If you love taking and editor photos, you can become a professional photo editor – doing what you love and making money!

This article provides lots of helpful ways and tips to becoming a photo editor.



As the popular saying goes – a picture is worth a thousand words.

You can endeavor to describe a rose and talk about that the vibrancy of its color, the intricacies of the creation of the pedals, the sharpness of the thorns, etc.

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However, words do not do justice to the description of a beautiful rose but a picture, on the other hand, will speak for itself as to its loveliness.

Pictures are important.

In fact, the brain thinks in pictures.

For example, if you were to ask an individual to think about a boat, it is more likely their brain would display a picture of a boat rather than the word B-O-A-T being spelled out.

Not only are pictures important but they are powerful and can help us to remember, move people to action, be inspiring, etc.

Therefore, let us look at the occupation of a professional photo editor and realize the importance that this profession plays on a daily basis in our lives.


25 Easy Ways & Tips to Becoming a Photo Editor


1. Know What a Professional Photo Editor is all about

A photo editor is an experienced professional who evaluates photos that are taken and with their experience, training, and the ability to select the most engaging photo will perform a number of alliterations on that photograph to bring out the most dynamic aspect and viewing of that photo for the viewer.

Even though photography is done with highly sophisticated cameras, the images that are captured, for the most part, need some type of editing.


2. Know What a Photo Editor Does

A photo editor has dual responsibilities.

Their first role is to look at the photos that are going to be used in a variety of ways which could include also publication.

As part of the process in reviewing these photos they select the best takes of the subject that is photographed.

The second aspect of their role or responsibility is then to use computer software to modify or enhance these photos to prepare them for use in print publications or digital format.


3. Know about the Requirements

Typically, the requirements to become a photo editor include obtaining a degree in an appropriate field that is related to the taking of photographs.

Some of those degrees could be in:

  • Photojournalism
  • Visual arts
  • Photography
  • Etc.

Once you have graduated from the degreed program you then begin to continue your journey on gaining experience, compiling a portfolio of your best work, and continue to learn the intricacies of photo editing software.


4. Know about the Software to Use

One of the paramount skills that you must master in becoming a professional photo editor is to be proficient with photo editing software.

Some of the fundamental software programs include:

You can learn others but these are considered as gold standards in the world of editing photographs.


5. Know all about Photo Editing

The process of photo editing is working on the digital photo and making adjustments.

The editing processes that are typically performed on a digital photograph include correcting any errors such as red eyes or glare, adjusting contrast, straightening, resizing, adjusting white balance and lighting, changing colors, etc.


6. Know Why Editing is Necessary

Editing photographs is necessary because it makes the photos come to life; capture the full scope and power of the photo and in a picture are able to tell a story that is more engaging to the viewer.

When you look at any website one of the first things that attracts your attention is photos.

If the photos are not edited and appear to be dull and uninteresting, then typically the website user will move on in looking for a website that will resonate with them due to the vividness of the displayed photos.

Editing is also necessary as it will correct mistakes and remove any particular elements that don’t add to the photograph or don’t belong.

In addition, to enhance the photograph there is a process known as creative editing which is utilized by the photo editor to bring special effects, remove backgrounds or marrying together elements from different photos.


7. Time and Practice

To become a professional photo editor requires a commitment to practice.

Typically, this practice involves a variety of different combinations of changes in settings.

Through continual practice you will become more aware and experienced by experimenting with different combinations of settings to make the photo as engaging as possible.

In addition, time management skills will also serve the photo editor as well as often there are tight deadlines that need to be met and managing your time and work efficiently is crucial.


8. Shoot Raw File Format

One of the best techniques on becoming a professional photo editor is to utilize photography that is in raw file format.

This means that you use the photograph that has been taken and has not been edited at all.

By taking raw images in their original format, you can then better utilize your editing skills through your software by creating richer colors, sharper and more crystallized photos and cleaner images

The typical format of a raw photo has an extension of JPG.


9. Organize

Qualities that should be displayed on becoming a professional photo editor include organizational skills.

These organizational skills are important as there are typically thousands of photograph files that can be sorted through to find that particular photo that will meet the demands of the publisher.


