All photos: Allison Pedigo
Isn't it funny how social media intertwines and connects us all? I first met Lindsey Trauger on Instagram at the beginning of this year, and I've loved getting glimpses of her boutique photo editing business ever since. Lindsey currently lives in Atlanta (my home city!) with her husband and adorable daughter Harlyn.
Below, Lindsey shares her story of how she initially stumbled into boutique photo editing, how she landed her first client, and what life really looks like as a full-time employee, wife and mom. I hope Lindsey's story encourages you and reminds you that the greatest business journeys all begin with two little words: just start.
Q: Share a bit of your story with us: what’s your creative background, and what led you to pursue your business in boutique photo editing? Your business is very specialized and niche, so I’m interested to hear how you initially discovered this need in the photography industry.
A: I actually didn’t even know photo editing was a thing until about a year ago, and it was my love for photography that led me to be a boutique photo editor. I've loved photography for a while and my big dream was to start a photography business, but then I had my daughter and life just got super busy.
About this same exact time one year ago I found out about photo editing when an ad popped up on my Facebook page. It was an ad about a course created by a woman named Marissa Lynn – she is a private photo editor and works with big-name photographers like Katelyn James. I was intrigued because I love editing, but also because I saw she was getting to do this from home and not having to spend her nights and weekends away from her family. The course she created was all about how to start an editing business and the process she uses. It was perfect because I already had everything I needed to start right away – I just needed a client!
Luckily, I already had a pretty strong network of photographers that I knew because of workshops and classes I had taken. Last October I second-shot a wedding with a photographer friend and that's when I really knew that shooting weddings was not for me. I mentioned to this friend that I was thinking about getting into the photo editing side of the industry, and she told me she would be interested to try it out if I went through with it. That was all I really needed: I went home, purchased Marissa's course, learned the process and my friend started working with me!
Q: I always love to ask! What does your workday routine look like, and how do you try to maintain a balance between managing your photo editing services, work and spending quality time with your family?
A: Yes, this is a tricky one. It's honestly something that I'm still trying to figure out and can change from day to day. Since I still work full-time and I'm a mama, I can only edit on nights and weekends after my little one goes to bed. During busy seasons I even have to sacrifice a day on the weekend with my family in order to edit so I don't fall behind.
The thing that helps me the most with this is communication with my husband. Some nights I need him to execute dinner and some nights I need him to do bedtime with our little girl so that I can get a jumpstart on my photo editing work. I'm also fortunate that both of our parents live nearby and are willing to help out when I need it since my husband travels a lot for work.
I knew it was going to be hard trying to edit on the side, so I was careful in my first year of business to only take on a very small number of editing clients and also to be realistic about my turnaround time. I have a longer turnaround time then most editors, but honestly, it's still faster than most photographers who are delivering work to their clients anyway, so it works.
What I have found is, if you have a strong enough passion for something and you want to make it work, you find a way – no matter what your circumstances are. This is not an ideal schedule long-term, but it works for now.
"What I have found is, if you have a strong enough passion for something and you want to make it work, you find a way – no matter what your circumstances are."
Q: Who is your ideal client, and who or what do they typically photograph?
A: My ideal client is a wedding photographer who currently uses Lightroom 5 or higher for their editing. They shoot about 15-30 weddings a year and are looking for an editor to work with long-term. My clients find value in having a one-on-one relationship with their editor and big box companies are not for them. I would say style-wise, I have a mixture of photographers who have more of a light and airy/film style, but I also work with clients that are not bright and airy. I also work with hybrid photographers who shoot film and digital, so matching film is something that I also offer.
Q: What’s next for you and your photo editing business in 2018?
A: Because I work a full-time job, I've had to grow a lot slower than most editors out there which can be really frustrating at times, but I have learned to find beauty in the slow growth. Growing slow allowed me to take risks, say no to the wrong types of jobs, and seek out my ideal clients. I have lots in store for 2018 like getting my website up and running, taking on more clients, and coming up with ways to better serve my clients and enhance their overall experience with me.
Q: For fellow women who are seeking a creative outlet or want to take their creative business to the next level, what would your greatest piece of advice be?
A: If you’re seeking a creative outlet and aren't sure what you want, start with something that fires you up. Ask yourself what your passions are or what's something you really enjoy doing, and then think of how you might be able to use that to serve others in some way.
And then just start: because it doesn't have to be perfect, but no one will know how to find you if you don't put yourself out there. And where you start doesn't have to be where you will end up. I thought I always wanted to do photography until I learned about photo editing!
And no matter where you are in your business, find a tribe of people who get you! Join a local Tuesdays Together chapter so you can make friends and network. Join groups on Facebook of like-minded people. Listen to podcasts and read blogs of people you admire. Do a mentorship with someone you admire or take a course in an area of your business that you need help with. Starting a business can be scary but you don't have to do it alone. There's so much information out there and people willing to help others grow their business – it's so awesome!