Forums > Photography Talk > Please share your opinion

Retoucher

ChristinaYu

Posts: 73

Haifa, Haifa, Israel

What can make you to decide to hire a retoucher?
Who would you pick up from the masses? By what criteria?
And what things can make you piss off straight away?
Thank's for sharing)

May 19 13 09:42 am Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8789

Seattle, Washington, US

ChristinaYu wrote:
What can make you to decide to hire a retoucher?
Who would you pick up from the masses? By what criteria?
And what things can make you piss off straight away?
Thank's for sharing)

if i couldn't achieve my vision, maybe i would hire a retoucher.

but picasso never hired anyone to paint his paintings.

although, thomas kinkade did.

go figure.

May 19 13 09:57 am Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15707

Orlando, Florida, US

If I was hired to deliver 200 finished images and was given a large enough budget, I would farm out the retouching to someone else.  Especially if I was busy and the delivery date was something that I couldn't meet.

But I would never hire a retoucher or graphic artist to finish any of my artistic pieces.  How in the world would they truly know what I have in my head?  And at what point does a work cease to be mine and becomes theirs?

May 19 13 10:05 am Link

Retoucher

ChristinaYu

Posts: 73

Haifa, Haifa, Israel

Good Egg Productions wrote:
And at what point does a work cease to be mine and becomes theirs?

But if you like the retouchers portfolio?

May 19 13 10:31 am Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15707

Orlando, Florida, US

ChristinaYu wrote:

But if you like the retouchers portfolio?

You're missing my point.

I have a vision for my images.  You have a vision for your images.  Let's say I would love to make a model look like a robot, with the body panels and some exposed wiring and joints.  I don't really know how to do that well enough, so I hire you to do it.

Well.... the joints don't look exactly like I'd like them to look and I wanted wires coming out of her neck, but you have them coming out of her waist.  You've still done what I've asked, but it's not my vision. 

So you've taken my image, and created something uniquely yours.  It is no longer my image.  Even if it IS exactly my vision, as an artist just like you, I could not and would not put my name on it since I didn't create it.

I think retouchers have a place in the industry.  Just more so in the commercial part of the industry, rather than the private or artistic sector.

May 19 13 10:44 am Link

Photographer

Vector One Photography

Posts: 2776

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

First I would only hire a retoucher if I thought the image needs to be fixed and it's not something I could handle (I can handle only the simpliest things). I would hire a retoucher if their vision was the same as mine. I like natural looking results so I would find a retoucher that does well in giving me natural looking results. It's the same with a MUA, or even (in the old days) a custom color printer. When I say I want good skin tones, their view of good skin tones as to be the same as mine.

To be brutally honest, I purchased a portrait retouching program so now I would only hire a retoucher if I believed the image needed to be fixed and the program didn't do it.

Edit: I only use the program for my paid work where they want it to look better. For my "artistic" work I shoot film so I never retouch. If digital I only do it to fix the shadow detail.

May 19 13 10:47 am Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8789

Seattle, Washington, US

Vector One Photography wrote:
First I would only hire a retoucher if I thought the image needs to be fixed and it's not something I could handle (I can handle only the simpliest things). I would hire a retoucher if their vision was the same as mine. I like natural looking results so I would find a retoucher that does well in giving me natural looking results. It's the same with a MUA, or even (in the old days) a custom color printer. When I say I want good skin tones, their view of good skin tones as to be the same as mine.

To be brutally honest, I purchased a portrait retouching program so now I would only hire a retoucher if I believed the image needed to be fixed and the program didn't do it.

but i would choose a human making the decisions over a computer when it comes to my artistic vision.

May 19 13 10:52 am Link

Photographer

Chris Macan

Posts: 12795

HAVERTOWN, Pennsylvania, US

I would and have hired retouchers to complete commercial work to specifications in my duties as an advertising agency print production manager.

As an individual artist and photographer I am less likely to do so.
In part because it is my own vision but mostly because the big budget that I have for commercial jobs does not exist for my private work.

Where I'm going with this is what is your target market?
I don't think it is independent artists working on their own work.

I think you want to figure out how to get your services in front of the people who need them and who have the budget to pay for them. (which in my world is usually commercial work and the people hiring are not necessarily photographers)

May 19 13 11:01 am Link

Photographer

Vector One Photography

Posts: 2776

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
but i would choose a human making the decisions over a computer when it comes to my artistic vision.

First, I don't retouch my artist work. But, what's the difference between a person and a program ? If you don't like what they did you either don't except it and tell the person to do it again or change the settings of the program to change the results. It was a person that designed the algorithms that work the program unless someone has perfected AI and didn't tell me.

The bottom line is the only person or thing that makes the final decision on my artistic vision is me.

May 19 13 11:44 am Link

Photographer

Zack Zoll

Posts: 2622

Glens Falls, New York, US

I'm actually dropping photos off to a retoucher tomorrow.  I had some light leaks in my bellows, which resulted in uneven exposure across the frame.  We're both pretty sure it can be fixed, but certainly not by me.

Would I hire a retoucher otherwise?  Sure, but only under some conditions.  I also use 'the portrait software that shall not be mentioned' and it not only results in a very slight loss of image sharpness, but just plain doesn't work with black and white film scans.  So far none of my subjects have noticed, but they're not making giant prints of the images.  If I wanted to make 40x50s of the edited image, I'd hire a retoucher.  Hasn't happened yet, but I'm not opposed to the idea.

I'm also pretty good at drawing, so if I were to use Mark's example and commission an image to be digitally altered in a certain way, I would provide a drawing of what I wanted.  But then again, that would make it a collaborative image, and I really like to own the things that I've created, so I'd probably only hire said retoucher if I was commissioned by a client and wouldn't get sole ownership of the image anyway.

So yeah.  You guys provide a valuable service, and I'm glad you're out there.  But personally, I'm not exactly your target audience.

May 19 13 04:08 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38559

Portland, Oregon, US

Having them respond in a timely manner appears to be an often-overlooked detail.

Does not matter how good you are if you drop the ball in communicating with your clients, or potential clients.

May 19 13 04:12 pm Link

Photographer

Ezhini

Posts: 1601

Wichita, Kansas, US

Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
if i couldn't achieve my vision, maybe i would hire a retoucher.

but picasso never hired anyone to paint his paintings.

although, thomas kinkade did.

go figure.

Kincaid did  ...  So did Rembrandt! Go figure that one tongue

Most of the ones who ran successful studios did, and still do

By narrowing one's visions and market, every aspect of one's craft could be done by one and the same person. Given a set of narrow goals, one could also build one's own sensors and cameras, batteries, cords and lenses and shoot with self-built gear - as did the real(!?) artists of the past who used to make their own bruhes, mixed their own paints and streched their own canvases!

In the modern world, they are called one-man operations. Nothing wrong with it though.

Architects and motion picture makers could not practice as one-man operations. How many experts get involved in the process simply depends upon the scale of one's visions and the scale of operations demanded by the media engaged in realizing one's own visions.

May 20 13 09:32 am Link

Photographer

Ezhini

Posts: 1601

Wichita, Kansas, US

OP,

I would hire a retoucher (I have in the past):

1. When I have the volume of work that requires more than 24 hours in a day for me to do all the work

2. Like a good editor for a writer, if the retoucher could understand and work with my vision.

3. If reasonably priced - reasonable for an agreement between me and the retoucher.

4. if timely on deivery per agreement.

May 20 13 09:36 am Link