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Retoucher
ChristinaYu
Posts: 72
Haifa, Haifa, Israel


Hi guys!
I would like to discuss the material side of the business… in particular – retouching.
I’m retouching about 3 years, and having time to time some extra money from it, you know to buy milk and vegetables in grocery smile
I love what I’m doing, but the question is, if professional retoucher does really make money from that? To pay bills, to travel abroad, to buy a car etc.
Thanks’ for your replies
May 02 13 01:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,233
Duluth, Georgia, US


ChristinaYu wrote:
Hi gays!
I would like to discuss the material side of the business… in particular – retouching.
I’m retouching about 3 years, and having time to time some extra money from it, you know to buy milk and vegetables in grocery smile
I love what I’m doing, but the question is, if professional retoucher does really make money from that? To pay bills, to travel abroad, to buy a car etc.
Thanks’ for your replies

if money doesn't get dropped down to your floors, that means you are not good enough yet. on the other hand, how many billionaires got their billions from photo retouching business? so the question becomes whether or not you do it for money or for pleasure.

May 02 13 01:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Will Snizek Photography
Posts: 1,387
Beckley, West Virginia, US


Depends on your market I guess.  In most cases I'd say no.  Most photographers are proficient in photo editing.
May 02 13 01:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Krunoslav Stifter
Posts: 3,850
Santa Cruz, California, US


ChristinaYu wrote:
Hi gays!
I would like to discuss the material side of the business… in particular – retouching.
I’m retouching about 3 years, and having time to time some extra money from it, you know to buy milk and vegetables in grocery smile
I love what I’m doing, but the question is, if professional retoucher does really make money from that? To pay bills, to travel abroad, to buy a car etc.
Thanks’ for your replies

Don't think of yourself as a pro retoucher since you are not one. You are professional freelance retoucher and that seems to be the key to your problem. Being a freelancer means you have to do 5-6 jobs, plus retouching off course. Pricing, networking, marketing, accounting etc. All that is something you should invest in as much as you do on retouching if not more.

But I guess it depends on what you mean by rich. For what you just explained yes, absolutely, but it requires more than retouching. For start it requires a businesses mindset. So you can properly market your work. It requires networking with the right people so your get the right opertunites. Quality of your work should probably go up as well, but it means little if you can't market it properly. Being an author of educational material and teaching one-on-one or doing workshops can boost your income, exposure and improve networking as well. Provide social proof and establish you as an expert in your field.

That being said. Passion for retouching aside. If you are really looking to get rich, than freelancing is not ideal since you can't leverage it and scale it as much as you can a business being an entrepreneur. Although smart freelancers are actually hybrids as I suggested earlier. But if the money you are after than entrepreneurial efforts are required all the way.

Only reason why would somebody want to be a freelancer and not a entrepreneur is if they love the craft more than they love making money. Because in the pure money making contest entrepreneur wins every time. Although according to what you wrote is seems like you really love retouching but you are missing the skills to make it financially sustainable and profitable. So that is what I would suggest you work on. Marketing, networking and teaching at some capacity at least to secure more income and expand your businesses. Good quality in retouching goes without saying off course, that is a must either way, but alone it's often isn't enough.

May 02 13 01:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotopia
Posts: 1,095
Atlanta, Georgia, US


As your stated goal seems to be to "get rich," you should pursue more tradtional ways of getting there, such as banking, law, medicine, and arms dealing.

Any rich reoucher would have to have been rich to start with.
May 02 13 01:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
trippy lechat
Posts: 202
Atlanta, Georgia, US


find 3 or 4 really good retouchers that you have on call
and the same number that are proficient on after effects and final cut
then go out and find jobs for them to do and add on 20 -30% for being the agent
then you might make some money
just a thought
cheers
May 02 13 02:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leonard Gee Photography
Posts: 16,150
Sacramento, California, US


Once, I was told by a friend that "I don't have any money". By that, it meant he couldn't go to South Africa for a vacation. I told him, when some people say "I don't have any money", they wonder what they can eat for supper. There is a difference.

