The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

(audience applauding) Thank you Kenna. Welcome gang, welcome those at home, for hopefully what's gonna be a really interesting two days of business talk. We are here to talk about some of the aspects of the business of retouching. So this is absolutely not a retouching course, we're gonna be talking about business practices, file practices, that sort of thing. And the reason there's two of us, why Simon and I are here, is he and I have been working together well over what, 25 years? 25 years a piece. Yeah, 25 years, and we could not be more different. We are chalk and cheese, this is definitely gonna be a bit of a yin and yang, and you're gonna get to see different ways of approaching kind of similar clients and similar jobs. That's pretty accurate, that we're very different, wouldn't you say? Yeah, we both have different ways of doing stuff, we take in the information, and our stage one, stage two, stage three are all very different. And you and I play off well, like I have th...

is challenge, what would you do here? And I do the same with you, too. Yeah, it's pretty good, so hopefully between the two of us, you guys are gonna get some decent approaches to how to handle your clients, your files, actually how you build your files, and your delivery. So we're gonna look at some stuff like that, and yeah, so some good approaches. So let's take a look right now at who this class might be good for. Alright, and I think this is pretty important because frankly it's good for a lot of people. And this is a little Machiavellian on my part, and what I mean by that is, if more people who are product producers, so not just me as a retoucher, or Simon, but perhaps photographers, who aren't even doing the retouching. Or creative directors, who are actually purchasing the retoucher's agencies. Client producers actually, the people who's products we're trying to retouch, if they knew more about this process, first of all, on a selfish level, my job would be much easier, but also, everything would go more smoothly. So it's really a goal of mine to kind of work the process out, in the hopes of the end result being really good. So, let's talk about this. So basically, retouchers, obviously, this is a good class for retouchers. Photographers, photographers who hire retouchers. This will be a great class for that, because you'll know the questions to ask in advance. And you'll know what you're getting. Photographers who do their own retouching. And this is a really big point for me, photographers anymore, wanna be the actual full provider. You're gonna do your own retouching, are you good enough to do your own retouching? Should you be doing your own retouching? Your hands might not be as good as your photo skills, and how much are you charging for that? Are you charging market rate for your retouching? Because it's a completely separate thing from your photography, so we wanna talk about that. Illustration, I don't think this gets discussed enough, how much illustrators are retouchers. In the old days, back in the Quantel Paintbox days, Shima Seikis, these were proprietary platforms that you did retouching on, way before the macs. Million dollar machines. And all the folks who did that were illustrators. So, there's still a whole world of illustrators here. Designers. Yeah, do you guys realize how much designers need to know Photoshop? And it's one of those things where you're actually required, it seems like these days, to be masters of Photoshop. So I think for Designers, this could be a really good course, because you should be billing for your retouching time. Creative directors, wouldn't it be amazing, if creative directors knew more about what they're asking for? And make different decisions when they're making wardrobe choices, when they're making design decisions, if they knew the process of retouching beforehand. I wanna stress that, beforehand. This could be really great. And stylists, my kingdom for a stylist to understand retouching needs. That means they're gonna make different choices for wardrobe, they're gonna present different choices to the clients. And we're gonna talk about this at length. And everyone's kinda using Photoshop, now it's everyone's got their hand at all these different jobs, where, 25 years ago, you could be a photographer and not see Photoshop. You could actually be an illustrator, and everything was airbrush, everything was pen and pencil. Everyone's got their hands on Photoshop, so we grew up with it. When Photoshop first came out, that's when we jumped on, so we're not, 'till next week, learning version 10, version 15, and having to learn all that stuff, but, learn from our mistakes, so, we came through, and here was where we had a challenge, here's how we overcame it. Here's where stuff just doesn't flat out work. So, avoid that, here's the better way to do it. So, yeah, let us take you through our story and our stuff, and you guys can go right to the answer sheet. You don't have to make our stumbling, bumbling stay up too late stuff. Crying, 'cause of the pain. Also, someone just brought up a really good point, that I'd like to mention, you had mentioned that the jobs were more delineated back then. In the old days, a photographer was a photographer, and that was it, a photographer was not expected to do their own retouching, and having had some conversations here, I think a few of you feel the pressure of knowing everything. You feel like you have to know everything, and every aspect, you don't. You do not have to know every tip, every trick, every filter, every function. You need to know broad and big picture, yes. You need to know where your trying to get to, but you don't have to know everything, and I think that's really freeing, and important. And if you know what your job is, if you know what the other guy's job is, and everyone knows what everyone's responsibilities are, then you can say, that's your level of expertise, you take care of that, this will be mine over here. And divvy up the workload. Yeah, so good, hopefully you'll have lots of questions about that as we go. So let's talk about the overview of the course. What we're gonna be touching on here. First of all, there is identifying different genres. There is a world of retouching out there. When you say retouching, that means a gazillion things, and we'd like to start identifying what types of genres there are, to help you figure out where you fit in the food chain. Brief history of how Simon and I got here, because I think that's informative, to let you know different paths you can get to, to different careers. Establishing a look and/or style, and should you? Hmm, very interesting point for retouchers, we're gonna talk on that. Something I think many, many, many folks are gonna be interested in, is the pricing and rate. How do you figure out your pricing, your billing. How do you that, and there's a lot of factors, and we wanna talk about that. Worksheet, we have some fantastic worksheets, which will be bonus materials for the course, to help you determine, one, how to estimate your job, and two, how to actually do your job. It's kind of a, I don't wanna exactly call it a step by step, but it's definitely a... It's a helper. It's a big helper, yeah, excellent. Pre-shoot checklist, this is gonna be great, this is about, if you are hired before the job, lord willing, you'll get called, and you can talk to the photographer in advance, and say great, these are the things you wanna watch for. And what we're talking about, things like wardrobe. Wardrobe choices, background choices, lighting choices, that sort of thing. What is fixable on set, and what is not. This is very important to know, both for a photographer, and a creative director, because if your paying for post production time, you wanna know in advance. Okay, image coverage, oh, that's probably the biggest thing for us. So we're gonna talk on set, how you cover your image, and what I mean by that, and we'll discuss it fully, is poses. Covering poses, the unexpected. So you know you're doing an ad, and you want a eight by 10 ad, I assure you, you're gonna need a shot like this, and a shot like this. For some reason, because someone up the food chain's gonna change their mind later on, and your gonna need to know that, So we'll talk about that. Why it's a good idea to have a retoucher on set. So, for what we do, we often will go on set for jobs, and it's generally a line item that gets argued about. Folks don't wanna pay it. And I think we'll be able to demonstrate in this segment, why it's so cost effective to have a retoucher on set, how much money you can save by addressing problems and issues before you're in post. And tools of the trade, bags of tricks, so what those are, that's what kind of equipment are we using, and what kind of tricks and handy helpers we bring on jobs with us. So, hopefully you'll find that interesting and useful. Assets, now, the next section is all about production, I do wanna reiterate, this is not a Photoshop class, we're not gonna be going through Photoshop, however, we are gonna talk about managing your job folder, so how do you manage your assets, and your job folders, and your naming conventions, and this is all about money. Time is money, and if you can manage your job folders, where the location of your items are, your XMP files, your originals, honestly it'll save a ton of money. This is gonna save you money, you being the retoucher. Marking up a project. Communication, this is huge, and I find it's a step that people are skipping far too often, so we're gonna talk about the power of the markup. Because it's a way of communicating between you and the decision maker. How much retouching's done, spotting being done, how much color, how far do you wanna go? 'Cause imagine, you guys know, with beauty retouching in particular, well how far? Do you wanna make me look 20? Do you wanna make me look like I got a good night's sleep? And those are subtleties that you need to communicate, but well before the job is put to sleep. A personal pet peeve of mine, or joy, or mission statement, I'm not sure how to say it, Photoshop layer construction. Mise en place. Mise en place, (speaking French) Yes, put your stuff in order, and we're gonna talk about the best way to do that. I wanna give you a slight illustration on that, we have a client in Hollywood, it's a small boutique agency, they do international films, kind of your lower end film projects, their files are built the best in town. 100% built the best in town, and on average, their one sheet finish takes me four hours. The largest ad agencies in Hollywood, entertainment ad agencies, will have similar one sheet files that we have to build, it's an eight to 12 hour build, only because of how the file was constructed. I'm telling you, this could be good. Anyway, so we're gonna talk about that. Job worksheet checklist, this is really important, this is something Simon came up with, which is fantastic, it's a roadmap on how to do your job, and what to look for. And you're gonna really love that, and again that's in the bonus material as well, and a favorite section of mine, is what to do when jobs go off the rail. And I think this is where our gazillion years of experience really pays off, this is when everyone's hair is on fire, and there's crying, there's definitely crying going on here. So we're gonna talk about what to do in those situations, and then we're gonna wrap it up with portfolio and promotion, how to promote your business, and how to present yourself, and decisions you might make on that.

