The hardest part about outsourcing is getting started.

Sure, it takes tedious tasks off your plate and saves you time in the long run, but you often need to invest resources in kicking things off and putting new processes into place.

But if you choose the right service provider for the right task, this transition can go a lot smoother — so you can get back to business.

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Clipping paths are a straightforward but nitty gritty task, making them perfect to hand off to someone else. Choosing the right partner will ensure you invest resources in a long-term solution instead of an unreliable service that ends up costing you time and money.

In this article:

Why choosing the right clipping path partner is important

The main point in investing time upfront to find the right outsourcing partner is to save time in the long run. If you get it wrong, you’ll have to go through this whole process again.

So what happens if you choose the wrong clipping path services? Some potential scenarios:

  • Missed print deadlines
  • Unhappy or even lost clients
  • Wasted money
  • Competitors list their products on Amazon first

And those are just a few possibilities. Depending on what’s at stake in your role at work, poorly edited or late images can make or break a deadline, campaign, or other important milestone.

Worse, some companies are so untrustworthy that they’ll reuse your photos in other ways — without permission or compensation. You need to protect your assets!

How to choose the best clipping path service provider: where to look

There are TONS of clipping path options available on the web. A quick Google search is a great place to start, but it can also be overwhelming. If you want to know how to choose the best clipping path company, carefully research each option that pops up.

Other places to look:

  • Ask your network for recommendations. Chat your colleagues, email your peers, or post on social media. (This might also score you free or discounted clipping paths — at Path, you can earn and redeem points in exchange for free photo edits.)
  • Look locally. If you prefer to work with someone in-person, check your local networks. Director of Comprehensive Cranium Care Melissa Stern checks with local universities to see which professors are teaching photography classes. She then browses their portfolio to see if they might be the right fit. The same approach could work with graphic design, Photoshop, and photo-editing teachers.
  • Check outsource service marketplaces. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork act like a clipping path marketplace of sorts, allowing freelance photo editors to publicize their services and bid on jobs. You might find good options here, but keep in mind that quality often varies and individuals don’t have the same bandwidth for volume as an agency or company.
  • Read trusted industry publications. There are tons of round-up articles on the web that provide lists of the best resources for product photographers and ecommerce sellers. This article from Amazon SEO Consultant, for example, gives Path services their stamp of approval. (Thanks Tom!)

What to consider when vetting your clipping path options

“I find clipping path service providers through intensive searches on the internet,” says Jacob Smith, founder and graphic designer, Product Viz. “This means finding a general list of providers, then from there looking at the websites for each individual provider, their prices, and their work.”

Find a general list of providers, then from there look at the websites for each individual provider, their prices, and their work. – Jacob Smith, founder and graphic designer, Product Viz

Cost and payment

First things first: You’ve gotta make sure the services fit your budget. Path is a cheap clipping path service, for example, with prices starting at just $0.49/image.

Remember to examine the pricing structure and what’s included with posted rates. “Some providers charge more when there are many different objects in the background of whatever you wish to clip around,” says Smith. “And some offer a discount when more work has to be done.”

With Path, you can buy a package of Edit Credits. This is great when you have recurring photo-editing needs: You don’t need to enter credit card information each time you place an order, and you can save up to 17%.

It’s also important to check out how they take payment. This needs to work with your business and how you process accounts payable and vendor invoices.

Find out how to charge your clients for edits you’ve outsourced


Though you want to save money, you don’t want to skimp on quality. “The best way to find the best clipping path service provider is to observe and compare clipping styles of works of potential providers to see exactly which one best fits with your style and what you want to accomplish,” says Smith. Look for samples on their website that show proof of their work.

Some other questions to ask:

  • How are the clipping paths drawn? If they mention anything about automation, look for another option. You want humans paying attention to every last detail in your photo — computers can easily overlook those.
  • What is the QA process? Is someone overseeing every order to make sure it’s up to standards? This is especially important when dealing with companies who have multiple editors.
  • What happens if I’m not happy with my images? Tread lightly if there’s no satisfaction guarantee.

