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Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

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  #16  
Old 08-28-2008, 11:54 AM
carl.freedom@nt carl.freedom@nt is offline
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Cool Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Hi my name is Carl and new to RetouchPro.
I run a high-end retouching company in London and New York and have found over the years most of the low-end retouching is either being done by in-house retouchers or shipped abroad. Unfortunately this trend can't be reversed.High-end retouching is always going to be in demand because of the simple fact it's not easy to do well, you need an eye and that is something you can't buy off the shelf. A lot of people own a guitar but not everyone is Jimi Hendrix!
The other thing with high end retouching is in most cases clients like to brief you in person the chances of someone from india popping over to the U.K or U.S.A to pick a creative retouch brief up are slim.
So, the answer to the problem is get into high-end or buy a guitar.
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  #17  
Old 08-28-2008, 12:20 PM
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SteveB2005 SteveB2005 is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carl.freedom@nt View Post
Hi my name is Carl and new to RetouchPro.
I run a high-end retouching company in London and New York and have found over the years most of the low-end retouching is either being done by in-house retouchers or shipped abroad. Unfortunately this trend can't be reversed.High-end retouching is always going to be in demand because of the simple fact it's not easy to do well, you need an eye and that is something you can't buy off the shelf. A lot of people own a guitar but not everyone is Jimi Hendrix!
The other thing with high end retouching is in most cases clients like to brief you in person the chances of someone from india popping over to the U.K or U.S.A to pick a creative retouch brief up are slim.
So, the answer to the problem is get into high-end or buy a guitar.
I hope you are right, but remember another point. Many people are traveling to Thailand to get "high end" surgery and plastic surgery done at a much cheaper rate than they can get in America. And the report is the care is competitive and high quality with surgeons and hospitals in America . And why are patients "outsourcing" their health care to overseas facilities? TO SAVE MONEY.

But you also have a valid point about being able to offer higher standard of goods and services
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  #18  
Old 08-28-2008, 09:48 PM
captivechief76 captivechief76 is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Well being a former economist turned retoucher (weird career change I know) I can say that the problem has been around for quite some time with the turn toward a global economic system. I would say the low end jewelry market will always have these competition problems. After all profit margins are small so they only way to make more money is lowering costs. But the so called "WallMart" approach to selling merchandise has started shifting away from cheap production especially in the clothing market. Many retailers found the costs were even higher moving production overseas due to manufacturer errors because of language barriers and shipping costs. Unfortuntely in our business the costs of delivering product is nearly non-existent so retouching images for $1-5 will always win out over in-state production.

I would say that there is still a market for US retouching services just probably not in the low end market. Mid to high end jewelry market will usually always want "quality" over "quantity" . I do alot of work for small to mid-range jewelry retailers who either (1) make their own jewelry or (2) sell limited quantity products. They often won't even consider outsourcing this work because they want someone they can reach and feel like they can trust will do good work. Also, they are not large enough of companies to have staffers on site to do this work themselves.

I think that you will find that if you go out searching for independent jewelry stores or small manufacturers they will be very receptive to hiring US retouchers. You may have less work than the low end web business customers but the price per image will be alot higher. Consider this. If you sold a silver ring that retailed for $15 and cost you $5 how much would you be willing to pay to have an image taken and retouched to sell that product? If you paid say $20 for that service you have to immediately think "how many of these rings do I have to sell to make my money back and achieve the same profit margin?" Say you had 5 of those rings. ($5 x $5 cost=$25 cost + $20 retocuhing = $45 total cost 45/5=$9 per ring) So you have almost doubled your cost. Of course this becomes cheaper the more you have, but stretch that over 1000's of products and you get the point. That's why they look overseas because they can't afford sacrificing their margins.

Now say you sell a ring that retails for $4,500 and cost you $1800. You only have 2 of these rings and you pay $50 for retouching services. So now you cost is $1850 per ring and you can easily absorb the cost of having the photo.

For me I would rather retouch 100 photos at $10 per photo than 200 photos for $5 per photo. I can spend the extra time fishing!
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  #19  
Old 08-28-2008, 11:19 PM
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SteveB2005 SteveB2005 is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

That's very encouraging captive. It looks like you have really studied the market and have some insight on what trends there are.
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  #20  
Old 08-29-2008, 07:46 AM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by captivechief76 View Post
Many retailers found the costs were even higher moving production overseas due to manufacturer errors because of language barriers and shipping costs. Unfortuntely in our business the costs of delivering product is nearly non-existent so retouching images for $1-5 will always win out over in-state production.
I've been reading recently that some manufacturers of large things (furniture, for one) are reopening factories in the US due to shipping costs increasing during this fuel crisis. But, yeah, shipping over broadband is pretty cheap.
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2008, 04:33 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

"A lot of people own a guitar but not everyone is Jimi Hendrix!" - but every kid in a guitar shop thinks he is, as any trip to a guitar store or this forum will testify.
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  #22  
Old 09-05-2008, 03:53 PM
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JesicaMitchell JesicaMitchell is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

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Mayday: Problem is not many big business people have morals when it comes to making money. They just want to make more money and quickly!
The problem is NOT that big business people do not have morals... the 'problem' is that the average consumer wants everything faster and cheaper!! In actuality, this makes 'big business' the intelligent and savvy folks.. they've figured out how to supply that demand.

