How To Outsource Your Real Estate Photo Editing, by Jonathan Corbett

Jonathan Corbett’s video focuses on the concept and nuances of outsourcing in the context of business, particularly for those in the photography and real estate industry. He begins by explaining the rationale behind outsourcing, which is often due to the increasing demands of a growing business. For instance, as a business expands, owners may find themselves without the time to manage all tasks, like photo editing, efficiently. However, Corbett cautions against complete reliance on outsourcing for tasks one doesn’t understand, as it can lead to dependency on editors and inability to assess the quality and fairness of their pricing.

A significant portion of the video addresses the common apprehensions about outsourcing, such as fear of losing personal touch or style and the cost involved. Corbett shares his own experiences and insights, particularly about cost-effectiveness. He argues that paying a dollar per photo is excessive, demonstrating how quality work can be obtained for significantly less, even going into specifics of fair wage calculations based on different geographic locations. He uses his example of paying 50 cents per image to editors in countries like India, where this rate is substantially higher than the local living wage. Corbett also touches upon the lifestyle of his editors, countering the stereotype of outsourced workers being underpaid.

Towards the end, the video offers practical advice on finding and negotiating with editors. Corbett stresses the importance of quality checks and maintaining standards, warning viewers about the common practice of editors outsourcing work to cheaper alternatives, which might affect quality. He advises viewers to be vigilant and ensure consistent quality from their outsourced partners. Additionally, Corbett provides tips on how to add a personal touch to outsourced work to maintain one’s unique style, emphasizing that while outsourcing is a practical solution, it requires careful management to ensure quality and cost-effectiveness. In conclusion, the video serves as a guide for those considering outsourcing, balancing cost considerations with quality assurance and personal style maintenance.


Hey everybody, in this video, we’re going to learn about outsourcing. Outsourcing is taking something you need to do and paying someone else to do it for you. Why would you do this? You might be very busy because your business is beginning to grow, and you don’t have the time to edit everything yourself anymore. There’s nothing wrong with that. Another reason might be because you can’t do it yourself. While this is an understandable reason, it’s not ideal. Not knowing how to do something yourself makes you completely dependent on your editors. You also won’t understand how much or little work is involved, so you have no way to judge a fair price. When your editors charge you, also learning how to edit your images yourself will make you a better shooter because you have to review your own images and learn from mistakes in a greater fashion. Plus, the next time you shoot, you will know exactly what you need to get to make sure the edit is as good as it can be.

**How come everybody doesn’t outsource**
Plus, you don’t want one of your customers asking for a simple edit and not being able to do it without sending it across the world. So, how come everybody doesn’t outsource? I think there’s a lot of reasons why, but I think the main two are fear of growth and ego. I’ll admit that I hesitated outsourcing my work as well because I wouldn’t feel as if it’s mine anymore. I felt like I’d be losing my style and would lose my individuality that made me a success. But after shooting a few thousand homes and losing a few clients to bottom dollar services, I realized that real estate isn’t my magnum opus, and I hope I’m not remembered for my 3,000 square foot real estate photo shoots. I can do my own bigger, higher paying jobs myself, but hiring an editor to edit my real estate just makes sense.

**How much should you pay**
So, how much should you pay? This is a controversial topic, but if you are paying a dollar per photo, which is usually what they ask, you are paying way too much. You can get dollar quality photos for 70 cents very easily, and even 50 cents without too much footwork. Getting there is all a numbers game with sending out emails and simply copy and pasting responses. I’ll dedicate an entire video to this just to show you how. Okay, so you want to outsource, but you also want to make sure you’re paying them a fair wage. I pay my editors 50 cents per image or less, and they are loaded. I know this because I follow them on Facebook and Instagram. I see daily stories about motorcycles, buying things for needy family and friends, vacations, eating out, and dining in luxury restaurants, and bragging about success, all for 50 cents an image. The dude is an influencer, he’s like the Grant Cardone of Vietnam. I’m not going to share these photos for the sake of his own privacy, but for those of you that don’t believe me, you can easily calculate a fair wage for the country they are in by looking up online and also going ahead and

comparing that to you in the U.S. For example, here in the U.S., a six-figure salary is generally considered a big accomplishment, right? Compared to a full-time job at $15 an hour, which is considered a livable wage for a single adult in the U.S., six figures is 3.3 times that $15 an hour salary.

