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Retouchers - rates and time help, please

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Old 03-22-2010, 07:36 PM
thecuke thecuke is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 10
Retouchers - rates and time help, please

I was recently asked to give a quote for retouching two "LARGE" model/actor headshots, including a background removal. For this kind of work, I generally charge $40/hour. I'm estimating I'll spend a good ten hours total (but I've only seen the low resolution versions, so I'm not sure how much work there will really be - possibly less than I'm estimating.) To me, $400 seems quite high for two headshots. So, my question is, am I just extremely slow at my work or is this a reasonable quote?
Thank you for your feedback in advance.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:59 PM
madclark madclark is offline
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Posts: 199
Re: Retouchers - rates and time help, please

To be perfectly honest, I think you must be a little slow at your work. There are times when pixel by pixel retouching may be important. Say the work is being blown up to a significant increase in size or has specific technical issues. But an actor's headshot will rarely be larger than an 8" x 10", often only being printed at 150 dpi. Even with a background removal, unless it was truly something tricky or demanding I couldn't see more than two hours tops per shot.

For example, I had a production photo for a large national arts company that recently engaged me on a high-resolution image to remove a massive amount of paint splatters on the singer in the shot. I was literally reconstructing some parts of her body and still came in under two hours. A respected friend and colleague confirmed that it was completely realistic and my work unnoticeable.

If you've not incorporated shortcuts or time-savers for less important areas of the shot, you're doing a disservice to the client. If you're having to truly spend 10 hours on a single image, the photographer is doing a disservice to you. If a client doesn't mind spending $400 for retouching on a single image, they're doing a disservice to themselves.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:37 AM
thecuke thecuke is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 10
Re: Retouchers - rates and time help, please

I appreciate the feedback.
I was actually considering ten hours total - five for each image. Your information is helpful, though. It confirms for me that I'm too much of a perfectionist. I often trap myself about halfway through the image.
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