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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

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  #1  
Old 11-18-2010, 07:23 PM
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How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

Ok. I have been battling with the fact that I feel like I am getting severely taken advantage of...

I am a retoucher for a local photography studio. I edit every single picture that comes in. I get paid once a month and only make 50 cents an image. I have been with the studio for over a year and average around $80 a month..........


I am extremely interested to hear what a normal salary should be.
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:30 PM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

Jessica, approximately how many hours worth of work do you put in for the $80 / month or on average how much time do you spend editing an image?
Regards, Murray
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:36 PM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

I go in the studio once a week to pick up images. I usually pick up about 5-8 orders equalling around 40 pictures or more. it takes me about 5-10 minutes an edit (depending on amount of retouching needed of course) so right around six hours. but again it vary's a lot. sometimes I edit wedding orders and those alone can take days.

I get paid once a month.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:23 PM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

10 minutes per photo means 6 per hour which is equivalent to working $3/hr. I don'y know what minimum wage is in Ohio but I have to believe it's greater than $3/hr - and the skill requirements are likely a lot less than you need to retouch photos.
I would say that you are definitely being taken advantage of. Perhaps it is not intentional because the Photography business can be very cuthroat and low margin, especially for wedding shots. The photographer may not have the margin to spend more than 50 cents / image. The least I would do though is set some limits for what you will do for that 50 cents. For wedding snapshots, use an action to auto contrast, auto color, & crop. If your are asked to clone out flash hot spots, extraneous dinnerware, or remove backgrounds, you should be paid extra. If it is important to the end customer, they will pay for it. If the issue is one of poor photography, then the photographer should pay for it.
If the studio tells you that if you won't work for their rate they will outsource it to Elbonia for 10 cents / photo, then you need to make a decision. But I would look for other employment opportunities once your skills are refined. There is plenty of work out there for good retouchers.
Regards, Murray
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:28 PM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

thanks for the feedback! I know she can afford to give me more pay. Having the actions is a great idea... but I feel like im always making it harder for myself. lol. I start every single image right from the raw picture then go from what I think needs retouching. I almost always color correct and sharpen. So maybe I need on get on making some actions for them.

minimum wage in ohio is 7:30 hr.

once again thank you for the comment! =D
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:41 PM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

Opening a RAW image and seeing its potential and wanting to do a great job on it is a good sign. Use your
situation as an opportunity to strengthen your skills. When the time is right, you will be able to secure much better work.
Regards, Murray
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Old 11-19-2010, 06:48 AM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

On average about 3 to 6 images per hour.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:10 AM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

even at a prepress studio you should be up at the $20/hr if you are full time. Look around there are lots of resources for jobs online. there are a few listed here

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=629804

some are out of country but a few are located in the US
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:14 AM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

thank you =D
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:26 AM
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Re: How Much Should a Retoucher Make?

If it gives you any perspective, I've done work for my cousin that involves basic "touchup" edits at 2.50 an image as a family discount, and he's insanely grateful for that price. That's my -blood- and he says he's getting a steal with that rate. I would hope an employer in a genuine work setting could cough up a bit more, not 80% less, unless he just doesn't understand or value what it is you do.

Retouching seems to have one of the highest disproportions out there of workers getting abused monetarily compared to the effort involved, because the tools involved 95% of the world seems to think don't exist, or magically do the work for you.
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