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I work for a photo lab that does retouching...but also want to do it independently...

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  • I work for a photo lab that does retouching...but also want to do it independently...

    First of all - what an awesome resource - vast amounts of knowledge!

    I have been in my current job now for 3 months. I work for a photolab that does just about everything - develop & print, prints of memory card, cd, email etc, scanning to cd, retouching, restoration, manipulation, camera sales etc.

    I am handling most of the restoration and retouching, and am really enjoying it.
    However, I would like to do some freelance restoration work from home - outside of my job. Is this a good idea? As far as I see it I will be in competition with the (independent) company i work for.

    Opinions on whether this is a good idea or not would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Ken

  • #2
    I think that would be a really bad idea unless you run that possibility past your employer first, just to keep things smooth between you and them. If you want to do it on your own, it would be better to quit your job first.

    Ed

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    • #3
      Originally posted by kenny44
      First of all - what an awesome resource - vast amounts of knowledge!

      I have been in my current job now for 3 months. I work for a photolab that does just about everything - develop & print, prints of memory card, cd, email etc, scanning to cd, retouching, restoration, manipulation, camera sales etc.

      I am handling most of the restoration and retouching, and am really enjoying it.
      However, I would like to do some freelance restoration work from home - outside of my job. Is this a good idea? As far as I see it I will be in competition with the (independent) company i work for.

      Opinions on whether this is a good idea or not would be greatly appreciated.

      Cheers,
      Ken
      A lot depends on your contract with the store you are working with. Do you have a non compete clause in your contract?

      Would you be working on your own equipment using your own purchased software?

      Do you want to possibly upset your employeer if he/she finds out you are competing with their company?

      If any of the above is no, you don't want to probably do it.

      I would suggest learning as much as possible about the entire process (not just the retouching) and then later if you decide you want too, try going out on your own.

      - Noel

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      • #4
        Yup, I thought that might be the common answer. I'll hang off for a little while. Thanks for the opinions guys

        One more question - would it be acceptable to use work done at my job as examples in my portfolio for future use?
        Last edited by kenny44; 02-21-2004, 04:52 PM. Reason: because

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        • #5
          You would probably need permission (a release) from the holder of the copyright, and also from the lab, since they paid you to do the work in the first place. But that's just my opinion. Others might differ.

          Ed

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          • #6
            From the employers point of view this is like cheating on a spouse. Not only because you are in competition with your employer - and in the back of their minds they don't have any way of knowing if you are sending some of the customers contacted through the lab home - but also because of the dilution of your retouch 'enegy' - again a little bit like cheating on a spouse ....

            After you get really good you can quit to work freelance, then cut a deal with the lab to do their work at a low rate because of your history with them ... if they go for it this will keep some cash flowing without the cheating aspect.

            Another idea to learn the business end and not have the lab mad at you is to do something related that they don't do on the side - start doing it for fun and then taking business, that way it is non-threatening. Then you can do your own work and eventually cut a deal with the lab to do the same for them as an independant contractor. The first idea that comes to mind could be doing paintings from photographs with Photoshop and/or Painter. Or doing DVD archived collections from a customers images - the lab could get the scanning money and you could get the money for organizing the images and creating the DVD.

            Good Luck, Roger

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            • #7
              Now that is a perfect analogy Roger !


              Very well said ---

              Comment


              • #8
                Haha yeh, very well put. Thanks Rodger, some great ideas

                Comment


                • #9
                  I once worked in a lab as a custom b/w printer. I decided to try going out on my own, to start my own custom b/w lab. I was up front with my boss, and promised him I wouldn't take any of his business. He just laughed and told me I was welcome to try to take any business I could, because he knew I wouldn't succeed.

                  He was right, I didn't
                  Learn by teaching
                  Take responsibility for learning

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just ask!

                    Originally posted by kenny44
                    First of all - what an awesome resource - vast amounts of knowledge!

                    I have been in my current job now for 3 months. I work for a photolab that does just about everything - develop & print, prints of memory card, cd, email etc, scanning to cd, retouching, restoration, manipulation, camera sales etc.

                    I am handling most of the restoration and retouching, and am really enjoying it.
                    However, I would like to do some freelance restoration work from home - outside of my job. Is this a good idea? As far as I see it I will be in competition with the (independent) company i work for.

                    Opinions on whether this is a good idea or not would be greatly appreciated.

                    Cheers,
                    Ken
                    I've been on the employer side of this for over 50 years - it's never been a problem for any employee who asks and usually you can work out something that is fair. For the ones that have tried to use my company facilities and/or client contacts to earn "extra" money for themselves, their job proved to be short lived!

                    Two of my current competitors in this trade area are ex-employees and again I've had no problem with it. They didn't start their business on my payroll. Over the years a few who have started "on the side" or set up by trying to take our clients have all failed within the first year. Could be there is something to be said for upfront honesty!

                    One other thought - you might ask yourself if you put your full effort behind the business you are working for now to help him or her by bringing in clients and expanding the business would the opportunity there be better or worse than going out on your own? You may have heard this business expression before - "I'd rather have 1% of General Motors than 100% of me!" - More often than not, new employees grossly overestimate the profits involved in any business and, when that is the case, generally would be far better off making a sincere contribution within a knowledgable work group.

                    Jim Conway
                    Timemark Photo Conservators

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      After figuring out how to "get away with it ethically," the next step has to do with a slippery slope...if you know what I mean.

                      On the semi-upside, if you ask the people who start photolabs just how they got started, most will say that they took accounts from their employer(s).

                      I ran marketing for four significant photolabs in California and am very sure of this point.

                      This kind of business is marginal at best and often starts with ripoffs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Damn the man ... Do it anyway!

                        Damn the man ... Do it anyway!

                        Just don't undercut the price your employer charges because that just drives down the value of your knowledge and skills.

                        Undercharging to get the business leads to another guy charging less than you... and so on until the average person thinks that your skills shouldn't cost anything.

                        And that's bad for everyone who is legit about image editing.

                        cheers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Kenny,

                          I just left an ad agency here in NYC to start my own retouching business. There were no hard feelings, they even offered me to come back to freelance with them if I needed to.

                          There is so much work out there to be handled. I would certainly suggest that you get as much experience as you can with the lab. Then when you feel confident that your work is great, start shopping around for clients, especially photographers. Get a solid system set up at home too. Although some photographers may ask you to work on site at their studio.

                          But the substance is in your experience and confidence. So be sure to learn as much about the business and the technology as you can. Definately freelance on the side. It's your own time for gosh sake. I worked at the agency from 8am-7pm then would go home and freelance from 8pm-2am for 4 months until I knew for certain I could make my own business happen.

                          Go for it!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Photo Retoucher From, India

                            Sir,
                            I am working 4 Kodak digital lab in chennai, India. I like to work with u. I'am having Five year's Experience in Adobe Photoshop works.

                            More experience in...

                            Photo Retouching works
                            Black & white to color works
                            Damaged photo's Altering works & all occassions creative, templete works.
                            And iam ready to work with u and T&C also.
                            Send ur jobs to my mailid

                            Please contact my E-mail ID: sr[email protected]


                            Send ur reply ASAP.

                            A.Dinagaran
                            India
                            Last edited by Dinagaran; 07-26-2004, 08:45 AM.

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