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What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

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  #1  
Old 10-24-2010, 04:31 AM
justarookie justarookie is offline
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What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Hello, as my name says, I am a rookie, interested in retouching as a career and was wondering about what a retoucher does for a certain amount of money. Like, I understand working on a fixed rate/picture, but I don't understand how working hourly works. For instance, someone asking for 100$/hour, how many pictures do he complete, or how long does it take him to complete a picture? And what does he actually do on a picture in that timeframe?
My experience consists of retouching relative high res pictures like 3500x2300, with 3-4 girls in the picture for instance, wearing swimsuits. The lighting was bad, the skin had a lot of problems and that's only normal I suppose since this wasn't a professional photo shoot, they weren't wearing make up, they needed slimming. So I handled everything I could think of, from the smallest blemish and stray hair, to fixing up the background, and this took me quite a few hours. Now, I imagine I am not yet and never will be the fastest retoucher, but how long does a professional retoucher need to handle such a problematic picture and make it look glamarous and as good as it can be and how much would he charge? Also I wanted to add, I didn't use blurring and kept all details and texture and whatever else needed to not make it look obviously retouched.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:20 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Your rate is often constrained by your target customer base and their location / market. Assuming you have established a rate you are prepared to work for to compete in that customer base / market, and the speed of your work is competitive, you need to adjust your type of work to match the amount of time / total $ the customer is willing to spend on a particular job. If you focus on a high end beauty retouch, and the customer is willing to pay you for for 16 hours of time, then you do what you have described above. If you are asked to retouch 100 snap shots of a child's birthday party for $50, then you record an action in PS to batch process them all with Auto Contrast, Auto Color, and Auto Crop, and maybe hand tweak a few of them, because that may be all that you can accomplish in 30 mins. It's more about fitting what services you provide for a time budget than what services are provided for on an individual photo or whole job basis.
Regards, Murray
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:49 AM
justarookie justarookie is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Thank you mistermonday for all the information. I understand now better how to evaluate work and prices, but for example, supposed someone charges 100$/hour, and they spend 3 hours doing a picture, does that mean he charges 300$ for a single picture? I am new to this, and these high end rates (or at least I think these are high end rates) seem very high. Am I understanding this wrong? How much can one single picture cost on a high end retouch?
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:41 PM
TEastman TEastman is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Here is how I approach it. As Murray suggested, each job is different and you have to charge based on what it is you are going to do. I *never* quote or offer an hourly rate because inevitably, someone will hear about your hourly rate and want you to do a more complicated job for the same rate and then complain about the amount of time it took.

I look at each project individually, and guesstimate how long it will take and how difficult the job is. I look at what the customer can afford, and whether they may be repeat or referring customers. Look at all these variables (and more) and come up with a quote for the project. Sometimes you will under price yourself and sometimes you will over price. But as you gain experience, both in retouching and running a business, you will get better at providing a fair and competitive quote.

Todd
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:40 AM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

As for the hourly rate, I ask for a brief and calculate the amount of time it will take. Everything out of the brief is charged extra.

Of course, a person with experience on working on flat prices and batches of photos will work quicker than one that only works on hourly jobs, so you have to keep in mind that you don't have to charge for your lack in experience and always try to see how you can automate your job and make your workflow faster and improving the quality as well.

You first need to get different experiences from where to compare to in order to have references about how to charge and what things you should keep in mind when dealing with the client.

Also, keep in mind that people like throwing the shit on others, so make sure that you have a very clear statement of what you do for certain price in order to be safe of disqualifications and misunderstands. Never allow a client asking more than agreed unless it will pay for that (as agreed before hand!), otherwise, you will have a client with endless requirements and changes, treating you like a puppet (people also love manipulating, specially when they pay!).

