No. Not right.
The Story of Brian the photographer.
Let me tell you the story of Brian the photographer. Brian asked how much I want for a picture, and then asked if he could pay less than that. My reaction: Okay, I’ll just spend less time on your pictures, as long as I don’t have to work for less than my hourly rate I don’t mind really. – Notice the problem? I didn’t see it at the time, starting your own business is a learning curve, but he doesn’t want to pay for quality. I didn’t earn less money because he paid less/picture, that’s not what it’s about. His attitude is the problem. – He gave me a few shots to edit and was very happy with the results. – sounds good, right? But then it all went wrong, you see, I sent the man my invoice, and a few days later I received this email.
Basically, what he’s asking here is if I could do him a favour and either give up some of my spare time – and as a business owner I don’t have a lot of it, so I don’t want to spend it in front of my computer – or earn less money. I mailed him back and explained that I am running a business and that TF (Time for print/cd) doesn’t pay the bills. I told him that it would be like going to a restaurant and asking for a free meal. (I’d be eating all day if that worked!) He never paid my invoice. Lesson learned the hard way.
But you are too expensive!
For some people I probably am, yes. The thing is though, I spend all day in front of a screen making sure that your pictures are perfect and your clients happy. My eyes get red, tired and start hurting – I’m crying as we speak, I’m in the middle of editing 90 shots for a lookbook – I have to concentrate for hours and hours, and I will always reply to your mails within a few hours – yes, even at 3am. A lot of pictures and projects take 6 hours and in some cases days of retouching, I don’t just sit here pushing buttons, it really is not that simple. Give 10 retouchers the same picture and you’ll get 10 completely different results because they will each have their own vision of how the picture should look.
So if you pay a an awful lot of money for an iPhone “because the quality is great!” … Why wouldn’t you spend money on the person that comes in after you’ve done your shoot and works really hard to make sure that your pictures turn out the way you want them to turn out? You can find retouchers that work for cheap all over the internet, surely there is a reason your mail asking about retouching rates is in my inbox and not in theirs?
Oh hang on…
It’s not just me, this happens to a lot of great retouchers and photographers (and other creatives). Maybe it’s because people have no idea how much work retouching really is if you want to do it the right way. Maybe it’s because people will always try to get things for free if given the chance – Musicians will know what I’m on about here, why would you buy a cd if you can download it for free, right? – The answer isn’t that hard to find: RESPECT. The internet has opened a new world, and respect is something that’s often missing, from expecting to get everything for free, to internet bullying, to stealing images and not asking the owner’s permission.
Laura Abigail went on the internet and found…
A while ago I was browsing Tumblr and came across a video. I usually only post my own work on my Tumblr blog, but I just had to share this. Someone on the other side of my internet is making a website where people can go and find a professional retoucher. It’ll hopefully be a place where photographers don’t go and expect to find a cheap retoucher but a good one. And yes, I’m very much looking forward to such a place. I can only hope this website works out and I wish the person that’s making it all the best. I’ll be on there the moment it launches! www.findretoucher.com
Why to hire a PRO retoucher (Seriously, go watch it!)
On a personal note.
I hope everyone had a great start of the year. I’m going to try to completely replace my portfolio with a brand new one this year, so hopefully a lot of shooting will be going on in between my retouching and television gigs.
Much love, (Except for Brian)