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Graduated Pricing Scale

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  • Graduated Pricing Scale

    When a customer brings in a photo for retouch/restore, does anyone use a Graduated Pricing Scale? By this I mean that you give the customer of choice of how much is done to the photo and price according to the complexity of the option selected, or, do you have just one price for a total restore/retouch, no options as to type/complexity of the job? Tom

  • #2
    That's a good question Tom (but it doesn't apply to me ). I think it would be in the best interest of both parties to agree on exactly what is to be done, and to what extent. Giving the customer options provides one opportunity for both of you to more or less get to know each other a little. And there is always a good possibility that the customer will not, or can not, justify the price of a full restoration on a really bad image. Cropping an image takes a few seconds, whereas restoring that part might take hours. Then there is an historical consideration on many images. Some restoration artists might well do too much work on the image, thereby destroying the historical importance, while others might do only that which is necessary to give new life to an old image. IMHO, offering options is the way to go.



    • #3
      Giving the customer options is definately the way to go. I'm doing a job at the moment where I quoted various options and the customer chose the ones she could afford and/or juststify. Although not all the options are the ones I would have chosen it was her decision and I'll do what she wants done.\
      I like to give my customers a written quote with the options outlined, I go through the quote with them ticking the options required on both copies. I keep my copy and they take their copy with them. It's worked well so far, I've never had a customer complain that I didn't do what they wanted.


      • #4
        I always like to talk with the client while looking at the piece to get an idea of what they think is wrong, what they expect can be done and of course I explain what I think I can do. More often than not if cost is an issue it will come up in the conversation pretty quick. This is normally the biggest reason for giving options.

        Providing options comes up more often for me when dealing with restoration projects rather than for digital work, or projects that combine preservation, restoration and digital. Mainly because compared to restoration treatments my digital work is relatively inexpensive.

        I highly recommend providing options because more often than not those that didn't want to spend too much will at least have something done and will often choose just a little bit more than you would have expected them to. This happens probably more with the preservation/restoration side of things when someone will choose to go ahead with a cleaning or adhesive removal or the like in the hopes of stabilizing the piece into the future by getting rid of or repairing what is causing the damage. But I would imagine the same would apply to digital as well.

        Hope this was relevant!

        --Heather Tudhope


        • #5
          Heather, Thanks for the input, and it is very relevant. I was surprised at the response I received when I first began offering a graduated scale...the majority of clients were very pleased with having options and showing them examples of the various options has helped quite a bit as well. Interestingly, most dont want a complete, pristine restore...even the local Historical Society wants a retouch to "Look old", and the number of people wanting modern photos "antiqued" ( mostly Wedding/Anniversary" photos) is amazing... By the way, here's a small horror story than should make you cringe... a short time ago I was contacted by an orginization concerning scanning/reproducing a group of around 50 albumen/gelain prints from the 1880-1905 era approx. for display so the originals could be stored..seems someone noticed that after displaying them in an unprotected case, affixed with some type of rubber cement or some other dime store adhesive, to cheap black poster paper, directly under unshielded Flourescent lights in an area prone to humidity and temperature swings, that they seemed to be fading and getting some spots on them.....Is it just me or is something wrong with this picture...Tom


          • #6
            Hi again:

            Tom I'm not too suprised that you are finding people who don't want pristine. Especially the Historical Societies and the like. Actually I know that the local library is scanning and making their photo collection available on-line and they don't do any digital retouching to them at all because they want an EXACT duplicate.

            It's it scarry what can happen when photos are left in the wrong hands. Even good intentioned people make huge errors when displaying photographs. Unfortunately the horror stories are all too common.

            When talking about options it brought to mind this piece I looked at last week. As usual it was totally different than I was expecting after a conversation on the phone with the client. It was in a disasterous state! I wanted to give the client options for different degrees of restoration because I knew a full blown treatment was going to be more than the value of the piece. However, once I sat down with it and tried some tests I realised it was an all or nothing type of deal. Just to repair the tears/holes in the piece was basically going to cost about 3/4 of the cost of a full treatment and it wouldn't look much better (without a good cleaning). As a result I didn't give them any options other than the full treatment or holding on to it and hoping it would go up in value to a point where it was worth the cost to have the work done. This was a rare case but it does happen occasionally. They of course decided against having the work done. Mainly I think because they planned to sell it, and honestly with the damage I don't think they would have gotten much out of the sale even once treated.

            The important thing is to make the client happy while providing the best possible service and results.

            --Heather Tudhope


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