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Making a living

View Poll Results: Can you make a living doing photo restoration?
Yes, I'm already doing that very thing 15 10.20%
Yes, I plan on doing that very thing 31 21.09%
Maybe, but I'd need a lot more jobs 75 51.02%
Can't be done, but it's still fun 26 17.69%
Voters: 147. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-28-2004, 01:41 AM
Jim Conway's Avatar
Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
Posts: 212
Making a living

Originally Posted by Doug Nelson
If you tried, could you make a fulltime living from photo restoration?
Interesting that nearly half here say maybe - but would need a lot more jobs.
There is another approach. Specialize and charge more! The same number (or even fewer jobs) can give you a shot at moving into six figure incomes.

I use two words in our advertising to bring in the really tough cases. "Disaster Recovery" It's easy to get top dollars when everyone else has already told the prospective client that it can't be done and disaster work generally involves collections rather than just an image or two. Every state has floods, every city fires - and people are always on TV saying "and we lost all of our photos". Talk to the guys in your local fire department, call the insurance agents in your town, check with the "restorers" - those firms that go in and clean up after a disaster - show them all what you can do and soon the word will be out.

Personal opinion - working with Insurance appraisers is a lot easier than working with Art Directors and a whole lot more profitable! :-)

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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Old 07-28-2004, 08:00 AM
Lynn Lynn is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: NW Ga
Posts: 24
Never heard of been using (White House Custom Color) for awhile, and have been very satisfied with their output as well as turn around. Two day shipping is included in what I think is a great price. Printing as well as mounting options available.


(Doug...I'm reading older threads.....I'm just a few years behind here!)
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Old 10-10-2004, 10:38 AM
Forgiven4ever Forgiven4ever is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 9
topheavy decision making

This is off topic slightly, but the top decision makers of large corporations are notorious at not listening to those in the trenches, like yourself. When wasting money on something that is garbage.....The fools have been sold a bill of goods by some slick salespitch. Once the decision has been made, no matter how bad it was, there is no turning back, it would be too humbling. All the best to you in your new business.
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:40 AM
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Imagepro4U Imagepro4U is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Pa.
Posts: 9
Hi everyone,
As someone that USED to make good money at this type of business, I have seen a real down turn in business in the last year. It seems a lot of people are trying to do this type of work on their own with their own computers and software. I was successfully catering to professional wedding photographers and a local lab for many years. Now I'm scrambling for work. I know the wedding photography business in general has taken a big hit with everyone buying those digital cameras and having relatives photograph their weddings (instead of a professional). I have to find a way to market myself, something I thought I never would have to do. All my business came in by word of mouth and believe it or not, I had to LIMIT myself because there was TOO MUCH WORK out there for me to handle! I'm not a real aggressive person, so this is not coming easy. I have visitited some local studios with little success. They all tell me the same thing...either they are doing the retouching themselves or they are just not getting much business in, period. In the mean time, I'm looking for another part time job. I had one at a photo lab, but my position got phased out since the labs are hurting too.

Last edited by Imagepro4U; 04-18-2005 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:03 AM
Jim Conway's Avatar
Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
Posts: 212
Taking the hits

It's been a tough year for us as well - down nearly 20% and with that goes the profits - 2004 was the first year that I have ever lost money since I switched into doing nothing but photo conservation work about fifteen years ago.

That also makes this the first year that I have even had to think about looking for new business! The small jobs that were the icing on the cake are gone now so we are living on the highly specialized work. There has to be replacements for the jobs lost to the $300 scanners that claim to be the equal to pro-retouchers but not sure what that will be just yet, I'll let you know when (if) we do.

Another thought, people buy into the hype of instant cures and generally come around to facts over time so maybe it a case of waiting it out if you are young enough. Desktop publishing was a perfect example -- for nearly a decade every home in America had one or more family members that was a "Desktop Publisher" - it hurt the legitimate printers for awhile but the good ones survived until the fad ran it's course and many are back on target in a better than ever profitable industry now.

Jim Conway
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Old 04-28-2005, 04:30 PM
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RichardBrackin RichardBrackin is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Muscle Shoals, AL
Posts: 48
I voted that I'd need a lot of jobs coming through to quit my job and go solo just retouching photos even though retouching is a significant percentage of the work I do every day.
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Old 05-01-2005, 05:03 PM
jim1971 jim1971 is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: nw suburbs of chicago
Posts: 35
great topic

ive been tinkering with this idea myself lately,especially since being laid off from my job about a month ago. ive been doing photo restoring pretty much as a hobby for family & friends, but seeing that i have no real job at the present time what better time to consider it doing this full time. but ive had some of the same thoughts as some of the earlier posts on this subject, marketing, steady work flow, ect. ect. unless i overlooked 1 of the earlier posts i didnt see anybody mention Ebay which has an area for creative services (which ive actually done, and had a couple of small jobs) could you make a living just from Ebay listings? i highly doubt it, but you can get a few jobs.. i guess if you do enough work whether locally or through the internet and do a great job and have satisfied customers, its all word of mouth after that.. the only thing that really worries me is. since almost everyone has a computer nowadays and can learn how to do this themselves they would have no need for people like us, and i say that because 2 years ago my mom asked me to look up on the internet for people who did photo restorations , becasue she had someting she wanted done after seeing their prices i decided to look further into the art of doing it and ended up learning it myself.which im glad i did cause i love doing it. anyways thats my .02
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Old 02-10-2006, 12:08 AM
RL Design RL Design is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by CourtneyConk.Co
Im just lucky I can photograph, retouch, restore and even throw in graphic design and web design... So Im hoping something will pay off.
I am running a similar business to the one you are starting. I have been in business for a few years. The first year was great, the second was good but last year was awful. We made the mistake of moving to a small town and the business tanked. My husband has been working outside the home and supporting us. We were maining offering services to photo labs on a whoelsale basis, but now everyone is "doing it themselves". We are planning on moving to a bigger city and giving it a go again.

All I need to make this work is customers. Sounds so easy...
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