Photo Editing business startup

Photo Editing business startup on a shoestring

Photo editing can be done on any mobile ‘phone, tablet, PC or laptop.  It’s great fun, & if you have the patience for it, it could earn you some income.  A Photo editing business startup is quick & easy.  How profitable it could be depends on you & your networking skills.  The rest can be learnt quickly.

Why would anyone pay for photo editing?

While snaps taken on a digital device are easy enough to enhance or alter, many people lack the time & confidence to do it themselves.  This is especially true of the over 50 Club as our generation that were taught that real writing was done with a fountain pen, & a calculator was for numpties who couldn’t do mental arithmetic.

If we do have smartphones, we are often reluctant to try out new apps,  & more inclined to stay with what we know in case we break something/change a mysterious setting that makes our device act strangely.

Our teens have grown up & if they have not yet fled the nest, they often frown & hiss when asked to help with yet another task that they find … Well, as simple as it it pointless.  besides, didn’t they show us how to do it last week? Sometimes, we need to look further afield.

Why would anyone want to alter a photograph?

Let me count the reasons:

Divorce – Invariably the best photograph a person has that captures their grace & beauty has a mean old ex sitting or standing alongside them. They want to keep the image –  Well, partially.  Cropping the picture makes it look an odd shape though, and removing the fingers from the cropped out hand on their shoulder can be tricky.

Children –  They are great, but spoil an otherwise gorgeous picture if they are sticking out a tongue, or picking their nose.

Old photographs look dated – over or under-exposed snaps from the 80’s often need some help.  Polaroid prints fade.  They could often use a facelift.

Cosmetic surgery – the photograph is great, but the person doesn’t want to explain how they went from a 30 AA bust to a 38C in a decade

Shouldn’t it be left to professionals?

I suppose that depends on what the photograph will be used for.  We live in an instant world.  Sometimes, a photo needs to be “fixed” – But only for using as a profile picture somewhere, or getting added to a family tree on the internet.  Paying a pro just isn’t always justified.

What do I need to started?

A lot less than you think.  Some editing programs, more time than you would think along with some patience. Total cost?  Assuming you have a PC & an internet connection, it would cost you time –  Effectively it’s a combo of your time & your skill that people would be buying.

A few friends & relatives with some old pics would help to start your customer base.  If they have friends or belong to clubs where they can refer you to others, then that’s great.

Programs can be sourced free of charge.  If your business grows, there are some programs that you can buy, but this would only be an issue once you were actively earning an income that would justify the expense.

Could this business actually grow?

Well, yes.  The main dependency would be linking up with people who need photographs altered or enhanced, or with eBook writers who are wanting covers made for their books.

You could either take your own pics and edit them, or use free photographs from the Public Domain or Licensed for Commercial Reuse under Creative Commons.  The latter can found with a simple internet search.

What if the photo editing business startup doesn’t work out?

Then you have lost nothing, & gained a hobby that will help you make covers for your own eBooks.  At the very least, it could help you make thoughtful gifts for birthdays, weddings, Christenings, Christmas & everything in between.  Checkout Zazzle – OR, It could also give you something to blog about, & you might consider getting a website.

So where do I start?

Grab some free editing programs.  They change their names from time to  time.  At the time of writing this, I find the three easiest ones to use are:

Pixlr – You can use it right from your browser, no download required.  Great for photograph repair as it has a CLONE feature.  If a photograph is torn or ragged around the edges, you can rebuild the missing bit by cloning (highlight an area that matches the missing bit, copy it, and use it to cover the torn or fold marks)  Requires an hour of fiddling to get the hang of it, but is very user friendly.

Picassa – Handy as a program for storing & sharing photographs or graphics from your machine with anyone else over the internet.  You can copy the original photograph, & experiment with a copy.  When you are happy with the result rename it, save it, send it.  Job done.

Ribbet – I use the free version of this mainly for resizing.  Sometimes a passport photograph is just too small for what it is needed for, or a big photograph is just too big to be used as profile picture.  Right now, Ribbet is the quickest & easiest program I have found for resizing a photograph without spending a penny/cent/dime.

With old photographs, less is always more.  Do the least possible to freshen the pic.

  1. Original photograph – torn on top left.

photo editing business startup 1

2.  Fixing the top left tear is a good fix

photo editing business startup 2

3.  Below would only be useful for highlighting aspects of the ‘photo … Family likeness for example

photo editing business startup 3

4. Might be useful fro showing more detail, but option 2 would be the best fix.

photo editing business startup 4

This picture below compares an image of my late father with my son who was 11 months old when my father passed.  This & other types of simple editing might be useful in some cases.  Option 1 has some sellotape marks & tears which have been disguised in option 2….

photo editing business startup 5 photo editing business startup 6

These are just examples.  I have focussed on family pics because that is my interest right now.  Adding frames, artificial graphics, speech bubbles & anything else that can be dreamt up is easier than these slight edits.

Are their risks?

Aren’t there always?  With this, ensure that any images are copyright free, that any recognisable people in the photos you are working with come with a signed release, especially if they include children or if you intend to use them on your site as examples.  A simple permission form should suffice, but always check current legislation.


Never accept hard copy photographs that cannot be replaced.  Rather ask for a good quality scan, especially if the end result will be enlarged or printed.  Offer a money back guarantee.  To avoid being ripped off, send a sample with a watermark to the customer first, & have them check it out & pay you before sending the watermark free pictures.  Most people are honest, but adding a watermark is easy to research on-line.


If you like the idea, give it a go & let me know how you do?  If you hate it, tell me why & if there is anything else that might help people earn a living that you are happy to share, shout!

Credit:  Pioneer photo used with kind permission of E Van Staden & family.