Yes, there are jobs with lots of money, usually for the very skilled with great eyes and vision. They can buy houses, boats and winter in the Keys. Then there are the jobs that pay the utilities and put food on the table. The jobs exist. Getting from one kind of job to the other is the question.
May 02 13 03:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chuckarelei
Posts: 9,392
Seattle, Washington, US


ChristinaYu wrote:
Is it possible to become rich by retouching?

Anything is possible. But is it probable?

Or do you know of any rich person who made it in retouching?

Or did you mean Is it possible to make good money by retouching? Yes, but you have to be real good, and real lucky, knowing the right people,at the right time, the right place.

Luck-connection-talent;  with that order in the real world.

May 02 13 03:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ms-photo
Posts: 489
Portland, Oregon, US


You're going to be competing with retouchers who live in other countries.  These countries will have wages much, much lower than first world countries.  Think Vietnam, India, Russia, etc.  There's no way you will ever become rich competing against these markets.
May 02 13 03:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Incubus Imagery
Posts: 562
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada


Leonard Gee Photography wrote:
Yes, there are jobs with lots of money, usually for the very skilled with great eyes and vision. They can buy houses, boats and winter in the Keys. Then there are the jobs that pay the utilities and put food on the table. The jobs exist. Getting from one kind of job to the other is the question.

The very best in any line of work do well for themselves. The next to very best can make a living at it. From that point down we are known as starving artists.

May 02 13 03:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
The Invisible Touch
Posts: 709
Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain


Doing what you love!!

You are your own boss!!

You choose what you do!!

You make all the decisions!!

Your own schedule!!

It's all about you!! Don't you feel rich enough??

Money isn't everything in this world! :-)
May 02 13 03:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sidney_k
Posts: 874
Paris, Île-de-France, France


ChristinaYu wrote:
Hi gays!
I would like to discuss the material side of the business… in particular – retouching.
I’m retouching about 3 years, and having time to time some extra money from it, you know to buy milk and vegetables in grocery smile
I love what I’m doing, but the question is, if professional retoucher does really make money from that? To pay bills, to travel abroad, to buy a car etc.
Thanks’ for your replies

Some people get rich selling milk and vegetables.
Up to you, if you want to pursue money, or your passion.

Be very good at what you are doing, meet the right people.
Chances are everywhere.

May 02 13 03:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


ChristinaYu wrote:
Hi gays!

Well, I think that might be a little presumptuous lol.

As for the answer to your question...Never chase the money.

May 02 13 03:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Don Olson Imagery
Posts: 291
Eugene, Oregon, US


Get rich at retouching? Sorry, not very likely. As an example I typically do my own but if I'm backed up I live in a university town and both the university and community college have excellent classes and tons of students (liberal arts area). One or two phone calls and I can have many students to pick from.

Saying that there is a lack of really fine retouchers/printers. People that offer high end retouching and printing both. I've used them in the past with special projects I wasn't able to do myself and they were worth every penny.

You might think of broadening your horizons. Yes it would mean investing in more equipment (dedicated black & white as well as dedicated color) and knowledge skill sets but you would be more marketable.

Here's one of the better ones

http://ctein.com/
May 02 13 04:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
The Invisible Touch
Posts: 709
Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain


Don Olson Imagery wrote:
Get rich at retouching? Sorry, not very likely. As an example I typically do my own but if I'm backed up I live in a university town and both the university and community college have excellent classes and tons of students (liberal arts area). One or two phone calls and I can have many students to pick from.

Saying that there is a lack of really fine retouchers/printers. People that offer high end retouching and printing both. I've used them in the past with special projects I wasn't able to do myself and they were worth every penny.

You might think of broadening your horizons. Yes it would mean investing in more equipment (dedicated black & white as well as dedicated color) and knowledge skill sets but you would be more marketable.

Here's one of the better ones

http://ctein.com/

Are you serious?? What's got to do retouching with printing... is like talking about painting and football... two very different subjects!!

With all my respects, the website above isn't up to the industry standards.. at least in my eyes!!

