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  • RL Design
    replied
    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...

    Leave a comment:


  • jim1971
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • RichardBrackin
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jim Conway
    replied
    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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  • Imagepro4U
    replied
    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, 07:46 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Forgiven4ever
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lynn
    replied
    Never heard of ofoto.com.....have been using whcc.com (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.

    Lynn

    (Doug...I'm reading older threads.....I'm just a few years behind here!)

    Leave a comment:


  • Jim Conway
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • redmaccat
    replied
    Offshoring

    We not only have technology, but offshoring to worry about as well.
    My understanding is that some of our local camera stores and photo labs will take your print, scan it in the store and ship the file to S. America and are able to charge a flat fee of $50. If I understand correctly, the restored images are given back on a floppy - not sure how good of a quality that would be given the limited file size the floppy takes.

    I would really love to do this full-time, but I'm kind of a shy person and not very good at marketing myself. Also, it would be a big leap of risk as I have worked for a fairly large corporation (non-photo related) most of my working career and have not had to worry about liability and actually running a business. I've always had a steady income, so that part frightens me a bit. I am seriously considering doing restorations on a part time basis and also have a steady income from another part time job...kind of easing into it I suppose. Right now it all hinges on how fed up I get with my current employer and all the politics that go with a corporation.

    Leave a comment:


  • wtimmer
    replied
    for shame??

    Well i'm sorry I didn't bring that across the right way (I guess) I didn't mean to "endorse" auto-retouching software in any way. The only thing I was trying to say was that automation is here and places that do a high volume of retouching (i.e. a school lab) will jump all over this software. No I don't endorse it.... its just a fact. I never said that automation could replace an artist, NOT EVEN CLOSE.... No I don't see this software pulling off headswitches, artwork, restorations.

    And when I saw the post I figured I would put my two cents in (for what its worth) since I have worked with the software first hand. And being one of the team of decision makers for my place of employment, I know that the software cannot replace ANY of my artists..... not even one. Nor do I want it to, I am a retoucher/artist myself and would hate to see even one person lose their job because some software package does it better (and thats a funny thought in itself..... just think, an algorithm that reads the contours of the face actually doing a better job than the human eye? Again, its not happening.... at least not today) than they do (and again that is a looong way off) but the value that I do see in it? It will bring in more business that I didn't have before, allow me to do jobs that I wasn't able to do before (for the simple fact that I didn't have the manpower) and provide a service to my customers (again we are talking about grade school kids.... by the thousands.... I don't have the manpower or the funds to take that work on right now, but I DO have customers that want us to do the work.)

    Believe me I have had to re-assure several of our retouchers about this, I don't enjoy using the software in question....... but I will tell you that I am not ashamed of what I have posted, it was meant to be informative...... to possibly reassure the artists out there that in my opinion (again for what its worth) will not just be thrown to the wayside.

    Its just another tool, thats all nothing more.

    Leave a comment:


  • rondon
    replied
    for shame

    I think you've missed the harm caused by automation.. it's the perception that restoration and retouching can be done quick and easily by machine.

    Leave a comment:


  • wtimmer
    replied
    Work at home

    I too work from home part-time retouching but I work full time in the field of photography, right now I work for 3 or 4 photographers commercial and portrait doing image enhancement and retouching. I can honestly sat that this year 20% of my total income will be from part timing it. I believe that I would easily be able to change to full time (and have considered it seriously) but honestly.... growing up in a family that owned its own business, It makes me balk at the idea of doing that to myself. It means even longer hours, late nights and more headaches. Do I think I could love doing it full time? yes. Do I want to take that responsibility on at this time in my life? not particularly. In the future? who knows.

    Oh and I almost hate to say this.... but the software that was spoke of in the thread, the one that auto-retouches images? Well I know that software pretty well as I am one of the people that assisted Kodak in the beta test. Do I honestly think that KPARS (Kodak's Professional Auto Retouching Software) will take all of the jobs from the retouchers out there? I really doubt it.... As was mentioned in a previous post, the software is not perfect by a long shot. Its main intention was to do mass amounts of images at a time (and I mean hundreds upon thousands) you really don't have the control over the images that you would doing them one by one but when your faced with retouching 1000 kids from the ages of 5-15 it can be helpful in softening lines, removing light blemishes and really thats about it. It has problems with doing multiple heads and heads that you can't make out all of the features i.e. one eye covered by hair etc. So yes the rumor is true, is it as bad as it could be made out to be? Personally, I don't think so..... after all a machine cannot produce art.... it is a tool, the artist produces true artwork. People used to complain about us "digital" retouchers, that we weren't true artists... it wasn't until they understood the tool (and some still don't) that they could see the value of it.

    Bill

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  • GeoM
    replied
    That's my job!

    My boss takes pictures, and I restore them to a saleable product.

    Leave a comment:


  • CourtneyConk.Co
    replied
    Funny this thread pops up today. I just today put in my notice at the photo lab I work to pursue my own interests. Im lucky enough that I have made enough contacts in the last 5 years that I hope I can make a go of this. I am glad I offered exceptional customer service, and most of my clients were very happy with me, and know me by name.

    If not, at least I can plan on working temp work until I get enough business that I can work at home.

    The lack of health care, and the amount of taxes I will have to deduct from my profits is scarey, but Ive been itching to do this for over a year now. And I hope the time is ripe enough.

    Im just lucky I can photograph, retouch, restore and even throw in graphic design and web design... So Im hoping something will pay off.

    Wish me luck.

    THE SCAREY THING!!!! And this is important. One of the MAIN reasons I am leaving. Kodak has come out with facial recognition software and has incorporated into an AUTOMATED facial retouching program. ITS IS CRAP!!! And my employer has bought it hook line and sinker. I have seen it, offered advice, and no one ever listened to me. So today as they bring in some mega computer that can barely run the program, I put in my notice. BEWARE PEOPLE!!! BEWARE!!!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Chip Hildreth
    replied
    For me, retouch and Restoration are a component...

    My wife/girlfreind/partner and I have a small creative services business. She is graphic designer and I am a commercial photographer. Together we we offer a variety of graphic arts services including restoration and retouching. Our shop is in a small town historic district so we have a fair number of antique photos come in for copy and restoration. There is a pretty eclectic community of artists and authors here and we get some interesting ad work which usually involves photography, retouching and sometimes rather extreme manipulation. Some months we log $75.00 for a quick scan, clean and print and that's it; other months I sit here working on images non-stop and the invoices add up to $2000 or $3000.
    The fact is, we can't make a living on JUST retouch/restoration but it is a significant component of our business.

    ...so I didn't actually vote on this survey because my answer is, "Yep, sort of, but we have to do other related stuff too".

    Leave a comment:

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