10. Backup

A basic administrative action that needs to be taken with any digital files is to back up your system on an ongoing basis.

The need to back up your photographs is no exception and will save unnecessary headaches and frustration if files that you have saved are corrupted or unavailable due to a number of reasons.

With a good backup system in place, you have those files needed even if there is a loss of those photograph files because of a variety of reasons.

 In addition, to learn these programs, you can utilize a website such as Skillshare.


11. Niche

When thinking about becoming a photo editor you may want to consider what niche you wish to be proficient in.

For example, there is a great demand for wedding photographers who in turn will probably edit the photographs that are taken.

This is a time a labor-intensive process that literally could take one full hour in just editing one photograph.

Other niches could include outdoor photography and photo editing, underwater photo editing, etc.

The beauty of being proficient in one particular aspect of photo editing is that you will become the authority and people will look to you to be their photo editor when that particular photographic niche needs to be covered.

A comparison in being a photo editor in one particular area can be compared to specialty medicine such as being a cardiologist, brain surgeon, anesthesiologist, and so on.


12. Join Professional Organizations

Networking opportunities should be taken advantage of as well to solidify your standing in the professional photo editing arena.

It would be good to join professional organizations.

One of those organizations is the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).

These organizations provide members provide a variety of resources for photo editors.

Also, training is provided through this type of organization to help individuals navigate the laws that pertain to copyright and images.

Added to the professionalism of joining this association would be the sharing of a code of ethics and legal information that will be helpful in your role as a professional photo editor.


13. Why

One of the questions that needs to be addressed when wanting to become a professional photo editor is your reasons or why you wish to be proficient in this field.

Perhaps, you have been a photographer and wish to make a career change but stay in a related field.

Being a photo editor would be a good match for this rationale.

Or perhaps, you enjoy the technical side of photography which would be in the area of utilizing software technology to edit the photos through software programs.

Also See: Best Money Earning Business Ideas for Photographers.


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14. Develop Your Insight

One of the key methods of becoming a professional photo editor is developing a creative eye for photography.

This means that to be a professional photo editor you will need to go through a significant number of pictures to see what captures your attention as to what is an outstanding edited photo.

This way, you can see what the standard is and that will help you to not settle for anything less when editing photographs.

You know what the quality edited photograph looks like and that is your high bar to always achieve.


15. Understudy

In every profession the process of learning usually involves working with someone who takes you under their wing and helps you to learn the job and the various processes involved.

For example, there are apprentices that work with plumbers and electricians, understudies that work in the world of theatrics, interns in the medical field, etc.

Being a photo editor is no different and perhaps you could approach a photographer who is known for doing their own quality editing.

You could ask to learn from them and work under their supervision to help you build on what you already know and help advance your photo editing techniques.

The photo editor will most likely be flattered that you have asked to do this and perhaps a small stipend or wage can be provided.


16. Job Description

The foundational activities that you would be required to perform as reflected in your job description will vary from employer to employer.

In some companies you may be called upon to not only capture the photos, but also edit them as well.

Also See: Ways to Earn Money with Photographs of Body


17. Start as a Photographer

One of the basic roles to begin your journey of becoming a professional photo editor is to start with being a photographer.

By starting out with this foundational role in the photography editing business, quality opportunities to photograph, understand the settings of the camera and shooting conditions, etc. will serve you well as a professional photo editor.

In addition, by being a photographer you will be able to explain clearly how you want the photographer to take a particular image.

You can communicate your direction based on your experience.


18. Creativity

In becoming a professional photo editor, it is important to do a self-evaluation of your ability to see creatively and the potential of the photographs that are being taken.

Photo editors that are skilled have a significant love for photographs that are not only beautifully captured but edited as well.

Therefore, in becoming a professional photo editor you must have an insight and ability to see potential in every photograph and have a great creative eye that concentrates on detail to deliver a high-quality and visually engaging photograph.

Also See: How to Become a Copyeditor and Make Money Editing Copies.


19. Keep Learning

As with any profession it is important to keep learning.

Once your formal education has been completed, that is just the beginning of the journey as you continue to learn through experience.

In addition, it is good to attend seminars and ongoing educational opportunities to see what is changing in the photo editing world, advances in software, etc.