May 02 13 04:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Kristiana-Retouch
Posts: 289
London, England, United Kingdom


Yes - you can get rich in anything you do if you are hard working, happen to be in right time in right place, have great community skills, marketing etc.
May 03 13 05:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Model Starr Photography
Posts: 527
Madison, Alabama, US


You're probably gonna have to move to market where retouching is in demand as wellas becoming (not really good, but) great at it. And be lucky and be persistent and be willing to out work and hustle whoever your competitors are. And get a staff (because very few people get rich in a bubble by themselves, there just aren't enough hours in the day to generate wealth all by yourself). Good luck.
May 03 13 05:34 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Natalia_Taffarel
Posts: 7,665
Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina


M Pandolfo Photography wrote:
As for the answer to your question...Never chase the money.

That first and foremost and...

"Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those that are already doing it"

smile

May 03 13 06:16 am  Link  Quote 
Digital Artist
Anthony Bryan
Posts: 40
London, England, United Kingdom


I think it depends on where you live. I live in London and getting rich from just retouching i would have to earn a stupid amount of money. My income comes half from retouching images and the 2nd half is selling prints that i've created... Im still skint lol... but i love being my own boss.
May 03 13 06:50 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Alyssa June Retouch
Posts: 162
Denver, Colorado, US


Krunoslav-Stifter wrote:

Don't think of yourself as a pro retoucher since you are not one. You are professional freelance retoucher and that seems to be the key to your problem. Being a freelancer means you have to do 5-6 jobs, plus retouching off course. Pricing, networking, marketing, accounting etc. All that is something you should invest in as much as you do on retouching if not more.

But I guess it depends on what you mean by rich. For what you just explained yes, absolutely, but it requires more than retouching. For start it requires a businesses mindset. So you can properly market your work. It requires networking with the right people so your get the right opertunites. Quality of your work should probably go up as well, but it means little if you can't market it properly. Being an author of educational material and teaching one-on-one or doing workshops can boost your income, exposure and improve networking as well. Provide social proof and establish you as an expert in your field.

That being said. Passion for retouching aside. If you are really looking to get rich, than freelancing is not ideal since you can't leverage it and scale it as much as you can a business being an entrepreneur. Although smart freelancers are actually hybrids as I suggested earlier. But if the money you are after than entrepreneurial efforts are required all the way.

Only reason why would somebody want to be a freelancer and not a entrepreneur is if they love the craft more than they love making money. Because in the pure money making contest entrepreneur wins every time. Although according to what you wrote is seems like you really love retouching but you are missing the skills to make it financially sustainable and profitable. So that is what I would suggest you work on. Marketing, networking and teaching at some capacity at least to secure more income and expand your businesses. Good quality in retouching goes without saying off course, that is a must either way, but alone it's often isn't enough.

Great reply! I could use this advice as well! smile

May 03 13 07:32 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Alyssa June Retouch
Posts: 162
Denver, Colorado, US


Natalia_Taffarel wrote:

That first and foremost and...

"Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those that are already doing it"

smile

Yes!

May 03 13 07:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jerry Nemeth
Posts: 27,480
Dearborn, Michigan, US


Natalia_Taffarel wrote:

That first and foremost and...

"Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those that are already doing it"

smile

+1

May 03 13 07:37 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Alyssa June Retouch
Posts: 162
Denver, Colorado, US


Lots of great responses here.

Rich has different definitions to each person, find out what it means to you.

If YOU believe you can and you are willing to put the time and effort into it anything is possible.
Everyone will have their own opinions of what they think will work and wont and its ok to see what others think just as long as you don't let any negativity stand in your way of pursuing what YOU believe is possible.

I've struggled for many years working crappy, low paying jobs wondering around not knowing what I wanted to do with my self and then,  I found it.
If this is truly what you love doing and what will make you happy, making money, don't give up until you have it!