**Wage Comparison**
Now let’s compare that to a livable wage versus what we pay editors in a country like India. According to, a livable wage in India for a single adult is between ₹9,000 to ₹11,600 Indian Rupees per month. For this calculation, we will take the higher wage just to be safe. I shoot about five houses a day on average, sometimes more, sometimes less, at about 40 photos per house. That comes to 200 images per day at 50 cents per image, that’s $100 a day on average I’m paying my editors, or $3,000 per month. Converted to Indian Rupees, that’s ₹219,500, or 18.9 times the single livable wage in India. That’s versus the 3.3 times that six figures would be for us here in the U.S. If the same ratio of 18.9 times were applied to our livable wage, it would come out to $567,000 per year. And remember, you’re just one of their clients. By the way, remember this was calculated at 50 cents per image, not a dollar. If you’re paying them a dollar, you’re paying your editors an equivalent salary of 1 million dollars per year. I’ve even heard that some people pay more than a dollar per image. Unless you’re doing very high-end commercial real estate where you need these things absolutely flawless and people are paying you thousands of dollars per photo shoot, I have no idea why you’d be spending more than a dollar.

Feel free to do your own math on things and find your own resources, but the bottom line is they’re doing just fine.

**How to get a good editor**
They’re not starving artists. I understand that some people still might not believe me here and they’re going to hop on their keyboard and go on a crusade to save the third world because that’s what Westerners do. But I’d like to take this opportunity to point out something: the same photographers who would fight me on this are also the same photographers who give discounts to realtors on high-ticket luxury listings because the realtor told them they’re out of money, and they’re telling you this on their iPhone Pro as they’re driving their leased Mercedes down the interstate. So, how do you get a good editor at a better rate? Get some example raw images ready in Dropbox or Google Drive, then write yourself a script. Gather emails from websites and post in Facebook groups that you’re looking for an editor. Posting in a Facebook group dedicated to editors will garner you great results, but you’ll also get a lot of spam. So, be prepared for that. When you send an email or message, ask for a free sample in your script and ask for hand-blended photos. Also, say you’ll need this done at 50 cents USD. Many will say no, but some will say yes. Don’t worry, it’s just a numbers game. For the ones that say yes, check their work to make sure it’s quality, and there you have your editor. At this point, you may get even lower than 50 cents by continuing to negotiate on the basis of volume. I have been able to get as low as 35 cents per image for good hand-blended editing.

Another great way to save money on outsourcing is only having them edit the interiors, as the exteriors are a lot easier to edit since it’s not mixed lighting. You can just run those through Photomatix. This will cut down your cost even further. Also, another good tip is to try and get a few editors that you seem happy with and move on to the next step.

Now that you have a few editors, it’s important to point out that the sample photos they deliver to you may not represent their true ability. They usually have their best editor working on samples, and then they’ll hand off your photos to worse and worse editors as long as you don’t complain. This is not because you’re paying them less; this is going to happen to you even if you pay them the full amount. You need to understand that in many countries, including the U.S., cutting corners and saving labor time is only good business as long as the customer is happy or doesn’t know the difference. If you don’t complain and hold them accountable, they think you’re happy that the walls aren’t straight, the windows are blown out, or the color casts weren’t fixed, or that they are actually automatically processing these through Photomatix instead of hand blending them as you asked them to. It’s your responsibility to hold them to the agreement. Many times, your editors will even outsource your photos to a cheaper editor and pocket the difference. This is very common, and it’s a business model that lots of the one-dollar editors operate on. You’ve got to hold your editors accountable. It’s inevitable; Indian editors are notorious about this. So, going with Filipino or Vietnamese editors is a much better option. There shouldn’t be inconsistencies in your editor’s work. They should be getting it right every time, every day. None of this sometimes great, sometimes horrible nonsense.

Once you get your outsourced images back, a great way to keep your images looking unique is by adding a final touch yourself. That’s why I have my own presets and quick adjustments that I use to make sure my images look natural and appropriate. It may be that the final edit isn’t precisely as you want it, but they should get it 99% of the way there. You should only be spending a few minutes thumbing through images and making a tweak here and there.

And that’s how you outsource. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the search feature in the Facebook group, tag me if you can’t find the answer, and always remember to learn, apply, and succeed.