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Where are all the high-end clientele online?

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  #1  
Old 12-29-2011, 01:53 AM
ChristopherGFX ChristopherGFX is offline
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Where are all the high-end clientele online?

Hi I'm located in SoCal and have plenty of high-end work in studio or through agencies in person but I really want to branch out online--and perhaps even fully transition. I'm not looking so much for someone to hand me a job as to give real advice and help me get going in the right direction.

My background is 14 years of high-end retouching for commercial photography, web, print, package, and entertainment media. No surface blur or reliance on cheap filters--genuine paint overs and crisp pixel detail @ 600-300 DPI/PPI. A lot of this comes from my experience in illustration (hyperrealism). So in summary...

Over 20,000 high-end photo edits to date: ranging from props, FX, women, men, children, babies, amateurs, lingerie, hair, fur, cloth wrinkles/veins/muscles/teeth, cars, composting, jewelery, electronics/lights/screens, reflections, chrome, skies, lighting, shadows, clouds, fog, emergencies, photo-repair, dirty/distorted lenses, complex set extensions, painting branches/leaves/grass/foliage etc. If you can imagine it I've probably done something like it at least 3-10 times.

Previous clientele includes:
US Army, US Navy, US Air force, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard, Miramax Films, Hyperion Pictures, AOL Time Warner, Disney, MTV, Fox, Sony, MGM, ESPN, NFL, Ford, Chrysler, Craftsman, Martha Stewart, KitchenAid, Kohler, Sterilite, Logitech, Mattel, Fisher Price, LEGO, Hasbro, Bell + Howell, Nike, Samsonite, As Seen on TV, PepsiCo, Campbell's, Heinz, Kraft, Velcro, Crayola, Pentel.

Temp Portfolio: http://CHRISTOPHERGFX.CARBONMADE.COM

This is only a quick 35 image quick preview. My personal site is down under revision. I have hundreds and hundreds of images up there and I'm seriously rethinking the gallery & navigation and how to focus on what. If you need/want higher res or more samples let me know.

Last edited by ChristopherGFX; 12-29-2011 at 02:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2011, 02:55 AM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

Hi Christopher,

Welcome to RetouchPro.

My personal experience with many high-end clientele in other industries (many years in high technology, more recently in photography, plus knowing a little bit about high-end banking) is that you will seldom find such customers online.

High-end typically means high-touch, which typically means lots of personal attention and courting those clients, then being invited to work for them. It means you don't find them online, you find them in-person. By mixing, mingling with them, by being referred by people they know, respect and trust. It means relationship-building. And that's hard to do online. Especially initially.

Once you get a reputation and get lots of referral work and are well known in their circles then you might work with your existing high-end clients online, but often if not typically it requires in-person relationship building, especially for winning new clients. Because that's what they're used to, and that's what your competitors are doing for them.

That said, I'm not an experienced high-end retoucher. Some of the high-end retouchers here might have a different perspective, but I've found that that is how it works across every industry I'm familiar with.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:25 AM
ChristopherGFX ChristopherGFX is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the response and the welcome.

Generally I'd agree with you. Even after working my way up to management and training other retouchers I don't get much time to socialize with the clientele and not much more than what would result in me eating holes and burning bridges with where I get my bread and butter.

I mean it's great for getting models' cards who are willing to work at a discount without their agency and finding photographers who just like to shoot and do high quality side work. What you're talking about would require me to work in sales or as a buyer or some other liaison type position if not upper management.

Which reminds me. My brother managed to work his way up rapidly in sales to an executive position by lots of persistent cold calling. That's often looked down upon or advised against, but I might just do that if I have too. Upper management employs secretaries/assistants to filter people so it's on them, not you if you get through and this is generally the nature of sales.

Last edited by ChristopherGFX; 12-29-2011 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:37 AM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

Hi Christopher,

I think you're evaluating the situation correctly. If you're employed right now then you have to be careful.

Socializing is key. Around where you are (Southern California) there have to be mixers and networking opportunities pretty much everywhere. Hang out where either:
  • The people you want as end customers gather and socialize or
  • The people (other vendors) who can refer you to those customers gather and socialize.
  • or both.
Make your own business cards with your website and contact info (and better yet include a stunning high-end retouching example done outside of your employer's assignments and projects -- it can even be a personal project done just for this purpose), start telling people what you do (just mention it as the conversation goes that way - no pressure, no 'sales'), exchanging cards, and build contacts. If you have common interests with people, e.g. hobbies, alumni events, that's a good way to meet people.

You need to get out and mix in order to run into people who can hire you outside your current employer. A carefully selected cold call list can help augment those efforts but is seldom as productive for reaching high-end clientele as is meeting them and establishing rapport and relationships in person.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:12 PM
Fostercat Fostercat is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

LMAO. You're kidding right, the both you?
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:07 PM
ChristopherGFX ChristopherGFX is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fostercat View Post
LMAO. You're kidding right, the both you?
Hey, I wish I was kidding.

I've worked for studios and agencies, but only in-house. They need something done they want you to come in and work with the databases and talk to photographers and be there to take and give direction.

But that's my experience. The few times I've looked online for telecommute jobs it's some small freelance gig for a photographer, weddings, etc, where you're basically going to have to take a pay cut even if you present yourself as well-rounded and experienced.

Unless you can sell yourself as a successful and full-fledged ad agency I don't really know how to get clients. We all know that the big names employ freelance photographers so it would make sense that they also use freelance retouchers--probably attached to those photographers or perhaps ex-employees.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:08 PM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fostercat View Post
LMAO. You're kidding right, the both you?
No, this is quite serious. As I shared, I've been successful in two different industries winning high-end clientele -- in high technology and in photography. In both industries I've held sales-related, marketing-related and product development related roles. I'm also reasonably familiar with high-end banking and investment management.

Plus I have friends and colleagues in other industries and roles as well (accounting, financial planning, architecture, interior design, event planning, investor relations, sales, etc.). Every one of them so far that I've met and talked with follows the principles and techniques I've shared above to win and retain high-end clientele.

If you have more knowledge of this area in the retouching industry or if you have better, more effective techniques for winning high end clientele then please do share them, I'm certain all of us here would be interested in learning proven, effective approaches from you. This is an area where no one knows it all, where no one can learn too much and where everyone can benefit from new, successful ideas and approaches.

Last edited by RobertAsh; 12-29-2011 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:30 PM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

It is easy...... But, you have to have a worthy portfolio. As well as a few other tricks up your sleeve.

Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:15 AM
Benny Profane's Avatar
Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

No, it's not easy, even if you have a worthy portfolio. Which I don't see here.

Now I know where i went off the rails, though. I didn't hang out at the right bars with my business cards.

Last edited by Benny Profane; 01-09-2012 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:46 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Where are all the high-end clientele online?

In the 80's hanging out in Bars in the Agency districts of London would definintely produce work... Not Now.

I hate to piss on your chips... But your folio is nowhere near the high end level agencies need..
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