Making retouching a profession
I've been trying to look for a job on retouching, but i don't think anybody is hiring for one, that's the case here in the Philippines, i think, we are so much a third world country.
I've been thinking about looking for clients myself, offering my work to photographers, would that be a good start?
Would sure love to hear from the seasoned pros.
I am also looking for work!
The Netherlands is not a third world country, but I don't think I can make a living with just retouching.
The most job ads I find are for Desk Top Publisher or Webdesigner, where Photoshop skills are just a part of the requirements.
I think the only possibility for us to find work with retouching is to look worldwide, where we can exchange work over a FTP server.
Exactly! All the job ads are looking for graphic artist and web designers. I don't think we can be considered graphic artist, since we (I) only do retouching and editing. I don't even know how to draw.
Good Luck in Your Venture
I think it would be a good start. As a businesswoman just starting out too - let me give you some tips...
1. Have about a years salary backed up in your savings acct or under your mattress or in your backyard (whatever your choice)
2. Have a portfolio of your work (what we did was made 6 hard copies and left them at a few businesses and the historical society, plus we have 2 hard copies in the office)
3. Never give up or lose hope - I have to say this a million times a day
4. Start small and work your way up. Lots of companies have floundered because they grew too big too fast.
5. Find some of your would be competition and scope their work out, what they offer, what you want to offer, so on and so forth.
6. Find out about advertising, price different newspapers, magazines, so on and so forth, it's expensive, but worth it.
7. Always think about the target customer, especially when it comes to pricing.
8. Always have a plan. Plan advertising, plan marketing sales, plan events. We're going to hit different festivals this summer with a booth of our work in full scale and high resolution as an example.
The market seems to be saturated with retouchers right now. Anyone with Photoshop and a couple hours of experience with the clone tool can call themselves a retoucher.
You need to differentiate yourself fromo the crowd. See what other retouchers in your area are doing and compare yourself to them. DON'T COMPETE WITH PRICE!!! Cheap is equated with low quality. You don't want that reputation. You'll work too hard.
Best advice I was given when I first started was to not accept being a small fish in a big pond. You need to define your pond and be the big fish in it. For instance, can you say that you are the best creative retoucher/restorer in your town for under $500.00? Do the people on your block know what you do? Do the parents at your local school know you can creatively enhance or add creative effects to their children's photos? Does the local frame shop know who you are? Have you posted a flyer on the information board of your local camera shops? Arts/crafts stores? Frame shops?
Have you introduced yourself to local businesses? How about advertising and design shops? PR firms? Manufacturers?
Notice how the progression starts from small/local to larger firms in a greater area?
This is my plan.
Sorry, this post is 3 months late but I just want to put in my 2 cents.
In the Phillipines, for every want ad requiring a certain position, you'll be competing with a thousand others. A photo retoucher is not high on the job market because photographers most often do their own retouching to save the extra cost of paying a retoucher. The market is just saturated with retouchers right now.
But don't be discouraged. Honing that skill is already a plus for you.
If you have enough free time, it's not a bad idea to learn photography. Since the photographers are taking your job, beat them at their own game. This is the reality in the Philippines, you have to be a jack-of-al-trades. At least your market would be a little broader.
Good luck, "kabayan"
Just let me add a bit about the "photographers do it on their own":
There are two different ways to approach those people:
"Hello my name is John Doe, I am a retoucher and would like you to be my future customer. I can do the retouching for you at an affordable price"
"Hello, my name is John Doe and I would like to show you a few examples of my work. You are probably doing the retouching part by yourself right now. With my services included, you could spend more time on your photography work where you are paid more for than in the retouching afterwards plus so added up you gain a lot more from your monthly salary than you do now"
That's how outsourcing works. Private guys hire a maid because they want the luxury. Business people calculate: I'm getting paid 100$ an hour, the maid get's 10$ per hour. If I clean up myself it'll take me five hours a week = 500$ lost. If I hire the maid I'll pay 50$ BUT earn 500$.
Thanks Patrick and Soleah for the reply.
That's exactly what i am gonna do! Although, I was thinking to start small first, since I don't have a huge portfolio to show them. I was thinking of getting a job as retoucher first, then start my own when I know i've honed my skill. I'd rather have a huge portfolio to back me up when I look for clients, than having a not so nice one.
Well, i am kinda losing hope already, it's been months and i can't get a job in this profession, i do have a day job, but it's boring. Retouching is what i really want.
I have uploaded some of my work, most images are actually from this site, i hope you could give your two cents about it. You don't have to worry about being harsh, I wouldn't ask for your opinion if I couldn't take it, if you know wut i mean.
It's at: www.geocities.com/kewllet/index.html
I didn't notice you are from Guam, uhm, are you Filipino? so do you watch boxing? how about Manny Pacquiao?
So how did you start becoming a professional?
I would really consider taking photography lessons once I get started on this kind of job.
Many thanks for the reply.
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