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LA Retouching Studios?

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  • LA Retouching Studios?

    Hey there! I'm an LA native and I decided to be a retoucher about a year ago. A retoucher niched in beauty and skin segueing best into beauty and fashion editorial. If I could work on editorials all day, that's honestly the way I'd have it and it's the area of retouching that I prefer. I've spent the past year freelancing and learning the basics of business through trial and error and I've gotten good. Now I'd like to work at a retouch studio and freelance a bit on the side if I can. Working at a studio would be more stable.

    This is a major city for this sort of thing and I'm lucky, but I've heard in some older threads that LA ain't quite like NYC as far as the availability and amount of retouch studios go.
    1. That was from a thread in 2008 and I was wondering if anyone working the field or has knowledge can recommend some studios?
    2. Also if you could lay out how much (generally speaking), you'd guess a person in an LA studio would be making a year? Going from Grunt (junior assistant), and working up to senior level.

    Thank you so much. Any additional advice would be fantastic as well, thank you. I enjoy doing this so I'd like some reality to understand how I could properly make a living retouching in LA in particular. Thanks again.

  • #2
    Re: LA Retouching Studios?

    I have probably forgotten a bunch of them. Many fashion brands have in house e-commerce photography, which is typically also retouched in house. They're spread out quite a bit between downtown and the south bay. Some ad agencies also have a small number of in house retouching staff, or they have departments that deal with 3D assets. You might look into some of them.

    Anyway this is by no means an exhaustive list, and it doesn't really include any shops that deal with producing or finishing entertainment assets. <-can't believe I forgot that one
    Last edited by klev; 03-28-2015, 07:24 PM.


    • #3
      Re: LA Retouching Studios?

      ^^^ Thank you! You're extremely helpful! I have absolutely no idea what the retouching world is like in LA. From looking at jobs online I've seen that (you're totally right, didn't notice this before) that fashion companies DO usually try to snatch up locals and bring them in house. American Apparel and BEBE have both done that recently - but I didn't apply because I didn't think I was good enough, haha.

      I can learn how to composite well and do product retouching so I'll have some variety. I'm just frightened of going anywhere that's designated around the majority of what's on that list. I like Smashboxstudios though and I want to find more like those. If I have to retouch objects all day for brands then I'm completely fine with that if it means staying in the sort of environment. As long as it's fashion/beauty centric, I'm good.

      And while on the subject, I'm curious - What would you recommend that I touch up on / have knowledge of that they'd be expecting, generally speaking?

      Thank you so much for your input again. I'm really soaking this up.


      • #4
        Re: LA Retouching Studios?

        Fashion brands aren't really producing campaigns in house. They are producing stuff that is rotated much more frequently and that involves significant volume. If you're curious what to expect, I would probably suggest checking glassdoor. Those brands are big enough that they should have some reviews and possibly comments from past interviews. There are better people to ask than me, because I no longer do that full time, but anyway you could probably get quite good at it.

        It's going to vary. You will want to do some research on who is hiring. Try to figure out what their entry level is there and what they're looking for. I suggest putting in some work on a few where you think you have a shot, especially if you lack an organized portfolio. If you have permission to use the images online, having a site is good. It can be very plain.


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