Create your own retouching business from the ground up. In this class, one of Hollywood¹s hottest retouchers reveals the secrets to designing your own business. Lisa Carney walks through the steps needed to start and run a smooth business while keeping your clients engaged and happy. Whether you’re looking to work with photographers, agencies or even bill for post production - you’re bound to find valuable insight into the world of photo retouching.

This class covers:

  • Defining the type of retoucher you want to be
  • Solutions for the problems you’ll encounter on shoots and in post production
  • Communication techniques for clients
  • Secrets for setting realistic expectations from markups through revisions
  • Pricing your services and handling billing issues
  • Emergency tips for when jobs go off the rails

Get the inside scoop from a true insider. You’ll finish this class knowing how to construct a profitable photo retouching business model AND develop the tools to sustain it.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • I'm a photographer who wants to be as good at Photoshop as possible. In my field few retouchers get hired, so it's all on me. Plus my creative vision cannot be accomplished by photography alone. Not to mention that in the field, as a photographer I can't always be perfect. Photoshop to the rescue. This is possibly THE best class I've purchased on Creative Live, and they've all been good. Great insight, entertaining, well taught Lisa and Simon were awesome. Bought more LC tutorials based on this course.
  • This course just opened my world. I started ( back in the Jurassic era) as an illustrator/drafter ( pen and ink), then CAD programmer, then GIS analyst with photoshop just coming onto the scene then...got pregnant and unplugged focusing on parenting and my inner artist. I was gifted an IPad 6 years ago in the mist of my Taxi Mom years. My favorite ‘hobby’ became manipulating images and an addiction to Adobe apps. Now, In my new empty nest status, I have been trying to figure out my next direction in life....and CreativeLive has been a wonderful resource to explore different creative opportunities, feeling somewhere between photography and graphic design, I wanted to ‘paint’ photos with my tool of choice the tablet, not the camera. ...but it wasn’t until this course that I clicked with an Aha! I don’t have to become an photographer? I could get paid to retouch? Other people’s photos?.....and, I have a work history skill set that backs it up! Thank you so much for this course! Loved the instructors and how they shared their experiences and knowledge. You two have just provided a wonderful map and whole new path to explore and inspired a much needed creative spark to get back to work❤️. Thank You!
  • Lisa knocked it out of the ball park again! Amazing work Lisa and Simon! I just can't find the many words that express how much I gain with each and every course she teaches. Once again, a wealth of information that was given in a down to earth manner. I absolutely love her teaching style! Amazing course Lisa and Simon, awesome job!