Dealing with client's skin issues...what do you do?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by steve_c.|5, May 11, 2009.

  1. A) Do you charge more without saying anything, once you've assessed the work involved in making them look good in photos?
    B) Do you grit your teeth and work on them in post, removing pimples, heavy pores, yellowish teeth, lazy eye, or other problems without charging more?
    C) Do you discuss anything like this with a client ahead of time (tactfully of course)?
    D) Do you say nothing and leave their photos as-is unless they request retouching?
    What are your practices?
  2. A. No, I don't. That just seems shady
    B. I do this....but I wouldn't fix something complicated like a lazy eye. I smooth out skin, remove obvious blemishes, etc.
    C. No.
    D. No. I never release unretouched photos.
  3. If it's going to be there for less than 6 months (i.e. pimples) it's removed. General rule of thumb.
  4. a) its unprofessional to charge more without telling your client. I always let them know if prices will change and explain why.
    b)i normally charge by the hour so its whatever the client as for
    c) yes, if the client is unfamiliar with retouching.
    d)if they send me files without instructions I 'always' ask what is needed. Sometimes clients change their minds so I make note to them that its important to let me know what is needed to be retouched.
    practices? you mean as far as doing the retouching itself?
  5. Josh, for D) I meant when you shoot a wedding and someone has skin issues, do you say nothing and leave the photos you shot as-is unless they specifically request retouching?
  6. (Betty) re: A) Some of us have a set list of packages and prices, and others may quote a custom price, based on how much work is involved in a particular event, once a client discusses their needs and event with us (whether the event includes longer hours, more travel, larger number of people to shoot, a more complex venue, a bigger print package, or someone who requires more post production due to skin issues). Or, some or all of the above. Each of these things translates into time we must spend doing the job.
    In that instance, one might avoid embarrassing a client by bringing up skin issues, and just factor that in to the quoted price. I don't think that would be shady, you're just telling them what the event is worth for you to capture.
  7. I think the concept of charging more for skin issues, and not telling the client WHY they're being charged more, is shady. People talk, especially if you're a popular photographer. I think just shooting the event is only 1/2 the job, matter WHAT that the other half. It's all built into the package and everyone gets the same price, regardless of their looks.
  8. So, to understand you clearly, Betty, you feel that someone with a business model like that should say to the client (in effect) "I'm having to charge you more for your wedding than most folks because you have bad skin and require more work to make you look more presentable"? I don't know that that's a conversation I'd like to have with anyone.
    You're also saying that everyone gets the same price, regardless of their looks. Well, what if you have a bride or groom with cystic acne, bad rosacea, or some other serious condition? That can turn into many many hours of post, and if you're giving them a published package price, you're possibly selling your services short.
    In the instance of someone who requires a boatload of post; if they express what they want in their package, and you simply quote them a price for it, you don't necessarily have to explain to them how you derived it, unless you're asked. You're simply giving them the desired end result (time, print package, whatever). And if you make it clear that each client gets custom pricing based on the demands of THEIR event, whatever they are, every client you have will get a custom price for the package and demands of THAT event.
    On a sidenote, to clarify my own approach to pricing, I feel that doing set packages A, B, or C boxes you in financially to THOSE prices, and you could be leaving money on the table. Suppose you have a high-end client who walks in the door, who doesn't want to spend more than $6000, but your highest package is $3000? You've let $3000 walk right out the door and sold yourself short.
    By providing custom pricing and custom packages, you have the opportunity to judge each event by its own demands, each client by their desires and needs, and allow the client some flexibility in pricing. You also have the ability to give someone their ultimate package without selling yourself short either. That's just my take on it, anyway.
  9. I have an editing preference checklist I give each client. That way it is not specifically brought up to one individual (i.e. "I notice you have alot of acne . . ."). There are four options on it and an area for them to make requests regarding anything specific they do or do not want digitally altered or removed. I present this along with the contract, and edit accordingly. If after the fact they decide they would like a different level of editing done, there is a separate charge added for the additional time. They usually pick one of the two middle ones.
    • Basic . I prefer my photos to look as natural as possible. I do not want any re-touching done to facial features. This includes but is not limited to such things as blemishes, under-eye circles, laugh lines, blood-shot eyes, scars, stray hairs, yellow teeth, etc.
    • Low-level fix . I prefer my photos to look primarily like I do everyday but would like to have any “temporary” imperfections removed digitally. This would include such things as blemishes, stray hairs, under-eye circles and other things that are not necessarily present every day. But please leave any permanent scars, moles, etc. as they are a part of who I am.
    • Mid-level fix . I prefer my photos to look just slightly better than I do everyday – like I might look after a day at the spa with a makeover! Feel free to fix temporary imperfections such as blemishes, stray hairs, under-eye circles as well as scars, moles, etc. Some airbrushing is okay, but don’t push it to the limit.
    • Full . I prefer my photos to be treated like a glamour magazine. Please feel free to airbrush or change anything .
  10. Shannon, that is a FANTASTIC idea, which I think I'll implement from here on out. Just the sort of help I was looking for. That way, it's non-confrontational, and confidential between the client and photographer. It gives them an opportunity to think about this on their own and respond in their own way.
    I think I would also extend the wording of it so she can also apply it to those in the wedding party. How many of us have shot pics of a bridesmaid or groomsman who has the same issues, but weren't sure how to handle them in post?
    On the mid-leve and full fixes, I might also include wording about additional charges may apply, due to additional time required. Consult photographer for specifics.
  11. I don't overedit the photos.. ever. Cleaning acnes is fine, but I will never airbrushing them to the point of having porcelain skin just so we can show them a "good" picture.