Also, another important aspect of continual learning is to network with other professionals to learn from them and allow them to be part of your ongoing education.


20. Education

Having a higher degree in photo editing is typically a requirement or expectation for employers when hiring a photo editor.

Specifically, employers wish to hire a photo editor who has their bachelor’s degree in relevant fields such as:

  • Photography
  • Digital media
  • Visual arts

Also, if hungry to learn more one can pursue a master’s photography degree


21. Experience

Even though a heavy emphasis is placed on a formal education degree one cannot negate the experience and skills learned by actually learning on-the-job.

In other words, experience can often be a quality consideration as an equivalent to a degree earned.

You can also conduct your own editing experiments with editing software like Lightroom and take your own photographs and practice editing.


22. Portfolio

A portfolio is a powerful compilation of your edited photos so that you can showcase your work to potential clients.

To start accumulating edited photographs you can begin to work at a low cost or at no charge opportunity and interact with charities or businesses that have a limited marketing line item to record this type of expense.

Your portfolio should be a variety of photographs that capture your skill set on what you can do when editing photographs.

You could also work with startup companies that are looking for a compelling website that utilizes your photographs.

When you seek employment for work as a freelancer you can direct people to these websites and vividly show what you have accomplished.


23. Pay

As a photo editor your salary may hover around $60,000.

This is the median salary for a photo editor, but of course other factors need to be taken into consideration.

Those considerations would be the company that you would be working for, the market you live in, your experience, and so forth.


24. In House Job

An option to be remunerated for your photography editing skills is to find an in-house job or a job that employs an individual as an employee and provides a space to work, benefits, and wages.

In-house type jobs can be found by searching a variety of job posting websites.

Some of those websites could include Indeed.com or at Simplyhired.com.

Typically, these websites provide a search mechanism that you can enter in the position of photo editor and indicate in what area of the country that you would like to find employment.


25. Freelance

Another way that a photo editor can be paid is by being self-employed.

This is also known as being a freelancer and basically, a freelancer works for themselves.

There are many benefits associated with this option in that you are not restricted to where you work, the hours you work or what jobs you wish to take or not take.

Payment can be made when the job meets certain timelines or upon completion.

As a freelancer you are required to pay your own taxes, register for needed benefits, etc.


Personal Story

Not-for-profits often rely on the kindness and good heartedness of individuals and professionals in the community to supplement the shoelace budget that most charities are on.

I worked with a charity and my multiple role and job description was to take pictures and conduct as much marketing as I could.

The camera that I used was a compact digital camera which allowed for some modifications of the picture, but I had no idea how to adjust those options.

Nevertheless, the photos looked okay, and we would often publish them on our website.

However, it became crystal clear to me that when a professional photographer volunteered to do our photography work and put the images on our website little did I realize how inadequate the pictures were that I had taken.

These pictures done by professional photographer and editor were vibrant, dynamic, etc.

It was like the difference between hamburger and filet mignon.


Making Money Becoming a Photo Editor FAQs


What Are the Five Basic Elements of Photo Editing?

The five basic photo editing processes are:

  • Cropping
  • Adjusting white balance
  • Adjusting exposure and contrast
  • Adjusting color vibrancy and saturation
  • Finalize


What is the Most Common Photo Editing Tool That is Utilized?

Adobe Photoshop is typically the answer to this question as it is the standard when it comes to photo editing software.


You Can Do It

Being a professional photo editor is part of the artistic realm.

Through a variety of adjustments coupled with their creativity, the occupation of a photo editor is an impactful profession in the lives of many on a daily basis.

With your photography skills and understanding of editing software you can be a great communicator as it relates to telling a story without even saying a word.



There are many languages that can be spoken.

These languages can be verbal, spoken through sign language, and the language of photography.

Each of these languages is important but somehow, the language of photography is more powerful.

Therefore, the role of a professional photo editor is critical to fine tune and bring out the greater impact of photography through a variety of ways of editing.

Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members:

SurveyJunkie (only USA, Canada, Australia residents allowed). You can earn money sharing your thoughts. They have already paid $25+ million to their 20+ million members just for sharing their thoughts and opinions. Click here to join SurveyJunkie for FREE

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