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  • making money2

    I know that most people want to work in fashion or highend retouching,But what about people who do actual restorations of old photographs,Are you making money/a living.Again I ask for the same reasons I asked in the previous post.I think this will be very helpful to people who are interested in doing this type of work

  • #2
    Re: making money2

    Taken from my reply in your other thread,

    I do not work for an advertising agency, or do beauty retouches are anything like that. I do color correction and restorations. I remove redeye and make enlargements. I create contact sheets. I do occasional colorization and make posters and I teach others how to do what I do. I spend a great deal of time working in photoshop and make a living at it.

    I do not live in a 30,000 a year Apartment in NYC nor do I have any desire to. I do, however, live in a nice four bedroom home with a double car garage on a quiet cul-de-sac in a smallish town. I do have a family of five and I do have 2 fairly new vehicles. My oldest daughter does have braces and the entire family has new ski gear.

    My point is I am making a very real and liveable living primarily because of my ability to use photoshop effectively but, I had to do it in concert with other skills (ie. supervisory and administrative skills). I have been able to take one of my hobbies and, by being flexible, support myself and my family comfortably.



    • #3
      Re: making money2

      Well, it's always a question of who is willing to pay, and how much, isn't it? In advertising there are multi-million dollar budgets being handled by people that, although it is their job to be accountable, it isn't actually their OWN money, and the standards are such that retouching every photograph that's going to see print is necessary. There's a budget and a constant need, it's just a matter of getting the work, either through a position somewhere or developing a business-to-business business. It's not all "High end fashion" either. In my case I was in a studio attached to an agency, so all of that agency's retouching was handled in our studio. I retouched my share of deodorant and feminine hygiene product shots. It was built-in repeat business as long as those clients were with our agency and active with new ad campaigns, so all I had to do was provide quality enough work fast enough, make the bosses like me more than the other freelancers, and be friendly and easy to work with for the art directors, especially the insane and difficult ones. On the down side, our fortunes rose and fell with the agency's... and it was more falling than rising.

      In restoration (and I have done a few for individuals) I think your main clients are going to be actual people who want to restore faded or damaged photographs for sentimental reasons, and once they have a photo or two done they aren't going to come back for more. It's their own money, so a $250,000 work order to retouch 33 cell phone photographs isn't going to come around, ever. Most people also aren't going to be satisfied with just the retouching delivered via FTP, so you will need to invest in a high quality photo printer and assume the costs of maintaining it. I could see a good business model in a mid-sized city being a print / frame / retouching shop. You're not just restoring the photo, but also selling a nicely framed print of it along with delivering the file on CD.

      So basically it's the same question you asked before and the same answer. A lot of time and energy DO go into learning it, but I fell in love with Photoshop and learned it anyway before I ever made a dime. Do you love Photoshop so much that you do it in your free time for fun? If so, would making a business out of it suck the fun out of it and make it into a grind?

      People are making livings retouching. It takes skills, perseverance, and luck. The skills required don't start nor end with Photoshop. Business, communication, and sales skills are needed whether you want to start your own business or want to work for others. Solid art skills are necessary. You don't have to go to art school, but you do have to learn perspective, light and shadow, color, and a critical eye somewhere. You need solid computer skills, and most of the graphic arts world is on Macs. If you're not at least a "power user" you will be at a serious disadvantage. If you are running your own business you either need the time and skills to maintain your own machines or the money to pay someone else to do it, and you had better have a fail-safe backup system implemented, not just for data but for a working machine as well.

      If you try you might fail, but if you don't try then you have no chance of success.


      • #4
        Re: making money2

        Thats a great answer. I fell in love with photography 30 years ago and learned the secrets of a darkroom in high school. For me, I couldn't afford the type of cameras we used at high school for a very long time. Now as time has evolved, I need to learn the secrets of photoshop for retouching.

        Right now I shoot a lot of high school dance and kids soccer and I won't give away my photos. I won't let my kids upload them to their myspace or facebook for people to copy.

        I am serious about having a business one day and won't compromise my photography.

        Believe it or not, people do ask for simple adjustments to their photos - like red eye. Then I just explain how they can do it. If they can't or don't want to learn I'll do it for free.


        • #5
          Re: making money2

          There is a difference in high end retouching and restoration work (besides the money) high end retouching is usually seeling a product
          restoration usually has to do with family photographs and like was stated you as the restorer usually do the work from start to finish including the printing
          what I find is that most people do not know how to evaluate these prints ,so when it comes time to printing them they use whatever paper because its cheap do quick work to keep the costs down or I see websites where they say they are charging 400 dollars for a photo
          which I personally find interesting
          thats why I asked the original question


          • #6
            Re: making money2

            Hi Guy's - the photoshop route is never an easy or quick fix but a constant learning experience . I started with this about 3 yrs ago now and have learnt so much as time goes on . I work full time as a retoucher for 2 studios in london which keeps me busy daily and pumping out the work like a sausage factory . I would love to get into freelance but its the need to make the bucks and having the time to build a business after my 40-50 hrs a week already . I can see a light at the end of the tunnel - each day you spend 20 mins learning something new and over a month that 20 mins ads up and before long you will know more than you did last year .
            Hope this helps with the road to pro


            • #7
              Re: making money2

              I do freelance photo restoration in my home. I'm retired, so I have the time. I don't get a lot of business, so I'm not really making a living on it. I wish I had more business, so I could pay for my toys. I also restore photos for Operation Photo Rescue (OPR), but the work is all voluntary.


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