If possible, do a free trial first. This way you can test the quality for yourself as a true clipping path client — risk-free.

Try our services first with a free trial

Turnaround time

If you have flexible timelines, this isn’t so much a concern. But when time works against you, you need a clipping path service that can work with you.

Keep in mind that rushed turnaround also typically comes with an additional fee. If you need quick turnaround, it’s a good idea to find out what the rush fees are.

Tight on time? Here are 17 ways to save time so your photography business can grow.

Services list

It makes sense to get started with simple photo edits like clipping paths and image masking, for example. But as time goes on, you might need additional types of photo edits. Your editing needs might change as your business expands into new commerce channels, workload increases for your team, or you have different internal priorities.

Finding a clipping path service provider that can also do things like photo retouching, ghost mannequin, and even vector conversion. If you don’t, you might find yourself using multiple providers or searching for a new editor altogether.

Greg Bullock uses Fiverr to outsource photo edits for TheraSpecs. “I still do some finalizing after it comes back, but the majority of the work is done by independent contractors,” he says. “We use a few different individual contractors depending on the specific editing work required.”

Maximum order size

Much like your turnaround time can be tight, you might also have large batches of photos. This is especially relevant for seasonal businesses or big product launches.

The biggest order we’ve ever fulfilled at Path was 8,915 photos. Can you challenge us to do more?

Get a quote for your photo edits

Customer support

88% of mid-market business leaders said communication was a main driver of a successful outsourcing experience. If you have no way to communicate with the folks doing your clipping paths, you’re going to be facing an uphill battle.

Here’s a scenario: If you’re working with a clipping path service in the UK but you’re based in California, the time difference could make efficient communication difficult.

At Path, we have email support available 24/7. So if you’re across the globe or working at midnight on a weekend, we’re still here to answer questions that pop up — you'll get a response in 45 minutes or less.


Unfortunately, this industry is rampant with substandard working conditions for the people actually doing the clipping paths — especially when you’re dealing with overseas companies.

That doesn’t make them all bad though! For example, we’re a clipping path service in Bangladesh, one of the reasons being, Path founder Atiqur Sumon grew up in a small village there and wanted to give back. Now, a UN Global Compact Partner, we employ more than 300 professional photo editors. Not to mention all the fun we have as a team :)

This is actually one of the reasons photographer Jim Palmer chose to outsource his photo edits to Path. “Path does some really great things with helping people create careers and jobs,” says the Toysmith photographer. “I like what they're doing as a company and as an organization.”


It’s always a good idea to check out clipping path service reviews before working with anyone. And this doesn’t mean the testimonials and quotes plastered on their site. You want to check third-party review sites like Trustpilot, Sitejabber, and even Google reviews.

“Look them up on review sites such as Glassdoor,” says Smith. “This allows you to see firsthand reviews from past customers so you can assess provider transparency.”

Do a Google search for “[clipping path service provider name] reviews” and see what else pops up. This could uncover niche sites with more detailed reviews to validate the others you’ve already found.

Moving forward with your outsourced clipping paths

It’s important to choose the right clipping path service provider so you don’t waste the time and money that you were hoping to save by outsourcing in the first place. Find reputable options by asking within your network, on social media, and in industry publications. And consider these things when vetting your options:

  • Cost and payment: Make sure it’s within your budget and they offer a payment method that works with your business.
  • Quality: Do they have proof of their work?
  • Turnaround time: Don’t forget to ask about rush fees!
  • Services list: Find a provider that can grow with you.
  • Maximum order size: If you have large batches of photos, a single individual might not be able to keep up.
  • Customer support: Inaccessible support is a red flag.
  • Ethics: You want to feel good about where your money’s going.
  • Reviews: This is the social proof you need to make sure you’re making the right choice.

Learn more about our clipping path services

Alexandra Sheehan

In her past agency life, Alex has led digital marketing initiatives for Fortune 500 companies. Now, she’s passionate about helping retailers and retail industry leaders harness the power of the written word and fuse it with strategic content, email and social media marketing campaigns.

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