How to charge for photo retouching service

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by gmahler5th, May 30, 2005.

  1. I received a request from a frind of the bride and groom to do some considerable editing of this image. I spent about 45mins this morning doing some adjustments to get the low res proof in the ball park of what she was looking for. She replied with a snotty "That's overpriced and not good enough...blah blah blah" so I'm just curious how you guys handle request for substantial retouching treatment to a photo you shot during a wedding. For this image in particular, the customer wants the attendant, the minister, and the random should removed from. The visible parts of the minister about in the middle of this picture, between bride and groom made this a not so easy touch up, and one could easily spend several hours (or more?) getting close to perfection as possbile. So if I charged by the hour, that would make a 4x6 print about $105. So would anyone event attempt to edit this photo and charge an hourly rate, or would you decline the job?
  2. BAIL

    I would suggest an alternate image....sounds like they wouldn't end up paying you anyway.
  3. Give her some names of other digital touch up services to check out, tell her
    your price per hour and leave it at that, she obviously wants it done cheaper
    than what is normally charged. This is common in the service industry with a
    little experience you will be able to handle these situations, quickly, honestly,
    and with a smile.
  4. You might get away with telling her that it really wouldn't be cost effective or feasable to do on less than an 11x14 print at perhaps $250, but once that was done you could make up lots of 4x6 prints at the regular price.
  5. "I'm just curious how you guys handle request for substantial retouching treatment to a
    photo you shot during a wedding."

    If it WAS something I shot that badly, and it WAS an important image, I'd quietly fix it and
    never say a word, and especially not a word about money.

    If it was a mistake beyond my control I often still fix it for free, or for a minimal charge.
    Builds good will and strong word of mouth referrals. Like one Bride who's Mom had a fit
    because some aunt wasn't photographed with the Mom and Bride alone rather as part of a
    group (even though the Aunt wasn't to be found anywhere). Unreasonable of Mom, but I PS
    the Aunt into a shot, and all was peace and happiness.

    "So would anyone event attempt to edit this photo and charge an hourly rate, or would you
    decline the job?"

    If those requested fixes took more than 15 minutes I'd be surprised.
  6. Marc,

    Is the shot I posted really that bad? It's not the only shot I have of this pose, and the similar image is perhaps a cleaner and better composition. So are you implying that I should do the touch up for free, for a friend of the bride and groom? I certainly do not feel obligated, and the neither the bride nor groom complained about this pose.

    I totally understand what you are saying, and I've already practice your suggestion once this wedding (you helped me correct that image) I am in NO way asking for help to correct this image. I am just asking for advice about whether or not to spend the hour or two it will take to get it to the point the customer will pay, and how much to charge.

    Al's suggestion was a good one, and that is what I told my client. Thanks, Al! you are the best! (Loved your new collection of self pics by the way!)

  7. Giving away your time and skills for no charge will always help your public
    relations, unfortunatly its not a good buisness plan.
  8. get a deposit before you do any more. Alternately, get a quote from a professional retoucher and give your client an estimate... t <p>(What Marc would do is not relevant, it's hypothetical. But you did ask.)
  9. First of all Steven, it isn't a stellar shot. Second of all, everyone shoots bad ones. Believe
    me, I've done worse.

    The trick is to edit them out so no one ever sees them.

    Or, IF it is a critical shot, then consider fixing it without a word to the client.

    Edit it OR fix it ... never let them see you sweat.
  10. Did the friend of the bride pay for the photography? If so you may have an obligation, unless....

    It looks like a grab shot to me. If that is the case and it wasn't a formal portrait I think the friend is out of line and has no comprehension of what they are asking be done.

    If it was a formal fill in the blank.
  11. For perfect shots of the B&G a short portrait session is the ideal way. I tend to beleive that candids are candids while it is good to wait for clear backgrounds that may not always be possible so often you just get what you can get now we have PS to help but everyone is becoming more aware of what can be done. Well here is a very quick fix less could be better but not worth to spend too long on a low res image.
  12. Actually, it begs the question as to why the friend is so insistent on this particular shot?

    Was there no other shot to fit the criteria of the couple free from ambient distractions? I'm
    sure that isn't the case.

    It's an example of a quick snap being turned into something it isn't, and never quite
    looking right.

    I think when requests like this are made, it should be deflected immediately. Not that the
    work can't be done, but that it'll never look right no matter how expert you are at PS.
  13. What Marc Said.
    All of what Marc said....

    This is what I do.
    I almost NEVER post retouch a wedding photo. If it needs retouching it goes in the out take pile. If it is going into the finished album THEN I play with it some.

    Even tho it is possible to retouch with digital and scanned film negatives, I just do not do it.

    In the old film days (and I still shoot film) it was NOT possible to retouch a 35mm negative (which is where the film retouching occurs) and it was possible, tho difficult to retouch a MF negative. Most retouching was done with large format negatives and retouching was truly an art form.

