I found you and when I found it I was like this is this is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s opportunities like this where you have the flexibility and flexibility to work from home, on your own time on your own schedule and have it be rewarding. And have it be something

Alisa: that really is. My daughter actually does this now the one that used to we shot together. When she saw me doing it. She’s like, ah, yeah, I want this gig. And so she has three kids. She has three kids, and she gets up before they get up and she edits for several hours, closes her laptop and a lot of times she’s done for the day, or she might open the laptop again during nap time edit for a couple of more hours and she’s done for the day. So I don’t even know that her kids would consider her a working mom because she’s able to work when they’re occupied with other things and it’s awesome because she she always she calls it her play money. So now she has she has play money you know money wiggle room, it gives them wiggle room in their budget that they wouldn’t otherwise have. And yet she’s still able to stay home and be the stay at home mom that she wants to be. So it really is just an incredible opportunity. And like you said, I totally feel you when you find something like this. I’m so grateful that you have a podcast to let people know about these opportunities because you do want to tell others like Wait there’s this you can do this. It’s amazing.

Dana: So good for you. Thank you I didn’t I didn’t need that but I appreciate it. But it that’s that’s one of the things about this is that you don’t even know what’s out there. Like if you’re not in the land if that’s not your you know, love language or you weren’t brought up where people are getting family photos every year. Like that just wasn’t part of your world. You wouldn’t even know that this right is an option or this is a thing that’s out there. So talk to me about people that have enrolled in your course. Do you have people in your course and is it fit for somebody who doesn’t have photography experience? Like what do you what are some qualifications or things like some personality traits of people that would make them a good editor even without photography experience?

Alisa: Good question. So to answer your first question, yes, you can do this whether or not you’ve been a photographer, and I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The advantage of being in the photography world when you decide to be an editor is you do have friends in the industry. So it’s easier for you to meet photographers and say hey, I’m editing now and kind of change your role to editor but you’re in the industry, you know people in the industry, but the disadvantage to being a photographer when you start editing is you already have a pretty defined idea of what beauty is. It’s hard for you to then mimic someone else’s style because maybe their greens seem off to you or their skin tones seem to pink to you. But it doesn’t matter what you think. You all you’re doing as an editor is mimicking your client’s style and I think that’s harder for someone that’s been a photographer because they already have an idea of what everything should look like. So to answer it succinctly, yes, you can either have been in the industry and benefit tog refer or never picked up a camera in your life. And to answer your second question I do I have both. I have students that have never shot professionally don’t even own a camera. And I have photographers that have transitioned from being a photographer to being a full time editor. So I have both and then I also have people in all walks of life. I have husband and wife teams. I have men doing this. I have women doing this and in all different seasons. I have new moms. I have women that are my age and that are grandmothers. So it really can fit just about anybody if it’s something that they think they would like doing. Then the other thing I would say when you talked about personality types, people look at me when they find out what I do. And they think oh, you must be so creative. And I really wouldn’t consider myself a creative type. I feel like I’m much more of an administrative type. Because you really are mimicking someone else’s style. It’s not about my creativity. It’s not about what I think is pretty it’s about being able to look at an image and make the image next to look the same. So that when I give a gallery back to a client, ideally, they shouldn’t be able to tell which images I edited and which photos they edited. So you really are more mimicking than being a creative if that makes sense. So if you’re great Oh, yeah, I guess attention to detail. Excellent. Yes, would be something else that you’re good at that. You have an eye for things like that if it would also be a good fit for you.

Dana: Yeah, I feel like this is one of those things that you’re like, Well, I’ve never done anything with the photo like I don’t even know like what programs you use. Like I’m not tech savvy, like I feel like it’s one of those things that people will give a lot of reasons why they can’t do it. And I feel like from the other side of it, where you know, I taught I mean I took courses but I never had like a straight up mentor like you kind of figure it out. You know, like you can figure it out as you go and I feel like this is kind of a similar situation. But there are a lot of obstacles and hurdles where people are like, Oh, well I can’t do that because of this and there’s a lot of room for excuses in the industry in our clients but I feel like that’s why you know, having somebody like you who does it all and teaches it all and like has the full Business in a Box is a way to give yourself some confidence like okay, I trust that there’s more than one topic covered here. And we’re going to answer all these questions so well and

