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Contacting local photo businesses

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  • Contacting local photo businesses

    Everyone doing or considering retouching/restoration as a business has thought about calling local photo businesses (labs, photographers, etc.) and inquiring about perhaps getting work via their shop.

    My question is: how would/did you approach this? I'm thinking they might view us as competitors (and they might be right).

    Also, would/did you discuss a discount, referall fee, or any other way for them to make money off your service, or were you hoping simply that they'd pass your name along to potential customers?

    An afterthought (perhaps I should have made this a poll):
    Have you actually called any of your local shops? What happened? (or why haven't you called?)
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  • #2
    I've often wondered about this myself. I've casually asked a couple of local camera shops but they seem to do any retouches themselves and won't refer work. I would love to hear how others have approached this topic.


    • #3
      Retouching as a Business

      Hello Everyone,

      I have been doing photo retouching / restoration as a business for about a year.
      I have lettering on my vehicle, wear t-shirts with business info on back, hand out business cards (the business cards are 1/4 page with 3 before and after samples - this sure helps).

      I am lucky enough to have a camera / film processing store and a scrapbook store that I do work for.
      They have displays of my work in their stores along with my cards.
      If a customers inquires they are given my card with the store's name on the back. I deal directly with the customer - pick up the photo at the store and return it to the store when finished.

      I set my prices and the store gets 20% - this seems to work very well because there is no one in the stores that does this. It is also a very trusting situation.

      When seeking outside work from a store the first question I was asked (if they were interested) was, "Do you have some work you can show me?"
      To solve this without using a lot of ink and paper I got the business card size CD's and used Flip Album 4.0
      I put about 12 before and after photos on it and that solved the problem.
      Sorry, I talk too much.
      Hope this helps,



      • #4
        This is something I am looking into doing at the moment. Thank you for posting your experience with this as it has given me some guide lines.

        Which type of stores is it best to approach? As Sandra has found most of the photographic stores already offer this service.



        • #5
          A lot of stores don't do restorations on site, but send them out to Kodak. That is what my store was doing before I took over. My store wasn't making much money on the kodak orders and if people didn't like the work they were pretty much stuck with paying Kodak's bill because they won't go back and do any changes to the finished product.

          Now that I do them, the store makes 30%, which is more than they were making with Kodak. I am also willing to edit a file if the customer is unhappy which is another bonus to my store. (So far I've had to go back and edit a picture once.) They also get a bit of a faster turn around time because 90% of the time I can get their stuff back significantly faster than Kodak. (Two weeks as opposed to a month or more.) All these factors combined make it much more sensible for my store to use me rather than Kodak. Oh - and my work looks far better than Kodak's as well.

          I would do some calling around and find out what stores offer restoration and which don't. Ask the ones that do if they are done in house or sent out. The ones that do the work in-house forget about. The ones that send out to Kodak or some place else you have a chance with. Go to the stores that don't offer restorations or send their stuff out and ask to talk to the manager. Show them your portfolio and give them a brochure with the services you offer, the turn around time, and your price list. Make sure you list in your brochure somewhere all the advantages of you doing the work rather than Kodak or some other company. Ask if you can make an appointment to speak to the store owner or manager to speak about this more in depth and see if they'll go for it.


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