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

lets talk about running a retouching business.

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Old 07-26-2002, 08:06 AM
Aric's Avatar
Aric Aric is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 72
Thumbs down lets talk about running a retouching business.

There are a few photographic groups in my area, and there is even a group of retouchers in my area. P.A.T. Photographic Artists of Texas. At least twice a year I hold a workshop on digital retouching. Usually I focus on technique, but the last one I focused (no pun intended) on how I ran my business. I actually got more out of that workshop than I had hoped. I realized that I was starving for information about business practices for a retoucher.

Well, it would seem now that I have found another source to satisfy my need.
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Old 07-26-2002, 08:11 AM
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winwintoo winwintoo is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 942
You are lucky to have others around that you can share ideas with in person. I sometimes think I'm all alone in this world when it comes to face to face contact with other retouchers.

I am just starting in my business and so far I'm content to let the business grow in it's own way - each job so far has suggested possibilities for more business. I also learn from each job.

I'm getting quite a bit of work from some scrapbooking friends and one big job from a family member that wanted a collage for a 40th wedding anniversary.

I look forward to sharing with you on the business aspects of this gig.

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Old 07-26-2002, 08:17 AM
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Aric Aric is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
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I have been in photography all my life. It is the only field I have ever help a job in. I started my own business in 1998, and so far I have been doing very well. The location of my business has helped a great deal.
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Old 07-27-2002, 05:14 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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I'm ashamed to say that it was as recently as a month ago that I learned my local Yellow Pages had a heading for "Photo Retouching and Restoration". Since I had no interest in local business, it had never occured to me to look. I've checked the websites (for those that have them), and there samples are in-line with a lot of the work I see here.

I have, however, been involved in the photography marketplace for a couple of decades, now. The vast majority work as small businesses, or just individuals. And that means you'll only get business from them by talking to them.

Check your Yellow Pages, under Photographers, and also under the heading I mentioned above. Call them. They'll blow you off. Don't take it personally, that's just human nature. Take notes (I use MS Outlook's contact manager). Write down their reaction, what they said, etc. Make a notation to call them back a month or so later. They'll probably blow you off again, but again it's just human nature. They'll say "I do it myself" or "I have a guy/girl on staff" or "we use a service" or "we don't need that kind of work done". Don't take them seriously. They're not trying to mislead you, they just don't like to give out details of their business to strangers.

But, by the 4th or 5th call, you're no longer a stranger. And once you start getting some work it will snowball as you can say "I do work for XYZ studio".

As I said, I've used this technique now for many years in dealing with photographers and other small businesses. Perhaps one day I'll actually start using it for my retouching business
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Old 07-27-2002, 09:59 AM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Location: northwest Indiana, about 45 minutes from Chicago, IL
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I think that's a good suggestion Doug. If others are trying to break into that part of their business, and they get a bad reaction, they most likely simply give up. That makes a huge difference in the amount of competition you'll have from others trying to get their foot in the door. If you keep trying, and the others give up, guess who finally gets the shot at it.

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Old 07-28-2002, 02:39 PM
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Aric Aric is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 72

Persistance is every thing. I do cold calls, studio walk ins, mailouts, banner adds, email mailouts, and I pay a service to register my website with search engines across the planet. Now all my business is retouching. In the past five years I have probably only done 4 restoration jobs.
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Old 08-24-2002, 12:27 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
Posts: 212
A thought here - when we were building our business the best thing we did was to set up a 10x10 exhibit at the "home shows" and handed out hundreds of "inquiry packages" that explained our work and what it is that we do.

That expended into doing a few exhibits for "founders days" in stores and banks - and a few shopping center shows where we joined the local art groups in weekend exhibits.

Haven't had to do an outside show now in nearly a decade because we have a backlog of work but we still set up for lectures in our own showroom from time to time for various clubs and organizations.

The idea of persistence being a necessity is a very very valid point, we are still getting business from shows we did 10 years ago. We know because they bring in the dated literature with them! Most people don't move fast when it comes to having a photo restored!

Jim Conway
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Old 08-29-2002, 08:59 AM
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Photo Grafix Photo Grafix is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Evanston, IL
Posts: 42
Talking This is an Awesome Resource

Greetings to all:

I am overwhelmed about finding Especially the retouching business networking and the challenges sections. By just reading this thread and looking at all the talented retouchers doing those challenges, I have learned so much. I have been praying to find such a resource for the past few years.

We, as professional retouchers, must unite our efforts and finances behind such groups as

I have so much to say, but I can't put it here all at once! I too have experiences to share in this business. Thank God, I have grown enough with my business to be able to support my growing family. I still maintain a part-time job (4 hours/week) at a bookstore when things get to close for comfort. I also teach Photoshop for our local adult ed center (Three 7-week sessions per semester).

Unfortunately, I currently have no health insurance. However, I am FREE and need no permission from a boss to spend time with my family, take a long lunch, pray/meditate, play my radio, take a walk, pull some weeds, plant some seeds or take a day or more off! I can also work for any client I choose, as well as their competition!

Nevertheless, I am excited about sharing and learning with all of you. I'll leave you with a word of inspiration as a businessperson striving to provide a good, reliable service:

"No labor of love is performed at a total loss. Those who render more service than that for which they are paid sooner or later receive pay for much more than they actually do."
--Law of Success, Napoleon Hill

Eric Curtis Bond
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Old 08-29-2002, 09:04 AM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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Location: Colorado foothills
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Welcome to RetouchPRO Eric! I'm glad you found us! You're right - this really is a great resource and a wonderful group of people too! I look forward to all that you have to share with us.

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Old 08-29-2002, 11:24 AM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,045
Welcome to Retouch Pro!! I look forward to your comments and advice! Sounds like you have a lot of good practical info to share! Tom
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