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Matching/Creating patterns on clothes and clients

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Old 03-05-2014, 04:10 PM
FCP FCP is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 17
Matching/Creating patterns on clothes and clients


I have a client who like many photographers these days has forgotten about styling portraits and head shots thinks it all can be done in post production.

This is my impression anyway. This is a seasoned pro who has been shooting for thirty yrs. I am the freelance retoucher. More and more and more I get images with crazy stray hair all over the place, lint all over clothing, wrinkles, etc... It's been crazy.

On more then one recent occasion i received images of men in suits that are wearing very wrinkled, and or wavy dress shirts that have patterns. Some are worse then others and some simply in my opinion are not fixable with satisfying results. It can be very, very time consuming and if there is nothing to borrow, beg or steal from I can't do it.

The biggest problem I have is telling this client it can't be done or that there are no guarantees there will be good results. How do you deal with that? I certainly can not tell him how to do his job. I am on a per image basis with this person not per hour so I want to scream and say use a lint brush! or a piece of gaffers tape..damn

side note: someone with in-design or illustrator experience would be able to create or borrow and create a pattern, correct?
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:37 AM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Location: Bristol UK
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Re: Matching/Creating patterns on clothes and clie

This crops up quite a bit on lifestyle shots and is particularly annoying when it is a peripheral yet significant part of the workload. Removing creases from materials that have complex patterns or visible weave texture is tricky and if you can't scavenge patches from other shots you can burn some hours. You have to set the photographer right on his expectations in relation to his fixed fee - tell them to up the rate or buy an iron! It helps if you can explain the difficulty by showing them, using examples, what is easy to fix and what is not. If you're worried about losing his custom, AFAIK he won't find anyone who has an instant (cheap) fix for such retouching problems.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:33 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Matching/Creating patterns on clothes and clie

I used to do this.

In the meantime I learned to charge for my hours. There's a price for everything.

It's up to the client to decide if it's more affordable to do it in post(and even if you charge your hours, it might have been a really fast shoot that simply had to be done as is, and everything fixed in post). If it's a choice they made, it doesn't mean they're bad at their job, just that they know how to manage time.

Then there are clients that aren't very good and expect for everyone else to pick up their slack, and they'll never have amazing images.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:30 AM
FCP FCP is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Re: Matching/Creating patterns on clothes and clie

I shoot too. I have more experience as a photographer then a retoucher.

When I shoot I still pay attention to the styling of my subject. Stray hairs, wrinkles, unwanted objects are still part of the process and the result. I also understand that it does make the post process easier and allows for more natural looking results.

We don't always work with stylists, make up artists or even models that have perfect skin. I often work with everyday normal people and if I don't have stylist I try to do it myself. It take a few minutes to fix a shirt, a second to move a hair out of someones face. I take notice to these things when I shoot. To me, photographing a subject is more then light, and posing. That said, I know what I can get away with and leave to post.

I am NOT in the business of telling someone how to do there job. This person is a very good, very established photographer who I think has gotten away from those things I mentioned. Although I made my own bed when I agreed to a fix rate I can not just simply tell someone to pay attention to things more while shooting or to go buy an iron.
I think that's a quick way to lose a client. There must be a more delicate way to let someone know.

as a side note, this is not beauty or fashion retouching. It's portrait and head shots and the demand is for very natural looking images, with flaws and all.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:07 AM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: Matching/Creating patterns on clothes and clie

You have to find your own charm and grace in the delivery, but one way or another you want to convey to your client that you love their work and love working for them, but when you set your per-item rate it was based on an expectation of a certain level of cleanliness and usability of the images provided. But as things have progressed you are finding that that level is less than you anticipated. Together you and they have essentially 3 options:

1. They upgrade the general level of "cleanliness and usability" (or however you choose to phrase it) of the provided images, and your price stays the same.

2. You raise your per-item price across the board to accommodate the additional workload they are engendering.

3. Your per-item price stays the same, but on those few images that are really bad you will have to assess a surcharge.


If any or all of those options seems too odious to convey to them, then you are probably overall pleased with them as a client and consider your fee appropriate to the task. Thus, as you're already doing, you go the extra mile every once in a while to keep a good client happy, and nobody is the worse for wear.

4. If you're overall pleased with their quality and your price, and every so often you have to go an extra mile to bail out a good client, so be it, it's part of your package that keeps them coming back.

You either need to raise the specter of cleaner images or higher fees, or you don't. I'm sure there mere act of raising the issue, and the notion of raising prices to suit, will go a long way toward them cleaning up their act. I sense you're simply questioning your confidence in conveying your needs without alienating your client. But you seem like a very well spoken person, you probably need less help with this than you think. Instead of asking others what you should say, how about you tell us what you're thinking of saying and we'll tell you if it sounds reasonable or offensive?

Last edited by Flashtones; 03-06-2014 at 03:38 PM.
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