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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Restoration: Loverly Needs Advice AGAIN

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Old 09-19-2005, 09:08 PM
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Loverly Loverly is offline
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Red face Loverly Needs Advice AGAIN

Hi all,
I have here 4 of 6 photos from a photographer who's friend wants these photos restored of his store. Being that I have only done 3 restorations all of which you have seen on this site and know now much time it takes to do them right I want to charge an arm and a leg to restore these but know I have to keep some sort of limit! Got any ideas on how to estamate a restoration job?


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Old 09-19-2005, 09:16 PM
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Caitlin Caitlin is offline
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Yikes! You've got some tricky ones there. Curious about the black marks though - is that the colour of the damage, or have they been scanned on a black background?
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Old 09-20-2005, 09:10 AM
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kschulz kschulz is offline
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Loverly, you do have some good ones there! How to estimate? I think it depends largely on your motivation - what you want to get out of it - which isn't always $$$. My rambling thoughts...

If you've done a lot of these before and you're doing this job strictly for the business ($$$), I believe it's a fairly straighforward calculation of 'hours x rate + material'. Of course, you need to decide for yourself what hourly rate is acceptable, and this assumes you already have a good idea of what it'll take. Customer won't pay that much? Then you may have to pass on the job - afterall, it's your business and time is money and more customers are lined up waiting and yadda, yadda, yadda. Of course, you may have a different motivation...

If you're new to restoration work, and with 3 under your belt it sounds like this is definitely the case, then you may be looking to get your teeth into some killer photos just for the experience and to hone your skills. Since you're learning, obviously it will take *much* longer than if you've done many of these in the past. Time may not be an issue for you, but then the customer wouldn't expect to have to pay for your learning experience either.

In this case, imagine yourself as a seasoned, uber-guru restorer and "guess" how long this restoration "should" take and apply the formula. Don't worry about your guess being way off, just refine on future jobs as you gain experience. Or search the net to get an idea of what competitors in your area would charge for similar work. Now for the important part: when you're finished with the job, DON'T look back and try to figure how much you actually got paid per hour for the job - you'll only be disappointed Your reward will be the learning experience, a little pocket cash, and witnessing the astonished look on the customer's face when you deliver.

And if you do well, it's been my experience that more business will follow as a result, either from the same client or by word of mouth. If your primary motivation is to establish a name for yourself and a little local notoriety and the money doesn't matter at this point, then consider a fixed "token" fee and just do the work. But be sure to charge *something*. If you're serious about doing this as a business (full or part-time) I would caution against freebies which can devalue your skill in people's minds and set the wrong expectations.

So now you're saying "...great, but I just want to know what to charge...". Heck, I don't know .

No, seriously...there are many sites on the net that can help you - just look at other restoration sites and you should get a pretty good idea of the going rate (throwing out the very highs and the very lows).

- Kurt

Last edited by kschulz; 09-20-2005 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:38 AM
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chrishoggy chrishoggy is offline
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If they are all the same subject matter, you can use one image to repair the other. Example would be images 1 and 4 of those you posted. The perspective may be different, but the subject is the same. You could easily use image 4 to repair the damage to image 1, and that will cut down on man hours needed to restore it.
First thing I look at is how much detail should be/is in the damaged area. Example being images 3 & 4 have less damage in detailed areas. Images 1 & 2 have damage in high detailed areas, so the price on those would be higher. But then again Image 1 detail can be fixed using Image 4, so that would reduce the price on that one. It can be very difficult to price up a job, so it all comes down experience.
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:54 AM
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RooB RooB is offline
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Adding onto what the others have said-- with photo # 2 and possibly photo # 3 you can restore the left and right sides of the buildings and then copy and flip them to help quickly restore the missing pieces on the opposing side of the building, just be sure to differientiate a little in detail so they don't look like flipped copies.
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Old 09-20-2005, 02:25 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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i divide these things up into three classes, retouch, restore, and reconstruct. retouch is the easiest; reconstruct is the hardest. i would charge accordingly.

you have two restores, image two and four. these are fairly easy. and two reconstructs, one and three. those are going to be stinkers.

the whole business of rate depends on a lot of factors, what will the market bear, what do you demand, how global or local is the prospective customer looking, what's their required time limit (rush jobs being more expensive), how skilled is the operator and so on.

also, do you want to charge by the job or by the hour? i prefer by the job. i hate being pinned to a fix rate and hate watching the clock. i just wanna do the job. now, you can estimate the hours necessary and determine a per hour basis for your work and multiply these two together; e.g. looks like a 5 hour job at $40 per hour = $200. then you simply bid the job at $200 and dont have to watch the clock. looking at those four images i'd estimate about an hour each for two and four and maybe four to six hours each for one and three, depending how detailed you want them. that's a grand total of 10-14 hours times your rate.

then, add in any discounts you may want to give; i.e bulk, seniors, guilt, whatever.

so, what's your time worth and how long do you think it's going to take?

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Old 09-20-2005, 05:32 PM
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Loverly Loverly is offline
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Wink You guys are great!

I loverly all your opinions and ideas! Great info and input!


P.S.I forgot to subscribe to my own thread so I just now found all your wonderful posts! duh!
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Old 09-20-2005, 10:28 PM
Robt Robt is offline
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I, like you, loverly, am not a restorer [although I plan on asking how to do 2 images that have been given to me to fix]. However, I am an estimator.

Estimating is the simple task of breaking a job to the task that is as small as necessary to be sure of the cost. Then you add up the parts and pieces you've priced. ie the image is faded and all you have to do is scan, then in PS; levels, output sharpen and print; 1 hour,done. Not likely ever this simple but a scenario.

Same with these jobs, if you know what steps to take to "fix" these images, at least guess at each steps time.

Oh yeah, always figure labor in HOURS because the next time you are looking at a job that is nearly the same, the ~levels to fix the [anything]~ will be the same job, the $ likely will not. But, you can review your real job costs from the previous.

While I repeat that I can't yet do your restoration, if you can get someone to lay out the steps, you can likely figure it at least to the point you've kept time records of those steps which shouldn't vary much from image to image. Yeah,except each image will vary in its difficulty for each step so with experience, you'll up the time or decrease it.

Oh, I guess I should tell you that for small jobs always figure small jobs in 1/2 day increments. I've never seen an employee give up an hour or two because they were done early.

Last edited by Robt; 09-20-2005 at 11:02 PM.
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