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Actually earning some money by retouching?

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  • Actually earning some money by retouching?

    So, I've been on and off learning how to retouch for the last 3 years, but have been really dedicated to it for the last 6 months.

    Now, I opened a MM account, and I am constantly approached by really bad photographers wanting extraordinary results, and paying next to nothing for it (they give me an example of completely different lighting, completely different model, outfit, frame, everything). And if I achieve the look buy going trough 5 conversions, they're never satisfied. And for what 40$ a day? Forget it!

    I thought I'd get more clients if I start at 5$ an hour, but this is getting ridiculous.

    So, now I found out that people charge 10 times as much as I do, and they actually have whole day to finish a detailed image, and are payed really well?

    How? Where do I start?

    For example, I even saw an Add here, they do nothing that I don't do, and they say they're looking for "established" retouchers. I can do all that, and in fact, have done it, so does that make me established?

    I just want to stop working on horrible images.

  • #2
    Re: Actually earning some money by retouching?

    Charge what you are worth. Your clients will pay once they see what you can do. Never sell yourself short. If the market in your area says $100 an hour is the price to pay, charge that if you can accomplish what's expected. IF the market says $600 an hour charge that.
    But keep in mind that Local clients (small businesses) usually can't pay what larger corporations can pay.
    Last edited by Shoku; 11-27-2013, 06:12 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Actually earning some money by retouching?

      And just look at what people do for 15$! A couple of curves. And I did a whole bad to flawless skin on a beauty image + local color adjustments + hair clean up, 4 hours of work for that cash!

      I am an idiot.


      • #4
        Re: Actually earning some money by retouching?

        Consider charging a minimum creative fee. Retouching is just as creative as taking the picture. As a photographer I charge a creative fee, not an hourly fee or sitting fee. As a digital artist I also charge a minimum fee for less complicated work; we are hired to create something that will accomplish what the client wants, based on our talent.


        • #5
          Re: Actually earning some money by retouching?

          I think model mayhem, for the most part, is largely amateurs trying to get a foothold in the business, not really a spot for established creatives. There are exceptions, but if a photographer is established and has proper representation, they won't have the need or the time to mess around with an account on there. Full disclosure, I have an account there too, for the main purpose of forum participation. I get offers to do TF work all the time, but I'm too far along to work for free. And you're right, the images that are offered to me are usually of very poor quality. It's hard to produce great work from subpar source material, which is why I usually don't bother with it.

          Where do you live, skoobey? If you're in a large media market, consider working at a retouching studio. I've been in studios for the majority of my career, and any well paying freelance work I've gotten, 90% of it comes from connections I've made while working in retouching studios.


          • #6
            Re: Actually earning some money by retouching?

            I live in the poorest country in Eastern Europe, no studios here.

            I just wish I would be payed fairly. I feel exploited at this point. Tons of low grade portrait images, at 5$ an hour, I'm not making any progress both quality-vise, and money vise.


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