Alisa: to put people at ease as an editor is really the only use one software. It’s called light right with Adobe Lightroom. That’s it. And the funny thing is is there are just 1000s and 1000s of tutorials free tutorials online to learn how to use Lightroom. But even having said that, you don’t need to know every slider and all the things that light can do. And that’s why I think the course is helpful because I show you pretty much all you’re going to need as an editor. So when you first open Lightroom I could see where it be would be overwhelming for someone literally and it would be easier to say there’s no way I could ever do this. But you used to have the six tabs that are available in Lightroom and you use maybe eight of the 30 sliders that are available. You’re not using Lightroom comprehensively. You’re just using it to mimic the image that your client has sent you. So it’s so much easier than it looks on the surface. But I do understand why it would seem intimidating, but it’s really really not it’s really not that hard. Yeah, I used to tell my husband, a trained monkey could do this. Like you’re calling yourself a trained monkey. I’m like well, it’s really not that hard. But so

Dana: I’m just being realistic and it inspires so much should inspire confidence in people who are thinking about doing something like this because honestly it sounds like the dream job. So what are there any negative aspects of this and obviously like you love your job we’ve been really fit through that. But tell me some of the things that might make this either not a good fit or might make you feel burnout. Like what are some of the struggles that you have? As photo?

Alisa: Gosh, that’s a really good question. And I will real so I’m really going to try to think of those. One that’s the one that comes to top of mind is it’s feast or famine. So there is because I do wedding photography. There’s definitely seasons and off seasons. And so I’ve often said to my husband, I wish that I could spread it all out. And what I mean by that is in January, I had three weddings on the calendar and in May I think I have like 32 Weddings crop the calendar. So you so you have seasons where you’re you know you’re through and then you have seasons where you’re working hard every day to get those weddings back to your clients in your you know, turnaround time that you promised them. So that is the one drawback that works for me. I’m older and I don’t have liberals running around. If you have little kids and you had, you know a ton of other commitments, you would have to be very, very thoughtful about your busy season. To make sure you weren’t over committing and then also to kind of like a picture like a teacher. Teachers get paid, what is it eight or nine months of the year and then they’re not getting paid through the summer so you would have to budget for that. So if you wanted to make the same amount of money every month, then you would have to you know, just take note of your slow months and put away for money during your busy months. Because it’s not even there are seasons and busy seasons. So I would say that would definitely be a drawback for some people. I really am trying to think if there’s no

Dana: only I don’t know if any it would be because would be like the strain on your eyes. Like for me because you can’t wear a blue light glasses. like for me, even just during the fall I feel the strain on my eyes more like during busy season.

Alisa: When do you edit on a laptop or do you have a nice little monitor? So I don’t edit on the laptop unless I’m traveling. I like my laptop so I use my laptop as my main computer. But I have a huge external monitor. And I plug my laptop into my external monitor and I edit on a 27 inch screen. I think if I edited on a laptop all day or every day, I think it would strain my eyes but I don’t ever get headaches. I don’t feel eyestrain, but I think that’s probably because I’m on a bigger screen.

Dana: I love that recommendation because I think I think you’re probably right like squinting to like make sure right.

Alisa: I did I get that I’m also at a desk and I’m sitting in a really comfy chair. I’m not hunched over I’m making sure you have good posture and because I’m sitting there for several hours, many hours a day. So I think all of that helps. So maybe that’s just a thought I don’t know. I because I do editors that edit on laptops and they do fine.

Dana: They’re fine. Yeah. But a super sensitive person in all aspects of my life including apparently with my eyes. So so obviously you know you were super honest about like just being in the right place at the right time knowing the right people that kind of got you the in into editing but how are you continuing to grow your business I know especially your educational side of things because I know you provide great, great resources for people on social media. So talk to me about how you’re managing like your marketing and your social media. While you’re actually running your company and editing 32 weddings in May that is crazy. By the way for people who are listening.

Alisa: Literally I’m like sad as the last couple years in this industry have been as you know just been crazy. You know I haven’t done very well I just get I just real I opposite. I feel like you do. I did really well until the fall. And then I went some illness in our family. My brother died in November. I took a big break from social media. And I just haven’t been able I haven’t gotten back into it and I need to I love doing the tutorials. I love teaching people what I know everything I have learned I have learned from someone else. We all stand on someone else’s shoulders that have gone before us. And I love passing that on so I do miss that. I just haven’t lately been on social media very much. I just kind of enjoyed the break. But that’s basically where I have promoted My course is through social media. As far as continuing my client base as an editor, I really was not kidding. 99% of that is been through word of mouth. I mean, there have been a few people that have reached out to me that have found me on Instagram. But more often than not a new client comes from a past client. So and since I’ve started I’ve never really ever had a one for clients. I’ve always I’ve characterized by having to turn people away because I just don’t have room in my calendar. So yeah, my shoes another great thing about this job. Once you get started and people know your name and your photographer is you know because you do develop a great relationship with your clients. I’ve had some of the same clients for five years. So it it just becomes something that they talk about freely when they’re any industry event and so they’re their friends are always contacting me and so that’s really how I stay top of mind for people. Is it’s just it’s word of mouth mainly.