    Their imperfections are part of them. If i airbrush them to the point of perfect skin, it is not them anymore. I might as well put in model stand ins and photograph them instead.
    We are there simply to document their day, the way they truly are.
  12. I retouch all photos that will go to a album or are going to be printed, that is included in the price.
    Shannon If I get a multi-selection list like that I would not hire you or anyone, I find it offesive, IMO.
  13. I automatically "TLC" my album images.
    Beyond that, if the matter arises, I offer to remove blemishes etc., at a flat rate per head/shot.
  14. I think you're overthinking it. I would NEVER tell a client "I have to charge you more because of XYZ issue with your face". I just fix what needs to be fixed to make the client look great on their day. That's part of my job.
  15. I'm with Betty I remove zits from brides and grooms and main people involved in the wedding as standard practice. I make them look beautiful and dreamy if I can and that is why their friends come to me when they get married.
    I find it doesn't take much time at all to touch up faces and smooth their skin in PS. I even do little tricks to select photos to make their eyes pop, thin arms and make my girls a little thinner :) . Every wedding has it *special photographs* that I do extra work to.
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  16. I appreciate all the responses so far. This is the kind of feedback I am looking for. Knowing each of your philosophies on the subject really helps me refine or adjust what I'm doing.
  17. I don't charge extra for different levels of editing. Whatever level they choose is what I do. If they change their mind after the editing is done, and want it re-done, then there is an additional charge. For what it is worth, I've never had anyone pick either of the extremes I offer. I think the first and last options on my list are really there more as a matter to indicate what the extremes CAN be, so they better understand what the more middle-ground options do/do not include.
    So far, no-one has been offended, and in fact have been glad to have the option to indicate what they like. But I respect your opinion, Jose.
  18. Jose, I think Shannon would be presenting this list only to someone who has already hired her. I don't see how someone might be offended by this; it's a general list of selections that could apply to anyone. I do see how someone might be offended if they have a physical characteristic that someone removed in photos without permission, that they are somehow in love with. But so far, I've never had a complaint about any retouching I've done.
    I've corrected pores, pimples, rosacea, moles, lazy eyes, sunburn, scars, cold sores, and more, yet so far, nobody has been offended or complained at all.
  19. I've always thought that retouching model's photos was part of the job. So, why should wedding photos be any different? Why not just do it without any fanfare?
  20. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    If a retouching service is being offered as Stand Alone or as a differentiated part of the total Wedding Package, Shannon Kimball's approach is excellent, and moreover it certainly displays leverage for (her?) business, as selling tool - and on other levels - including building rapport with the clients. I note with interest that there is no cost difference between the levels of retouching - another smart move.
    (She?) was very generous to share all that information, IMO.
    If a retouching service is not being marketed that way; and as we do not offer it differentiated in any fashion, my answers are:
    A) No
    B) Yes, that is what we do, to some extent - but without teeth gritting
    C) Yes, for obvious issues, but the client usually initiates the conversation, though I think we might plant the seed.
    D) No - see answer B, above

  21. Just run their images through Portriat Pro, and tell them they look gorgeous. I deal with most talent agencies here and the photogs all use it.
  22. I use Portrait Professional myself, but to use it on all the images I shoot of a bride on a typical wedding would be time-prohibitive to just give away as part of the service. Now, cold sores, a pimple here or there isn't a big deal. Horrendous acne or other bad issues are another matter, because of the sheer hours involved to fix in every photo. If one is being compensated appropriately for it, then it's part of the gig. If not, then I feel we need to look out for ourselves on this one way or another.
  23. Just as a bit of background as to why I came up with the choices in the first place:
    I once did photos for a friend and she specifically asked that I retouch an acne outbreak, but leave the scar above her eyebrow alone. It had been there for most of her life, and she identified with it as being a part of who she is. Now, had she not mentioned it, I likely would have edited it out - it was very small and would have been a standard part of my workflow. When she saw her proofs, she was thrilled to see the small scar that was still there . . . :)
  24. I like the levels listed by Shannon ... nicely done.
    My current process is to do "fixes" on photos that are of more importance than the average photo i.e. portraits or formals and those other moments of importance.
    I'm a bit hesitant about the levels checklist because I wonder if I'm then committed to processing to the level of (for example) "prefer my photos to look just slightly better than I do every day" mean that I have to do this to each and every photo taken of the bride and groom for the entire day? That just doesn't make sense to me but might there be bridal couples who would come back on the photographer and ask that each and every photo be treated in the same way?
    Does the list actually work against me at all. (note: I love the list: great idea: just wondering though.)
  25. I let the customer select the photos he/she wants, then I retouch. Everything that I can make better, without distortions, I do them. I'm really careful not erase physical scars or anything that is something permanent on a person. All retouches most look natural and not look like "retouched".
  26. Shannon, excellent approach. I've never thought of it that way. Then again, I've never had a major issue with client skin. I do remove obvious 'blemishes', but if there are other obvious identifiers, I prefer to bring it up with the client and then let them decide. If it's a beauty spot, it stays on...
  27. Shannon: I have to agree with the others who have commented on your 'retouch scale' - it's a fantastic approach! I will definitely be making use of that in the future, as I recently found out that I went a little 'overboard' with the retouching on a couple graduation photos for someone. (I went to the 'glamour magazine' level with a few shots, and she was a bit creeped out.) It left me perplexed as to how I should tactfully handle this issue in the future. Now I have a great answer, hah.
  28. Imo, most photoshop "work" is overdone by the worker (as Kerri mentioned; a common "mistake") ... a good rule of thumb is to apply your "changes" that you feel "improve" the image file and Then pull it back until it looks more real. I pull back on almost all changes I might be moved to create in photoshop.
    Pull it back by lowering opacity or lower the level of the effect you've created on a layer: just a good general rule to be aware of as you post process.

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