I'm not there yet but I will be and I know it won't get handed to me but i believe in my self and you should too!
All in do time...
May 03 13 07:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Smedley Whiplash
Posts: 17,303
Billings, Montana, US


If your name is Pascal Dangin, then yes.  For everybody else, no.  smile
May 03 13 08:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Downtown Pro Photo
Posts: 1,548
Crystal Lake, Illinois, US


I suppose if you can retouch some super rich people willing to protect their reputation at any cost into compromising situations incredibly realistically, and be able to convince them that all of this happened while they were too wasted to remember any of it..... then maybe.
May 03 13 10:52 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Greg Curran
Posts: 204
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


ChristinaYu wrote:
Hi guys!
I would like to discuss the material side of the business… in particular – retouching.
I’m retouching about 3 years, and having time to time some extra money from it, you know to buy milk and vegetables in grocery smile
I love what I’m doing, but the question is, if professional retoucher does really make money from that? To pay bills, to travel abroad, to buy a car etc.
Thanks’ for your replies

nope

May 03 13 11:17 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Greg Curran
Posts: 204
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


at least not in my case
May 03 13 11:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,233
Duluth, Georgia, US


If your goal is to become loaded with money, all you need to do is to read IRS Form 1040, including all its associated forms, and its Publications carefully because it reveals to you precisely how the system works, and what the orthodoxy way to achieve your goal is.

Hint 1: Long-term dividends taxed at ZERO percent, yes zip, nada, tax rate. 

Hint 2: salaried or "earned" income (by labor) taxed at maximum marginal tax rate.

EDIT: never mind. just found out your not an AmeriKan.
May 03 13 11:39 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FeatheredPixels
Posts: 327
Port of Spain, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago


https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/262563_4398862144305_1096352869_n.jpg
LOL did anyone notice this went from "hi guys" to "hi gays" O.o
May 03 13 11:48 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FeatheredPixels
Posts: 327
Port of Spain, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago


ChristinaYu wrote:
Hi guys!
I would like to discuss the material side of the business… in particular – retouching.
I’m retouching about 3 years, and having time to time some extra money from it, you know to buy milk and vegetables in grocery smile
I love what I’m doing, but the question is, if professional retoucher does really make money from that? To pay bills, to travel abroad, to buy a car etc.
Thanks’ for your replies

believe that you are already rich... and you would get richer wink

May 03 13 11:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Steve Reganato
Posts: 1,680
New York, New York, US


There is one retoucher that I know of that became wealthy doing that and his name is Pascal Dangone. He owns Box studios in NYC. He has a beautiful apartment in the city, a house in the Hamptons and an Aston Martin. Box studios is a large retouching house that deals with all the major magazines and ad agencies. Pascals name is mentioned in "The Devil Wears Prada" as a go to fix it guy.
You can read about Pascal here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008 … ct_collins
May 03 13 12:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,233
Duluth, Georgia, US


FeatheredPixels wrote:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/262563_4398862144305_1096352869_n.jpg
LOL did anyone notice this went from "hi guys" to "hi gays" O.o

Perhaps the OP modified it after I was typing my response. Nothing particular.

May 03 13 12:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,233
Duluth, Georgia, US


Steve Reganato wrote:
There is one retoucher that I know of that became wealthy doing that and his name is Pascal Dangone. He owns Box studios in NYC. He has a beautiful apartment in the city, a house in the Hamptons and an Aston Martin. Box studios is a large retouching house that deals with all the major magazines and ad agencies. Pascals name is mentioned in "The Devil Wears Prada" as a go to fix it guy.
You can read about Pascal here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008 … ct_collins

That could be but he does video color grading too.

May 03 13 12:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Click Hamilton
Posts: 34,386
San Diego, California, US


ChristinaYu wrote:
Is it possible to become rich by retouching?

I think it's possible for retouchers to do well, particularly when they are living in countries that have a low cost of living in comparison to countries where they sell their services.

In this day in age, I think it's very wise to consider building our businesses on the Internet, selling our products and services in the richest countries with the strongest currencies, and living in beautiful places where the lifestyle is good and the costs of living are very low.

The answer to your question also involves cultivating good clients with lots of regular repeat business, and who have money to spend for commercial services.

