Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > What to do when there's nothing you can do?

Retoucher

Laura EB

Posts: 65

Rochester, New York, US

On a few occasions I've had potential clients send me images asking for a retouch that unfortunately were far too low quality, photographically speaking, for me to really do anything with.  I don't mind retouching images for people who are not professional, heck a lot of my photography isn't pro work, however what do you do when you really feel there isn't any point in retouching because the picture in itself just isn't good? 

I don't want to be rude and flat out tell them there's nothing I can do and to save their money but I feel awkward just ignoring them after giving rates and telling them to send me previews.

I'm guessing other people have had this problem on occasion, how do you handle it without offending people or seeming like a jerk :p

Apr 19 13 09:48 am Link

Retoucher

Peano

Posts: 4106

Lynchburg, Virginia, US

Laura Bello wrote:
I don't want to be rude and flat out tell them there's nothing I can do and to save their money but I feel awkward just ignoring them after giving rates and telling them to send me previews.

Don't just ignore them. It isn't rude to tell someone that an image is beyond saving. I've done it a number of times.

Since there are always technical reasons why an image can't be saved, I explain those. If important highlights (like faces) are totally blown and it's a jpeg, I explain that there's no remaining image data in those pixels, only pure white, and therefore nothing to recover. Same for blocked (0.0.0) shadows. If noise is so heavy that NR would wipe out all image details, I show them a little sample so they can see the loss.

And so on. Just explain why the image can't be fixed.

Apr 19 13 10:07 am Link

Photographer

KonstantKarma

Posts: 2513

Hickory, North Carolina, US

As the photographer, I would want to know what I did that rendered the images useless and how to do better.

Apr 19 13 10:13 am Link

Retoucher

Kristiana-Retouch

Posts: 289

London, England, United Kingdom

I usually turn it in way - maybe it's not worth spending your money on that, because it is -and Peano mentioned technical reasons- so it won't look how you want it at the end or something like that

Apr 20 13 03:53 am Link

Retoucher

Zorka

Posts: 193

Belgrade, Central Serbia, Serbia

Unfortunately (and, of course, from my personal experience), vast majority of photographers are too vain - they rather want to hear false praises than honest and constructive criticism.

However, I don't (and I never-ever wouldn't) lie them in order to get a few extra bucks, so the honesty and constructive criticism are always a way to go.

In other words, my motto is:

"Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime."

And if somebody doesn't want to learn to fish... well, their stomach will growl, not mine! smile

Apr 20 13 10:57 am Link