Make an study of the market as well. That's pretty useful

Mart
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:42 AM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Oh, btw, always use logic/arguments if you have a difficult client, no force

Be aware of fallacies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reasoning
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:06 AM
justarookie justarookie is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Thank you all for your suggestions and advice, I appreciate it very much, and for someone starting out trying to do this, it's great having such forums to find out about this industry.
The thing is, I was curious about a very specific pricing, assuming the difference between 20 and 100$/hour is skill, experience etc., if a certain picture requires 3,4,5 + hours, even by a world class fast retoucher, are such prices paid of say, 400, 500 $/picture paid? I am asking because of what I searched online, I mostly found personal retouching sites which offer retouching for 10 to 40 $/picture. I guess being new to this, such large sums of money seem quite a lot, perhaps for more experienced retouchers it's the norm, I was just interested in what parts of this industry pay that much? If there are of course. I now know you have to factor in the market and client, but I would be interested if someone could tell me an actual example, like.. retouching for a magazine in new york, I am just thinking (writing) out loud here, I have no idea. Oh and I also know I am many many years away, if ever, from considering myself good at this.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:39 AM
Wittz Wittz is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

It's just like what Murray, teastman and Quantum3 says. It really depends on the job and what needs to be done to it. It's hard to give out a flat rate/per image. Even the experienced retoucher do find it hard to give out a quote.

To give you an example. Say you have decided that your retouching rate is $100/hour.

And now your first fashion client have contacted you and that he/she would like a bunch of images done for their look book. (say 25 images).
Because of the nature of the assignment and you now know what the image will be used for. You can quote based on something like:

- these images will mostly have the same lighting etc. So obviously you might spend 20 min correcting/adjusting colour/tones etc on the first image. But then you can batch process the rest with some tweaking here and there. That's 1st image 20 min + 5 mins for the other 24 = 140 mins. round up to say 2.5 hr.

You also allow half an hour for any changes from the client.
So the total potential hours for this job is 3hrs = $300. ( $12 per image )

Now, say this fashion client, also have another 3 images. They want to use these images for national advertising for the season.

Because of how they want to use the image, your client will have a higher expectation of the work done on the image than the look book one.
So your work on these images will be much more intensive. Like skin work, colour of the garments, hair, background change, manipulation etc.

Your quote on this project will likely be higher. Because you'll put more time on each image than the look book image. And say you decided that these images will take you 5 hours each. That's 5x3 = $1500

You client might think that this is a lot more than 1st project. But they also know that these images will be used nationally. So they more than likely ok to paid more for the job. If they don't then this is where you negotiate.

This is just an example, please don't go by how many hours you need to work on look book or national ad image, or the $ behind my explaination. Just trying to give you an idea.

I know they are jobs that cost thousand of dollars. But i'm sure there are many many hours and a team of people behind it. If you look those cosmetic ad in the magazine or billboard. You'll find that they're probably a village of people worked on it.

Btw, I'm sorry if my written isn't that great. It's not my strong attribute.

Hope this help you in some way.

Witt
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:07 AM
justarookie justarookie is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Thank you Witt, and your post is written very well, don't worry . I am beginning to get a picture about how this all works, and it makes more sense now. I guess what I am understanding is that it in the end it all depends on a lot of factors which have to be taken into consideration and nothing is absolute about pricing.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:15 PM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: What does a retoucher do for a certain rate

Quote:
Originally Posted by justarookie View Post
Thank you all for your suggestions and advice, I appreciate it very much, and for someone starting out trying to do this, it's great having such forums to find out about this industry.
The thing is, I was curious about a very specific pricing, assuming the difference between 20 and 100$/hour is skill, experience etc.,
In fact it ¡s not the skills or the experience, but the wisdom to make business. I have seen people charging $100/h with not skills at all, and who knows why, with 10-15 years of experience in the market, working for very important houses and such, but what they do doesn't reflects experience, nor a $100/h payment.

If you have wisdom to make business, then you have it all set. Then you will use your skills and experience, but always under the control of the wisdom in business.
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