Innovation of the market is why they are making the money while arrogant artists are still trying to sell their services for $50/hour to the 'main stream' market (unsuccessfully). Believe me, I was there not too long ago.!

If an artists skills cannot reach that sliver of high-end photography... pack your bags and sign up for $0.50/image in Mumbai.. oh, and grab a copy 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman on your way to the airport..
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  #23  
Old 09-06-2008, 02:21 PM
endlesssummer endlesssummer is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

does anybody know overseas retouching companies? id like to check the quality
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  #24  
Old 09-06-2008, 02:40 PM
mayday mayday is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Jesica, do you call this high-end (www.fotofix.com)?
Or are you from Mumbai $0.50/image?

Maybe so called arrogant artists deserve to be paid well because they spend years perfecting what they do? Maybe they are not just trying to make a quick buck without any craft or technique like some people?

Last edited by mayday; 09-06-2008 at 02:58 PM.
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  #25  
Old 09-07-2008, 04:54 PM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

The Jimi Hendrix analogy is good. Think of all the mediocre guitarists after him who snorted more in coke than you and I will make in a lifetime because they gave the people what they wanted. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and quite profitable at times, also.
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  #26  
Old 09-07-2008, 05:45 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Yeah I wanted to imitate someone who drowned in their own speed induced vomit many times when I was younger

Last edited by Markzebra; 09-13-2009 at 11:06 AM.
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  #27  
Old 09-07-2008, 11:10 PM
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JesicaMitchell JesicaMitchell is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Mayday, you may have read me wrong and I apologize for what I failed to explain... To clarify: I believe that WE, as artist, SHOULD be paid for our craft!!! But, if consumers are not willing to pay that price (which we believe our art is worth)... then what? Some of the greatest 'artists' were never monitarily compensated for their great talents and died poor or unrecognized.

The arrogant artist that I am , I graduated from one of the most prestigious photography schools in the world (Brooks Institute of Photography). I too have spent YEARS on top of an UNGODLY amount of money (I'll be paying off that tuition for the rest of my life) learning and practicing the art of retouching.

The problem is; as simple economics will tell us... a craft, service, or products 'worth' is largely determined by what the consumer is willing to pay for it. For good or ill, our market is becoming over-crowded.. And individuals all over the word, irregardless of what country they call home, have the same sized brains with the ability to learn such a craft.. And, some are willing to do it for less.

In a perfect 'blur-free' world- retouch artists as a whole would set a relative 'price' to discourage our art from becoming a commodity. If this happened, we'd all be sittin' pretty doing what we love eh..? But, it's the nature of competition in combination with technology... there's just no such thing as your 'local artist' anymore.

I think Benny put it best..
Quote:
Let me be the first to tell you that life is not fair and the world of capitalism is quite cruel.
No matter how hard we fight it- the democratization of retouching and other crafts/services is, all to say, inevitable. Hell, doctors have gained the ability of performing a surgery on a patient halfway around the world at an astoundingly discounted rate! The greater part of our market wants everything faster and cheaper (discluding the cover of Glamour, a Gucci ad, etc.).. and there is someone willing to supply that demand (whether we like it or not).
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  #28  
Old 09-07-2008, 11:28 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

i'm curious, did your school explain what UCR is?..i only ask as a recent co-worker didn't know what that term meant and she had a bachelors degree in photography...
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  #29  
Old 09-08-2008, 12:02 AM
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Godmother Godmother is offline
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayday View Post
Problem is not many big business people have morals when it comes to making money. They just want to make more money and quickly!

I don't agree.... move to India if you think they have it so good. lol

The game IS FAIR. They charge that but they live in India!
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  #30  
Old 09-08-2008, 10:33 AM
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Re: Outsourcing Retouching Services To India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelzombie View Post
i'm curious, did your school explain what UCR is?..i only ask as a recent co-worker didn't know what that term meant and she had a bachelors degree in photography...
Personally, I wouldn't expect a photographer to fully understand or even know UCR, unless he/she is educated in or has worked in pre press.
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