Alee Mills, director of operations at clothing brand Ice Cream Castles, and Veronique Barnes, who co-founded the brand, do everything — fulfillment, inventory management, marketing, customer support, and everything in between.

They used to spend hours on photo editing too, often staying up all night fumbling through Photoshop to have images ready for a next-day trade show. “We were taking all of our photographs and sitting there for hours Photoshopping everything,” says Alee. They had a photographer, but their capacity was limited to 50 per week by how many photos they could edit at a time, and her editing costs were high.

Once Alee and Veronique started outsourcing edits, they were able to get a big batches edited in only 6 hours. For a recent trade show, Alee remembers sending off 150 product shots to be edited and cropped. “We woke up to the edited images the next day and they were perfect.”

A story-driven children’s clothing brand

Ice Cream Castles is a children’s clothing brand inspired by a story of traveling to imaginary places. They make playful, whimsical apparel for three-month-old babies through size 10.

Veronique co-founded the brand and is now the sole owner of the company in her role as president and head designer. Alee is director of operations at Ice Cream Castles.

We’re very story-driven. Every collection is centered around a magical imaginary place that these children are traveling to on imaginary ice cream trucks.

“We’re very story-driven. Every collection is centered around a magical imaginary place that these children are traveling to on imaginary ice cream trucks,” says Alee. “The clothes they bring back are all souvenirs and memories from visiting these places. So you have a lot of visuals, and a lot of the prints are kind of out there but relatable.”

Challenges fiddling with Photoshop

ice cream castles outsource edits

  • Then: up to 37 hours editing a batch of photos
  • Now: 6 hours, worry free
  • Then: wasting 12+ hours for 4 imperfect images
  • Now: 12 hours, worry-free
  • Then: spending valuable time in Photoshop
  • Now: spending less than $1.00 per image

Originally a social media marketer and now a jack-of-all-trades, Alee worked with Veronique to do everything for the business — fulfillment, inventory management, marketing, customer support, and anything in between. “I've got my hand in everything,” she says.

When she first started, the product photos on the website needed some attention. “The pictures on the website were all different sizes,” Alee recalls. “Some were really close, some were really far away, and some you could see the print and the colors look different from piece to piece.”

Veronique was busy running a brand and didn’t have time to do photo edits, and design isn’t an area Alee has too much hands-on experience with. But product photos needed editing if they wanted to propel the brand forward, so they invested time learning Photoshop.

“We sat there doing product shots, Googling, and getting YouTube videos for resizing. It’s just so many hours of time,” she says. Soon, the photo edits combined with a growing workload, became too cumbersome.

To create a white border and make the images look uniform, “we were taking all of our photographs and sitting there for hours Photoshopping everything.” This process was intense and time-consuming. Alee and her partner often found themselves pressed for time in stressful situations with tight deadlines.

“We would get our samples and then have to photograph everything and take them to a trade show. A lot of times the turnaround for that is two or three days. One time it was the day of — we got the samples, picked them up at FedEx, and took them on a plane with us to New York and needed everything photographed in 20 minutes.”

And as the brand grows, so do the product photography needs. “We do a ton of social media," says Alee. “We also partnered with Zulily. We’re using the Amazon function.”

They’ve hired a product photographer for lifestyle shots, but editing still takes a lot of time, especially considering channels with different requirements. Plus, their product photographer caps out at 50 photos per shoot. “[Our photographer] doesn’t have time to edit for us,” she says. “I know I could get more out of her.”

At a certain point, they knew it was time to look for help. “We would have loved to be able to take pictures ourselves and have them edited professionally without having to pay an arm and a leg for a photographer,” Alee says.

We would have loved to be able to take pictures ourselves and have them edited professionally without having to pay an arm and a leg.

Taking the photo edits off their plate

Veronique did a quick Google search and found Clipping Path India. “The pricing was very competitive, as well as the different turnaround times,” Alee says. “It’s fast. It takes an extra thing off of our plates that we don’t have time for anymore.”

With prices so low, there was little risk. So Veronique decided to give it a try.