Dana: And then what are you on social media?

Alisa: Right and so for that like if somebody listening who let’s say they’ve already started business I know we have several obviously guests will come back and listen to episodes from from other guests just to get tips about running a business.

Dana: So if you’re moving into the education sector, like how do you balance sharing things on social media to provide content that’s like helpful for followers so that I following you without kind of giving away the farm right? Where do you write draw the line of like, I want to share this and be helpful but also like, this is a course that I sell on as part of my life. Right?

Alisa: That’s an excellent question. And I do get those questions all the time. I just got one this week. Someone was asking me to share something that I very specifically go through in my course. And I just explained to her I said I’m open book and I love sharing with others what I have learned, but I’m really only going to be able to answer answer this question in a general way. Because I do go into it in detail in my course and I want to have integrity to the people that have paid for the course. I don’t want to give it all away for free so this is what I can tell you in a general way and I hope that’s helpful. And she was very, very grateful for what I did tell her but I just tried to be careful if it’s something that I’ve gone over in my course and people have paid for the course. I always try to help people as much as I can with the questions that they ask without giving away like you said all of that because I do want to be thoughtful of the people that did pay for it. So I can’t I don’t know if that answers your question. I can’t give it all away. As far as the Lightroom tips and tricks and hacks. And shortcuts that I love to do. Anybody can find those on the internet. So I feel pretty free sharing all of those and I know a lot of people that follow me are photographers and I love showing them the shortcuts. I’m all about shortcuts, and tips and tricks. So to make their workload lighter and to help them to edit if they’re not gonna hire an editor, I want them to be able to get through their images as quickly as they can. I don’t want them living their life behind the computer. So I love sharing those and I feel okay about sharing those because that stuff’s out there anyway, yeah. Yeah.

Dana: It’s so much about building a course when you’re in a service based industry like, technically, I would venture to say a hot very high percentage of things in your course people could technically google what they need. But the problem we can go to one place and do everything in an order that makes sense that’s actually taught well in a way that they can understand. That saves them literally years on the internet of trying to do deep dives. And people say like, oh, how can you sell a course I teach people how to be a photographer. If, you know, I could just find that info online. It’s like, right, go ahead and try like a really long time, but it’s gonna take a really long time.

Alisa: And then one advantage about buying someone’s course and not not even saying this about my course. But any of the education that’s out there is everybody I know that’s jumped on to the education side of things is they have a way for their students to have access to them, whether it’s a private Facebook group, or they do a monthly you know, Zoom call with their students, but there’s a way that those students have access to the person that has taught the course that is invaluable because you have someone that you can go to with your questions or your pain points. You have people that are going through it with you that can celebrate your victories with you. Yeah, you have a community so that makes a huge difference than piecemealing together your education from this free YouTube and this free class over here that you know, it does I completely agree with you. It does make a difference. It is an investment but how much is your time worth? I mean, our time is our most valuable commodity. And if it’s going to take you three years to learn something that you could pay for and learn in three months. Why would you not do that? So I’m right with you. I agree with you. I’m all about education, not necessarily even mine, but everything I know is from someone that’s taught me that yeah, I just I love education. So I’m absolutely.

