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Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it take?

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  #1  
Old 03-09-2013, 02:20 AM
lucaluca lucaluca is offline
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Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it take?

Hi everyone!

I've been doing increasingly high-end work over the past year but as I've never worked in an agency, I have no idea about how long things should normally take and I'm always concerned I'll wind up overcharging someone due to being too slow. I'm curious to know how long it would take you all to do an image involving the following:

-overall body skin retouch (average skin - not great but not bad either)
-body liquify
-detailed mask of lingerie and color change of the fabric
-hair (lots of fly aways and clumps that needed to be removed from face and body)

I know it's hard to estimate without seeing the actual image but I'm just curious about a general time range you think it would take you all to complete this (to a very high-end level).

I would really appreciate any responses!!
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:03 AM
cardmaverick cardmaverick is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

I'd be very wary of charging by the hour if that's what your doing.
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:07 AM
lucaluca lucaluca is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

Okay but in that case, how much would one charge for an image like the one described? This would be for an agency with high-end commercial clients...
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:25 AM
cardmaverick cardmaverick is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

Is this a volume thing with a ton of shots or is this commercial as in "advertising"? I think a lot of people confuse commercials with catalogs - not the same thing in my opinion. Catalogs tend to be far more farm like in their production due to the sheer volume of work and the fact that inventory can change, etc... I shot and post produced a catalog last year and we negotiated a price based on the number of images they wanted and the level of retouching expected. There was no hourly fee, day rate, etc.. just a flat project rate. Catalog clients really like that approach, no surprises about what they are going to pay.

For ads - it boils down to what you can negotiate and what the client feels you're worth really. I hesitate to say "charge $x,xxx.xx" because the most successful artists negotiate what they are paid and they overwhelmingly do not charge by the hour, some by the day, but never by the hour. Again - a lot of artists have a set amount they agree to do the job for - ad clients like that as well.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:59 AM
Gratin Gratin is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

Quote:
Originally Posted by cardmaverick View Post
Is this a volume thing with a ton of shots or is this commercial as in "advertising"? I think a lot of people confuse commercials with catalogs - not the same thing in my opinion. Catalogs tend to be far more farm like in their production due to the sheer volume of work and the fact that inventory can change, etc... I shot and post produced a catalog last year and we negotiated a price based on the number of images they wanted and the level of retouching expected. There was no hourly fee, day rate, etc.. just a flat project rate. Catalog clients really like that approach, no surprises about what they are going to pay.

For ads - it boils down to what you can negotiate and what the client feels you're worth really. I hesitate to say "charge $x,xxx.xx" because the most successful artists negotiate what they are paid and they overwhelmingly do not charge by the hour, some by the day, but never by the hour. Again - a lot of artists have a set amount they agree to do the job for - ad clients like that as well.
It should be worth noting however that it essentially boils down to an hourly rate in the end. Whether you bill them by project, day, night, week or whatever, your retouching is measured in time. If you bill by the project you have to have in mind what this breaks down to as an hourly rate, or a daily rate, because you should have a figure in mind that you will work for and one below which you won't. If the client comes to you with 100 images and a £1000 project budget, then those images are pretty much getting opened, saved and closed again. If they have £10,000, then you can do more, like throw a curve on it

OP as has been mentioned above, a rough guide of time per image and their expectations will be based on how many images they have. 100? Not long on each. 10, then unless they've got 50p to pay for it that would suggest 10 high quality images for some sort of advertising.

There really are many variables, and as usual the key is communication. You have to thrash out a budget and most importantly what the client can expect for that budget (And don't be shy at this part). You can't agree on £20 per image to colour balance it and then they turn around and ask for head comps and background switches.

I'd budget 3 hours an image to do what you've described and then work out what you think that's worth to you.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:07 AM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

As Gratin says, it ultimately comes down to an hourly rate even if the customer is only interested in the final figure. Work out the hourly rate you expect to charge for all work in the future and multiply it by the hours you think this new job will take. Don't be shy - the job WILL be more difficult than the brief suggests. If I had a £ for every time a client says "I forgot to mention..." I'd be rich. As CMav alludes to, if the client is spending £200K on ad space they won't baulk at a paying a few grand for great retouching. You can't do high end with low end mentality - if they've come to you for a quote they WANT to use YOU.
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:47 PM
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AKMac AKMac is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

Quote:
if they've come to you for a quote they WANT to use YOU.
I wouldn't be too sure about that!
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:48 PM
cardmaverick cardmaverick is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

Everything can be boiled down into an hourly rate, even minute rates (if your a lawyer LOL). To clarify more... Don't quote based on hours - there is something weird that happens when you put people's minds into a "per hour" state of thinking. Before you know it, you'll be getting nickel'd and dime'd left and right. It just seems to happen. People start trying to make you cram a ton of stuff into a tiny amount of time etc... it's the ugliness that per hour mindset creates.

I highly recommend you get a signed agreement in writing as well. Have you asked them what their budget is? I learned early on that when you ask what the budget is, or what they think you're services would cost, you'll be surprised at what numbers people throw out. Some will be too low, but other times you'll be surprised that they expect to pay more than you were thinking of charging. Either way, you get a better idea of what type of client they are.

I had this happen to myself this month when I approached a custom tailoring company that specializes in costumes for films, photos, etc.. Their first question: Are you using a TFP model? - That was their way of seeing what kind of client I was going to be - I said no, I pay all of my models. We had an in person meeting that day. I'm certain that if I had said TFP, I probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere.

Don't be afraid to reject crappy offers. I was once offered a low rate for a very big job. I said it's to low, and submitted a quote 3x what they proposed. I waited a week, then got an email agreeing to the quote. We started work the next week. A lot of people get screwed because they don't know what they are really worth and what people's real cut off limits are for spending.

Sorry for being long winded....
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:21 AM
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

My point AK is that, at the high end, clients don't waste time getting quotes from people they have no intention of using (yes, there are exceptions!). When I get quotes from a supplier I WANT them to get the job otherwise I wouldn't be wasting my time asking. Most of my clients are not interested in my hourly rate - they just want the total! However, by having an hourly rate, upon which I base my quote, I have insulated myself from under-charging. I don't worry about the jobs where i could have charged more: it's under charging that makes me sweat! Importantly, by knowing your rate you can add the cost of extras easily and with confidence without pulling figures from thin air. If you give clients a verbal price update (this happens a lot) it helps if you sound confident and don't waffle - they will also be able to make sense of your pricing patterns which, after several years, counts for something. Whichever way you go Luca, make sure your pricing structure makes sense!
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:20 PM
lucaluca lucaluca is offline
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Re: Attn:High-end retouchers -How long should it t

Hi Everyone- thanks for all your helpful replies. My basic question, however, was how long you would estimate that it would take you to retouch an image in that way I described (I'm just curious to see what my speed might be compared to that of other retouchers.) I know it's hard to say an exact time but assuming you have retouched similar images, how long would it typically take you (i.e. half hour, 4 hours, whatever). Thanks!
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