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How to find on-line clients?

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  • How to find on-line clients?

    Hey everybody,

    I'm wondering how to achieve more on-line clients since I just get no more than 3 or 4 per year. I'm quite new working as a Freelance but as the time pass by, I was getting more clients, up to 4 so far.

    So, I would like to read your experiences about how did you got your clientele, from the beginning till today.

  • #2
    Re: How to find on-line clients?

    How to find clients... Getting new clients is always a challenge. The first thing to do is to do great work. Your work and reputation will go a long way to bringing in new work. Don't expect your photographer clients to promote you. They won't want to advertise that they're using a retoucher or say how valuable you are to their operation as it shows a sign of weakness that their work needs retouching. They also don't want you to be working for one of their competitors when they need you. Even if they're not keeping you busy, they will often consider you part of their proprietary workflow. Building your business as a freelance retoucher is about establishing trust and building successful working relationships. Even if you're going to be doing most of your work online sending files back and forth, there's no substitute for meeting with photographers, designers, and advertising creatives. I don't know where you live, but a real world connections go a long way toward getting the ball rolling. Retouching is a creative, personal, and tactile thing, and some of that can get lost in e-mails and phone conversations. Know the kinds of work that you're going after and target specific photographers whose work you like and where you think you could make a real contribution. Do your research about the kind of shooting they do and be prepared to show work that specifically addresses the kind of work they do and that addresses the kinds of problems you're seeing in their shots. They need to know that you can dependably deliver fabulous results on the kind of work they do. Product photographers want to see product shot retouching. You can't show automotive work to a beauty photographer (at least not at first). Showing a portfolio that is wildly diverse or is too artistic/experimental without first clearly addressing their day-to-day needs will give a photographer a sense that you're unpredictable. It's not enough to have terrific skills, you also need to inspire them with confidence that you can bring considerable value to their work. You likely already have a web site that focuses on fashion, beauty, product, jewelry, automotive, etc., but I haven't seen it. If you drop a potential client into your deviantart portfolio, they may have a difficult time figuring out how you're going to fit into their business. As you build a strong relationship with a photographer you can angle for more work from them (show your value, and they'll often come to you without asking). If they don't have additional work for you, you can ask them to refer you to their friends in the business. You should do this only after building a strong working relationship. You should reassure them that you'll always be there for them, but that you need additional work. There is some risk here in that you're exposing that you've got available time (which some will try to take advantage of by sending more work for no more money). The best time to ask for such referrals is right after the completion of a job where you've helped them create fabulous images, where you've helped them elevate their game. But don't expect them to pass you along to their much more successful competitors. It's not their job to make you successful. They're mostly concerned about protecting their own operation and making it profitable. You're going to have to do some searching and networking to find the clients you want to work with. And you need to separate yourself from the crowd of retouchers who are sending them mass e-mail campaigns without any regard to or respect for the work that they're doing. It's really not about seeking more work (although I understand that that's part of it). It's about determining the kind of work that you're capable of and the kinds of people you want to work with and then going after that in a clear and focused way. You can always get more work, but you're a limited quantity -- you want to work on great projects with great people. That's perhaps not a precise response to your question, but that's my advice. Hope you find it helpful. Of course, I also need to get out there and follow my own advice. Good luck. -- Alan.


    • #3
      Re: How to find on-line clients?

      Great response Alan! I absolutely agree with everything you say, especially with the fact that meeting your clients in person is incredibly valuable and that Devianart and other similar sites only show that you are aspiring amateur. I also think it's a myth that a (serious) retoucher can build up a business online as an individual unless the type of work is very basic and the person is very lucky.

      I occasionally employ assistants to help me with big jobs and I would never consider offering the job to anyone that I couldn't at least talk on the phone often enough and ideally meet for a chat first.


      • #4
        Re: How to find on-line clients?

        seattle Light (Alan).
        Your reply was pretty Awesome. It answered some questions I didn't even know I had. I have only been on this site 2 days and Have gotten some great advice. Darn that was good. Thanks again
        Last edited by porefungus; 09-08-2009, 10:05 AM. Reason: spelling


        • #5
          Re: How to find on-line clients?

          I actually think that DeviantArt is a terrific forum. And there are lots of people posting incredible work there. Of course, there's also a fair amount of junk. It's probably more valuable as an artistic community for the cross-pollination of ideas and for artistic inspiration than as a host for your professional portfolio.

          Plenty of photographers want to work with aspiring young professionals -- and if you can show them that you can do terrific work with their images and that you have the creative drive, passion, and determination to get it right every time, they won't care if you've been in the business for twenty years or twenty minutes. They might see your being a relative newcomer to the game as a chance to save some money while still getting fabulous work. But you need to clearly show your strengths and ability to add value to their operation.

          But you probably don't want to refer someone into your entire back catalog of personal and artistic retouching projects -- where they could become incredibly confused (wondering how it relates to what they do). If they see a lot of blocked images (for nudity or because they're not members or whatever), they're going to wonder why you sent them to a site where they can't see half of your stuff (or need to become a member to see it).

          You want to be showing them great work that specifically addresses what they're looking for (you can direct them to all of your work after you've formed a working relationship and you're sure that they can handle everything you've got there).

          If you're going to use DeviantArt as your online portfolio, you might want to get another account that you can more specifically tailor to focus on that professional outreach. Sinisa is right that it's probably better to have your own web site (but it's even more about showing work that's appropriate for a particular client).

          Another problem in sending a potential client to DeviantArt or Flickr or Picasa is that they'll find other people there who more precisely fit their needs. You don't want to be sending your find of a potential client into a market of hungry retouchers to go comparison shopping. You're selling your creative work, but then you're directing your potential clients into a competitive creative community to see your work.



          • #6
            Re: How to find on-line clients?

            If you can't meet with potential clients in person, then you need to do what you can to minimize the perceived distance. You need to show that you can do incredible work at a distance, and that communication won't be a problem -- that it wouldn't be that much different than if you were working in their studio (except you won't be taking up valuable space in their studio). Make use of the phone and use Skype for video calls. Once they get used to seeing you online, they might forget that they've never met you in person. But it's all about doing great work and building strong relationships.


            • #7
              Re: How to find on-line clients?

              Alan, I really appreciate all your help and you see, it also helps other people. Thank you very much for being so honest, transparent and loquacious in your writting.

              Thank you very much,



              • #8
                Re: How to find on-line clients?

                Build up a great website, give prospective clients something different on your site that they won't see in many other places. Then, hire an SEO expert. A good one will get you to the top of keywords such as digital retouching. I'd recommend


                • #9
                  Re: How to find on-line clients?

                  Thanks for the info, Photoshopclinic


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