Dana: I have a funny story for you while we’re while we’re sitting here that you’ll appreciate. You’re talking about your Lightroom trick. So several birthdays ago for me, probably like three years ago coming up. My husband was gone. He’s out of town for like six months, so he’s gone God bless your heart. Yeah. Oh, no, it’s fine. We’re over it now. It’s been like most of my son’s life so far, but he’s back now and it’s fine. But he he was gone. So he had he had one of my friends come in and hide my birthday gifts and I got to open one a day leading up to my birthday. So you know like monday, tuesday wednesday open like little gifts like sweatpants or like you know whatever. Great good gifts but I don’t remember what they are because the story is is funny and over ticket. So when I told him like I need a new laptop like I just started my business like I can’t keep using this crappy laptop that I have this guy. And so he knew that but it was like, we were not ready for me to drop, you know, several $1,000 on a great laptop for my business and so on the Thursday right birthday is on a Friday on the Thursday. The day for my birthday. I opened my box and it was this Lightroom keyboard cheat sheet. He got it on Amazon and it’s like, it’s like a skin that goes over your keyboard and it tells you the Lightroom shortcuts. That is like this is so genius. This is great. And I look at it and it’s one for that. And I didn’t get Dell and I was like oh my god like that’s all my birthday present tomorrow. Birthday is the brand new computer. And I was so excited. I was like this is a cool like cheat sheet skin skin but like I won the i I’m excited for the laptop tomorrow. It’s gonna be so great and like the company was he out of town but he was like out of reach. He was traveling internationally. And so like getting to know to be able to tell me like that’s not the present tomorrow like cyclomatic I get the clue for where the gift was. And I think it was like I think it was like some kind of jewelry I don’t even remember this. And it was like a beautiful piece of jewelry like nothing super fancy but beautiful piece of jewelry, and something I love but I was like well this you know, Matt had a skin that you couldn’t use. I ordered that I didn’t even think that that would have been so ridiculous. So now I have my Lightroom I finally have the Mac that I wanted and I had I kept it all those years I never returned it but it wasn’t it

Alisa: I did not know those existed. I am going to look that up as soon as we are done here they are. That would be such a great thing to tell my students about it’s it’s a great reminder like even when you know what they are but like say you take a couple you have sessions that like you don’t need to do some of those corrections on and then you’re like, Oh, I can’t remember exactly what button it was. That it’s right there.

Dana: It’s great. It’s amazing. I knew you’d appreciate that because it was new every day.

Alisa: I’m so excited to check that out.

Dana: Alisa tell us exactly where everybody can find you on the interwebs so we can people can check out the course. And if they’re photographers, if they need an editor and they may fit your style. Tell us where we can find you.

Alisa: Oh, thank you for asking. So the company is the ABCs of photo editing. So they can just Google that and I’m sure it’ll my website will come up the ABCs of photo editing, and then they can reach out. I can already tell people that I’m completely booked. But the great thing is I have access to lots and lots of editors that would love to take on new clients and then have room for clients. So if they reach out to me and I am booked, I always always offer them that opportunity like Hey, I am booked but I can drop you into an editor’s group and people are looking for clients in their, you know weekly so hopefully there would be someone in there that would be a good fit for them. So they can reach out during that even knowing that I’m full and still hopefully be able to find someone that they can work with. Well, it’s nice to have a one place to go where it’s like okay, I can just be dropped in here and find somebody that I’m going to match with well instead of reaching out to you know 10 editors on your own that you don’t have any referrals for so right and most editors do a trial run. So that’s an awesome way for you to figure out if you’re a good fit for one another. And trial runs. As far as I know, I don’t know anybody that charges for them. If there is someone that wants to charge them for a trial run as an editor, you need to just keep working. Most of his editors will do a free trial run for folks that are inquiring just to make sure if you want to make sure you’re a good fit for one another before you try to get through you know an entire wedding.

Dana: Totally totally well thank you so much Alisa for doing this I’m so so I know that there are going to be moms out there that I can like think of several off the top of my head that are like they’ve reached out being like Hi. I know I want to do something else. Like I need to leave my job but I just don’t know what I’m going to do. And you know exactly why this is here. And I already know that this is going to fit so many people so especially in the life that I live with, you know traveling in a Foreign Service everybody every two or three years and you’re i international it’s very hard to run a business when it won’t matter. Women move they don’t have to start over.

Alisa: I mean I have clients in Europe. I have clients that live clear across the country from me I have clients in Canada I have clients in the same state. So it really they don’t know it doesn’t matter where we live I live doesn’t matter where they live. It’s so that’s wonderful. Being able to work virtually that way is just amazing. And I just wanted to thank you for doing this. I just know it’s such an amazing thing that you’re doing just to let people know of all the amazing opportunities that we have now because we can work virtually. So thank you for having me on. Doing this for folks.

Dana: Great. Well guys go find Alisa on the ABCs of photo editing on her website and check it out because if you can’t tell I clearly believe in this. So thanks so much Alisa and we will talk to you soon.

Alisa: All right.

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