May 03 13 12:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Greg Curran
Posts: 204
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Steve Reganato wrote:
There is one retoucher that I know of that became wealthy doing that and his name is Pascal Dangone. He owns Box studios in NYC. He has a beautiful apartment in the city, a house in the Hamptons and an Aston Martin. Box studios is a large retouching house that deals with all the major magazines and ad agencies. Pascals name is mentioned in "The Devil Wears Prada" as a go to fix it guy.
You can read about Pascal here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008 … ct_collins

so one in how many million of us that retouch for a living, good odds.

May 03 13 01:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Steve Reganato
Posts: 1,680
New York, New York, US


Gulag wrote:

That could be but he does video color grading too.

Indeed, that's how he's responded to changes in the times. And to be honest, that would be a logical next step for someone in his position. Right now video is a growing market and Dangone, a guy who seems to have an innate understanding of the idea of adaption to changes in his marketplace has responded to that. That's why he's the success that he is. Something we all could learn from. For one thing, if you are a retoucher perhaps learning to video edit and/or do color grading and timing may not be a bad idea. It will open you to new market possibilities and add additional income opportunities. The more services you can offer a wider group of customers, the more opportunities you have to make money. That's not to say one has to give up retouching, but in my opinion if you want to get rich from behind the screen, then you need to be a bit more diversified.

May 03 13 02:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bravo Magic Images
Posts: 765
Temple City, California, US


The majority of photographers here do their own editing and retouching seems a waist to hire some one that has the same skills as you. I think if you apply to get work for or private sectors you might get lucky. Good luck
May 03 13 02:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,233
Duluth, Georgia, US


Steve Reganato wrote:
Indeed, that's how he's responded to changes in the times. And to be honest, that would be a logical next step for someone in his position. Right now video is a growing market and Dangone, a guy who seems to have an innate understanding of the idea of adaption to changes in his marketplace has responded to that. That's why he's the success that he is. Something we all could learn from. For one thing, if you are a retoucher perhaps learning to video edit and/or do color grading and timing may not be a bad idea. It will open you to new market possibilities and add additional income opportunities. The more services you can offer a wider group of customers, the more opportunities you have to make money. That's not to say one has to give up retouching, but in my opinion if you want to get rich from behind the screen, then you need to be a bit more diversified.

His diversification of his business and skillset into video color grading basically says his still image retouching revenue's been on decline.  Unlike most other professional retouchers who make some money from "instructional" DVDs/workshops, he has to bump the revenue up somewhere else. Plain and simple.

May 03 13 02:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Natalia_Taffarel
Posts: 7,665
Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Greg Curran wrote:

so one in how many million of us that retouch for a living, good odds.

Actually... I know plenty retouchers who make a great living just retouching.

now... as for your comment:

How many illustrators/photographers/designers/painters/musicians/writers out of millions actually make a living out of it? wink

It's a creative endeavor, it kind of works like that. If it didn't, every writer would be Hemingway

May 03 13 02:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Steve Reganato
Posts: 1,680
New York, New York, US


Gulag wrote:
His diversification of his business and skillset into video color grading basically says his still image retouching revenue's been on decline.  Unlike most other professional retouchers who make some money from "instructional" DVDs/workshops, he has to bump the revenue up somewhere else. Plain and simple.

Of course. Considering that there are now many, many more retouchers on the scene now, many of whom are quite good, including (and especially) those who are his former employees it's natural that he might see a decline in his retouching revenue. On the other hand just because he's gone into color grading doesn't mean that his retouching business is on the decline. Is the fact that he's gone into color grading necessarily evidence that his retouching business is on the decline? How do we know that Pascal is first and foremost a smart business man who sees new opportunities arising and is positioning himself to take advantage of those opportunities. Take a look at what's going on. Right now you're got a rise in the demand for motion work. You've got "fashion films" and video editorials, which are new as well as TV commercials, music videos and movies and so on. There's a lot happening there and it's growing, so any smart business person would see that and say I have add this capability to my list of services. But just because he's doing one thing now doesn't necessarily mean he's losing the other. I'm not saying he's not, like I said, none of us here I'm pretty sure have gone through his books lately, I'm just offering another point of view. The presence of one thing does not necessitate the advent of the other. That's my logic.

May 03 13 03:14 pm  Link  Quote 
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