She and Veronique like that they’re able to provide direction for the photo edits while not having to do it themselves. “We both have a really good work ethic and we're both really controlling,” Alee explains. “So, I like being able to have something that we control from start to finish and [direct] the aesthetics and where we want to take things.”

Our cost with Clipping Path India is less than $1 per image, and the different turnaround time options are a great way to save some extra money.

They also love the flexibility in turnaround time and how it works with different budgets. “Our cost with Clipping Path India is less than $1 per image, and the different turnaround time options are a great way to save some extra money,” she says. “I know that if we have a week, it’s going to be cheaper and it’ll still come out the way I want. We really like the consistency.”

ice cream castles product photo

An effortless photo editing solution

Now, they outsource their photo edits to free up the time they’d otherwise be fumbling around in Photoshop. Ice Cream Castles sends as many as 75 photos to Clipping Path India in a single batch — and up to 150 in urgent situations.

“Clipping Path India allows us to just take the pictures and send them,” Alee says of outsourcing their edits. “Then we get them back, and they’re all on a white background. The size we need, the resolution we need — and we don’t even have to think about it. It’s alleviated a lot of our stress with product pictures. We average 50-ish new products per season and take front and back images of most pieces.”

Clipping Path India has come in handy for tight deadlines, too.

“One time we needed 150 product shots edited and cropped urgently for a trade show that was happening the day after we received our samples. [Veronique] stayed up all night editing — and the entire flight to New York and the next day so we could have line sheets for the trade show. [Now] we’re able to photograph all of the products and submit for editing in the same evening. We wake up to the edited images the next day, and they’re perfect.”

Same-day turnaround saves the day for these time-pressed situations. When they still DIYed their edits, it took three of them 12+ hours to get four poster images ready for a trade show booth. That’s all changed now that they work with Clipping Path India. “When we need something by the end of the day, it’ll be there,” she says.

“We just used Clipping Path India for the first time to edit our lookbook images, and it worked out to be around $3.25/image to make all of the background colors consistent, to do image masking, and to add a natural-looking drop shadow to all of the images,” says Alee. “We got them back in 12 hours, which is amazing.”

alee mills outsource path

Alee also needed to make sure she was working with a company that could scale with their changing needs. Businesses experience fluctuations and busy periods, and sometimes they have big batches of photos to edit.

“The amount of pictures we’re able to get back in such a short amount of time is one of the things we absolutely love about Clipping Path India. There are several times each year where we need a relatively large amount of photos edited really quickly, and doing it in-house takes up so much time.”

Outsourcing photo editing has also allowed Ice Cream Castles to get the best bang for their buck when it comes to the professional photographer they work with, who takes about a week to turn around edits.

“Our photographer is very talented, but it costs us so much extra for the editing,” Alee says. Now, they can get more shots from her.

Like many busy professionals, time is a hot commodity. When they started outsourcing to Clipping Path India, Alee and Veronique were able to invest their time in other more impactful activities to contribute to business goals. And they don’t have to spend so much time tinkering with their photography skills.

“We now have the freedom to shoot products on any surface with any lighting because we know Clipping Path India will come through and deliver consistent, quality imagery every time.”

“We used to spend 5–15 minutes per product shot editing them ourselves, and they would never be cropped uniformly or saved to the right size we needed for our website and vendors. We just didn’t have the extra time to put in. Now we can get 50–150 images back in 6 hours if we need to, and all we have to do is upload them completely unedited and untouched. We now have the freedom to shoot products on any surface with any lighting because we know Clipping Path India will come through and deliver consistent, quality imagery every time.”

Now that editing is off their plate, Alee and Veronique have gotten back in touch with their passion and creativity.

“Just having fun is really important for us. If you're not having fun, the creative work suffers, and a huge amount of what we do is the creative part.”

Clipping Path India has taken something that we don’t like to do off of our plate. It’s allowed us more time to do other things that need to get done.

Find the time to fall in love with your work again

Clipping Path India can handle photo editing jobs big and small. Forget fiddling with Photoshop. Get back to the work you love to do.

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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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