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Work/Jobs Talk about the business side of things. Advice, questions, inspiration, and moral support

Anyone else struggling to find work?

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  #11  
Old 05-23-2005, 02:59 PM
emarts emarts is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Northern, NJ
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Hmm. I'm new to this forum but have been digitally retouching since Photoshop 1. I worked for a long time for a photo lab. Mostly doing color correction. Then I decided to go on my own. I have a couple of photographers as clients, but most of my clients are advertising companies and design firms. They spent a lot of money on their photography, and they usually have a budget to get the photo just right. Also, many times they will have a photo that needs an update (i.e. drop in a new product).

Perhaps you can market to the same type of comapnies?
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2005, 04:26 PM
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Imagepro4U Imagepro4U is offline
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Emarts, how did you approach these companies? Did you call? Write them a letter? What area are you from? Please, any advice would be appreciated! Thank-you!
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  #13  
Old 05-25-2005, 08:51 AM
emarts emarts is offline
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At first, I had some contacts that I made from working in the industry for 12 years. I used them right away to get my feet off the ground. Of course I had to offer more than just retouching. I offered other creative services too.

But to get new clients, my wife and I went door-to-door soliciting business. We basically ignored no soliciting signs. All we would do is walk up to the recptionist (if there was one) and humbly asked for help. We learned that if you approach them like you need help, they are more likely to talk to you. All we needed was contact information and a good time to call. One day we did 10 offices and got 3 jobs. 30% return is pretty good.

When my wife got pregnant I decided to go back to work. Now my kids are in school and I'm ready to freelance again. So I'll be hitting the pavement once again. But I'ver noticed a drop in perceived value for retouching. I suppose people think anybody can do it.

Oh, BTW, I'm in Northern NJ about 30 miles from NYC. There's plenty of work if your willing to go get it.
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  #14  
Old 05-25-2005, 02:43 PM
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Imagepro4U Imagepro4U is offline
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Smile

Thanks Emarts for answering all my questions. It sounds like you live in an area that good jobs are possible. And I give you a lot of credit for having the courage to solicite the way you do. I'm not so fearless. I just worked up the courage to mail out some letters to local, unknown photographers, telling them who I am and what I can offer. I have gone and visited a few studios in person that some of my friends in the business have recommended. My experience with that is they all seem enthusiastic during my visit, but I'm yet to get a new client this way. The industry sure has changed in the last few years and I do think it's this general attitude out there that this service is something anyone can do. Of course the question should be, can just anyone do the type of work a professional do? Thanks for your imput. It does give me some things to think about.
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  #15  
Old 05-27-2005, 11:25 AM
emarts emarts is offline
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You have to audit yourself. Look at the services you offer and see what makes you different from the rest. See if you can add more value to what you are already doing. What problems can you solve more effectively than someone else? When someone asks, "What do you do?" Don't just say you are a retoucher. Tell them you rescue history. You restore youth to the aged. You produce "Wows!" If you are enthusiastic about what you do, people will be excited to work with you.

Also, don't accept being a small fish in a big pond. Define your small pond and be the big fish in it. Maybe you specialize in restoring historic architectural photography. Or family heirloom photographs. Or you are whiz-bang great at skin tones. Can you confidently say to anyone in your home town that you are the best within 50 miles at retoring old historical documents for under $500.00?

I bet you're the only professional retoucher on your block. Or even in your neighborhood. You can start there. Offer your services to people who are really local to you. The advantage is convenience. They don't have to search for an unknown online. They don't have to travel far to some retail store. You can offer pickup and delivery. They'll be supporting a local artist.

You can also write an article for a local paper discussing the emotional satisfaction of restoring old memories of dear ones. You will be percieved as the local expert and,voila! You have successfully branded yourself.

Hope these tips help.

Last edited by emarts; 05-27-2005 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Edited for spelling
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  #16  
Old 01-04-2006, 10:54 PM
RL Design RL Design is offline
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I just wanted to say that this is a great thread. I have a small business and am doing photo retouching/enhancing and many other products. This year has been down for me as well. I came from a photo house and brought clients with me when I went on my own, but even those clients are starting to "do it on thier own". We are in the process of moving (trying to sell), so we are not advertising anymore here, but I hope for a big boost when we move to a bigger city. One where people know what computers are . I thought that perhaps in the future I will start teaching Photoshop to clients, if you can't beat em, then join em... In any case, hang in there with the rest of us and keep thinking positive!
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  #17  
Old 01-05-2006, 12:15 AM
skipc skipc is offline
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My business is digital restoration of heirloom prints. Occasionaly there is a one off specialty job from a photographer, but they are the exception.

I promoted my business with before and after flyers to antique stores, framing galleries, art galleries w/framing, camera stores, film labs, sign companies, historical and geneological societys and every other danged place I could think of. I have given presentations to computer clubs, camera clubs, universities, a garden club— anyone who will hold still— and some for pay. People in my area think I'm an expert—which I'm not—but it's a good perception to have out there. I get a lot of word of mouth referals, even some from out of my geographic area.

My theory is that "every" person has an heirloom photo that they would like restored and have extra copies of to share with family members. Even businesses have old photos that are faded and damged and would like a large print to hang in the lobby.

Creative marketing, quick turn around, and reasonable prices have allowed me a reasonable income from a home business...skip
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