Top 3 basic workflows to outsource photo editing services

 3 outsource photo editing services workflows

To effectively outsource photo editing services, real estate photography companies should be aware of the different types of workflows that their outsourcing partner provides. Each workflow has its advantages and disadvantages to consider. Therefore, understanding them would help real estate photography companies to make the right decision that can highly benefit them in terms of time and resources spent on sending photos.

Type #1: Manual uploading and downloading

Manual uploading and downloading are common in the real estate photo editing outsourcing workflows. It is often used to serve single photographers and small photography teams due to its standard and simple process. 

Photographers upload raw files onto Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other file hosting platform, then send it to their photo editors. The Photo editors will download and edit, then upload back to the hosting platform and send back the link. Photographers usually send the links through emails or direct messaging with editing instructions and requirement descriptions. 

Mannual workflow is common in outsourcing photo editing service
Manual uploading – a type of photo editing outsourcing workflow

Even though this type of workflow is popular, it usually comes with several disadvantages. First, there is limited storage which makes it impossible to go above a certain threshold (15GB) without paying. What happen when high season come with more volume to edit? Surely, this photo editing outsourcing workflow might cause you some serious headaches due to its limitations. Second, there’s no guarantee there will be no loss of missing work files or uploading and downloading issues in-between. Not to mention the messy and hard to keep track of communication via emails and messages. Yikes! Even if you are someone who loves the traditional ways, it’s still not fun to deal with such problems. 

Type #2: Ordering via supplier’ proprietary portal

This type of workflow is normally used to outsource photo editing services for serving medium to large photography companies that have many full-time photographers.

With this workflow, clients will order on the real estate photo editing services’s platform by uploading files and creating order information. The customer service and editor team of the supplier will then be notified of new orders and process them as per instruction. Orders after processing will be checked by a quality assurer to make sure it’s ready to go. In case the output’s quality is not met, internal rejections might happen. 

Coconut – Esoft’s exclusive photo editing outsourcing workflow

Featured system: Coconut by Esoft

Once the quality is approved, editors will upload the files back onto the system. The system will make sure to count if the number of files are matching with the expected number of files. This will eliminate the risk of losing files or storage limitations. Once done, clients will be notified via email that their orders are now ready to be downloaded through the portal.

Since this system is particularly designed to avoid all disadvantages of a manual workflow, they often have a wide range of tools and features (depending on supplier) to enable higher productivity and faster turnaround. For example, a visual annotation tool allows clients to directly and visually instruct editors, thus saving time and effort writing long instruction emails that sometimes can be misinterpreted. 

Even though getting used to a new system might take time, once you learn how it works, you will see how convenient it is to use. Another advantage of this workflow is that it can be white-labeled so clients who outsource photo editing services can use their own branding identity to increase consistency while protecting the business interest of clients. 

Check out our blog “5 benefits of white-labeled online ordering system”

So, what is this workflow’s disadvantage? You might ask. Although rare, system crashing is still a possibility. When this happens, the supplier’s developer team will need to troubleshoot quickly and clients will have to wait until the system is recovered. In addition, clients might need a special admin overseeing the order creation and delivery process to ensure consistent, centralized work. When there’s a huge number of orders created per day, it can be overloaded for the admin team. In this case, an advanced system integration would be a better choice. 

Type #3: API integration

Big photography companies typically have many photographers working for them, both as official or contracted employees. They serve big clients that usually receive about 50-100 orders per day, perhaps 1k-2k files. Therefore, a manual workflow will be time-consuming, not efficient, and contain high risks of human errors. That’s why usually these companies have their own ordering system that their clients can place orders and receive edited work. 

API integration - the most powerful workflow to outsource photo editing services
API Integration – most powerful photo editing outsourcing workflow

API integration workflow is designed for outsourcing real estate photography editing to support big photography companies in connecting two parties’ systems via API integration. When the admin of a photography company places an order on their in-house system, the order is automatically created on the supplier system. Editing team of the outsourcing real estate photography editing company will then be notified of the order and start working on the photos. Edited photos get passed through a final quality check to ensure the order is ready to be delivered to clients. Once finished photos are uploaded back onto the system, clients are notified immediately that their orders are ready to be downloaded by real estate agents. 

One of the biggest advantages of this system is scalability. Big companies usually have more than 500 photos that need editing per day, so creating orders on the real estate photo editing services’s system might not be the best approach as it takes time and effort. The API Integration workflow speeds up the process of order creating and processing. The automated process reduces possibilities of human errors and external factors that can affect the workflow. 

However, there might be system maintenance and development fees. Also, even though there are clear API documentations (a document that describes the whole process in detail), photography companies must-have tech and system developers (dev resources) who well understand their system and are ready to implement tech changes. 


There are different types of workflows in a real estate photo editing outsourcing firm. Depending on the volume, photography companies will choose the type of workflow that best suits their needs and budget. A favorable workflow is one that helps save costs, time, minimize risks in the working process and most conveniently deliver the outputs.