    Just because PS and digital have made something easier to do, does not mean it ought to be done or you are obligated to do it.

    Case in point:
    In AutoCad drafting the program will allow you to set it up so it automatically sets up road stationing from either end of a centerline. However, for Civil engineereing, there is a protocol of setting up the Center Line stationing from South to north and from west to east. This is allowed because the programmers are not civil engineers and just set it up to go either way.

    Just because you CAN do something on a computer does not mean you should.
  14. Stuart, that's miraculous, imo. did you just plunge into the PS rubber stamping, patching, and repairing tools? or did you make a mask first? and, how long did it all take?
  15. Marc, I know it's not a stellar shot, and was a little surprised when she asked to touch up this one instead of a cleaner and similar shot. neither are free from ambient disctractions, but the one she didn't choose definately has more potential than the one she did.

    In retrospect, I think a better course of action would have been to not post this image, or to politely turn down the request as Marc suggested. We live and learn, don't we! :)

    Thanks for your effort Stuart! My edited version came up very similar to yours, but the client still didn't like it because you can see part of the minister's jacket in between the bride and groom. Talk about tight angles! Without knowing what is there in the absence of the jacket, you are just creating pixels! (or a blank wall) That's what could cause me to spend hours on this image without any return for my time. If I must do this work, I'd prefer that she paid me $250 for an 11x14 so I at least don't have to do the job for nothing.

    Thanks everyone for your feedback!
  16. I agree with Marc, fix those images that were taken and are "bad" due to the photographer, so the B&G will never see those "bad" shots. As for retouching, I just got a request of removing some people from a candid shot of b&g leaving the house. For that I charge $150/hr. 99% of the time, clients fall in love with the unedited image :)

  17. Steven,

    What I do on my services if offer 4 hours of post production on the FINAL pics that will go on the album, if you are proficient with Photoshop you can get a lot accomplish within that time frame, and the fact that you are doing this with the final images only puts a limit on the number of pictures.

    As far a general retouching of proofs, if they want that I offer the services for 50 per hour, since that is the going rate for a photo retoucher.
  18. "50 per hour... is the going rate for a photo retoucher" Not in my town... t
  19. Interesting; we all ask the plumber how much to fix the leak; ask the car repair dude how much to fix the transmission; the snow shovel guy how much to shovel the graveway. We ask the Lab how much to print an 8x10...<BR><BR>A heck of alot of folks want a real world number; ballpark number in dollars; not a open ended dollars/hour quote. What if the dentist quoted you like this? Another pro; a dentist will at least try to say this tooth is zz dollars; this one is RR dollars. <BR><BR>The amount of TIME can vary radically in retouching; depending on ones skill; how much time before interruption from the job; if one has done the same thing before. <BR><BR>Manytimes the goofiest image is what folks want retouched; not the clinical "perfect shot". Right before Christmas I had alot of folks wanting to wait on some retouching; which would be impossible. One left in a huff; I'll just go elsewhere. <BR><BR>since you shot the image; then this is abit a different pickle to handle. A radical retouch can be a time sinkhole; time is warped :)
  20. shovel the driveway
  21. Tom,

    Where I live in Washington DC, the going rate is equal to that of a designer/graphics designer which ranges from 50-75 per hour, some charge it in 15 minutes increments, or on hourly basis.

    To me the issue has to do with the time that you spent on post production and what makes sense as a business person, normally I deliver 500-700 images, all of which are color corrected but not retouched. If the client decide that they want to alter anything on the pictures then is a separate charge.

  22. As a direct anwer to your question, I charge $60 per hour in 15 minute increments with a minimum 1/2 hour charge, plus any related costs for scanning the image if it's on film. I have a very candid discussion with my clients about what they can expect the final image to look like. If they want something that is beyond my skill set (I focus on retouching skin blemishes, etc) then I politely refer them to an expert retoucher who charges $75 per hour with a minimum 1 hour charge. Most jobs take me 1/2 hour to an hour, including client communications, invoicing, etc.

    A lot of you may think, "Hmmmmm, $60 per hour ain't such a bad deal, I might get into this myself". I thought so too at first. I just started doing this. The cost of hardware, software, and the extraneous costs nobody else considers really lowers my profit per hour to about 1/2 of what I charge. Then figure in taxes, advertising, and all the other business expenses. Is it worth it? Yes. Just don't go into it blind. People who want retouching expect miracles and most clients are very DEMANDING.

    HOWEVER (hear me screaming?), if this was a photo that I took, I'd retouch it for free. A simple, friendly "Yes, certainly, I'd be happy to take care of this photo at no cost" will usually spread a lot of good will around! Just be sure to set limits. I only agree to do minor retouching on small numbers of photos for my wedding clients.

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