Krome: outsourcing your editing

Far more vibrant than I would have expected

We’ve reviewed all sorts of editing suites here on Small Aperture: free ones, cheap ones, and not-so-cheap ones. Some won our affections whilst others left us hyper-ventilating with frustration. But they were all aimed at people who have the time, the inclination, and the skill to edit their own pictures. What if you don’t have any of these things?

What if you’re a bit like my mother? The camera only comes out on holiday or at special events. You take okay pictures that with a bit of tweaking could be good, or even really good. But honestly, you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to editing and really, you can’t be bothered.

Step forward Krome.

It’s a paid-for editing service. You upload and organise your images, and someone who does know what they’re doing crops them, fiddles with the contrast, corrects the colour, and does anything else that might make an average snap look like a decent photo. If they don’t think that an image needs any help, or if it’s beyond help, they won’t touch it and you won’t get charged. You can choose from a one-off service, which costs up to 25c a picture, or a monthly subscription that starts from 12.5c a picture.

But is it worth it?

I uploaded 11 of my photos and let my assigned editor loose on them. (And of course I gave them an edit myself, for comparison purposes.) Twenty-four hours later, when they were ready, how did things look? Well, some results surprised me, some also disappointed me, and others pleased me. I won’t take you through all 11; I’ll show you three examples.

The disappointments

Oddly, all three images that I would have sent back to be re-edited (which is free) were portraits. This one happens to be of my brother.

Original, unedited:

My brother, composing

Edited by Krome, and in my opinion over-sharpened:

Over-sharpened by Krome?

Edited by me, and sent black and white:

Josh, in black and white

The surprises

A few images came back and surprised me. They were by no means bad edits. They just weren’t how I envisaged they’d come back. If nothing else, it shows you a different creative vision. And I suppose for people who want creative control over their pictures, this is where Krome falls down, even if you can leave notes on each photo for your editor. She or he isn’t in your head. But, if creative control isn’t top of your agenda, and editing is just about having a better picture, what does it matter?


It's a dahlia. I think it looks as if it came from outer space

Edited by Krome, and far more vibrant than I expected:

Far more vibrant than I would have expected

Edited by me, and more muted:

A muted version of the alien dahlia

The thumbs-up

Some photos came back looking almost identical to my edited versions of them. I couldn’t really ask for better than that.


This is Incy Wincy. She took up residence by the dining room of the Small Aperture mansion in the autumn.

Edited by Krome:

Incy Wincy, edited by Krome

Edited by me:

Incy Wincy, me-style

The verdict?

For me, editing photos is part of the package of practising the craft of photography. Sometimes it frustrates me, sometimes it delights me, sometimes I surprise myself with it. But it is an important part of my creative enterprise, of me making my photos look as I think they should look. So Krome isn’t for me.

But, I reckon that Krome could supply a service for people who don’t really know what they’re doing with editing tools, and perhaps aren’t really that bothered, they just want their photos to look better. It’s pretty simple to use – although you do have to download a special image uploader, which struck me a little odd – and if you don’t like the edits made to a picture, you can send it back.

If you’re not convinced about people outsourcing their editing, think of this way: I pay people to do jobs that I can’t do well, or can’t be bothered doing. For some people, the job that they can’t be bothered to do, or aren’t very good at, is editing photos. So there’s Krome.