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Business & Promotion

Lesson 50 from: The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

Lisa Carney, Simon Peter Raible

Business & Promotion

Lesson 50 from: The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

Lisa Carney, Simon Peter Raible

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Lesson Info

50. Business & Promotion


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Who Should Be a Retoucher?


Genres of Retouching


Comp vs Finish


Lisa's Path to Retouching


Simon's Path to Retouching


Establishing a Look


Who is The Client?


Lesson Info

Business & Promotion

So first of all I'd like to suggest that you separate out your divisions of genres. I might have phrased that a little strange but what I mean is if you're a car retoucher and a beauty retoucher and a product producer and a animator, separate them. I was told this in art school, I can remember my 4th term review at Art Center for photography, and I like to do a lotta stuff, so I had product, I had fashion, I had portraits, and they bombed me on my portfolio review. They tanked me, and they said this is terrible. I said why is it terrible? And they said because we don't know what you're gonna give me if we hire you. We have no idea. You're all over the map. And I thought well I'm versatile! What are you talking about? I'm fantastic. I didn't think that, but you know what I mean. I thought wow. And they're like no, we don't understand you. And I was like, ah, separate books. Separate out your work. Now I'm not suggesting you have separate websites. But maybe you do. Maybe you do have sep...

arate websites. I do book covers. I don't put my book covers on my finishing. There's kind of this notion that book covers are a little less-than, perhaps. So I don't put it on my finishing work. So, separate out your genres. Before and afters. Should you or shouldn't you? Not anymore. Heck no. Mm mm. No before and afters. I will show an exception, I'd love to show an exception on before and afters. So, for the question of the viewer asking about can you show your work, part of the reason people don't want you to show the work is they don't want the befores out there. Imagine Photographer A is hiring me to make his work, her work look fantastic, and I'm out there showing the work looking less than fantastic and saying, "Oh, that schmo photographer couldn't pull it off, they needed me." Uh uh. You do not bite the hand that feeds you. Do not show before and afters. I'm gonna show you an exception, and the exception I'm gonna show you is so beautifully done, because the photography looks great, and it's more of an environmental change, or a structural change, not the photographer blew the job and you're fixing it. You used to be able to get away with before and afters and like the scrimiest ones, too. Mm hmm. And take before-- Scrimiest ones. Before the retouchin' and then show how elegant you can make 'em look, but this is 10, 15 years ago, and the internet wasn't what it is today. So, back in the day it was a different realm. Yeah. Celebrity, dear heavens, no. You don't ever, you put a before of a celebrity out-- Can't do that. You will not work in town ever again. (laughs) End of story. Yeah. And it shouldn't be done. And again because you're showing the hiney of the person who's hiring you. It's just bad form. So people who look at my portfolio online or whatnot, you know what they know? I'm not gonna show their hiney either. It builds trust. So, I would just suggest not, other than what I'm gonna show you. And then we're gonna talk about some social media and how we use social media or don't use social media to promote our work. And then I'm gonna take a second to talk about new clients versus existing clients. And I'd like to admit to something here that I do, I have a problem with. He does not have this problem. So, in (laughs) I'm jealous, frankly, I'm totally jealous about this. All right, I have this thing that, there's ebb and flow to work, and when work gets slow, I'll have dry periods, I start freaking out. But including in freaking out, I feel like a, bad word, I feel like somebody who's not very talented. When I have to reach out by email and say hey, I'm available for work. I feel like a heel. I just feel like I'm a loser. And I had, I hope this is not sexist to say, but I'm gonna say it because I think it rang true. I had a gal in our industry say, "Honey, you need to do it like a dude." And I'm like, "What are you talking about?" And she goes, "Guys'll just send an email, say hey, what's up, hey, I'm lookin' for work, how you doin'?" No backstory, no, "Oh, it's been a little slow, ooh, I hate to, ooh, you (mumbles)." Just, "Hey." And I thought you know what, yeah, do it like a dude. I'm offended. Oh, I know. Someone out there might be offended. Anyway, and I really have to admit this, so I have an issue with new clients versus existing clients. I have a very easy time reaching out to get new clients. I feel very awkward reaching backwards, and I struggle with this. Isn't that interesting? And I'm gonna save you, tell you what saved my cookies on this, which is very odd. Education. And what I mean by that is I'm an educator, I like to educate. I like to write blog posts about what's going on in Photoshop, what's new. I send that to my clients. Isn't that interesting? So education, even though it's, pay-wise it's nothing near what I make in my other world, it actually helps me because it's a vehicle for me to say something, to say, "Hey, how you doin'. Hey, did you see about that new select subject in Photoshop? It's amazing. How you doin'?" That is how it helps me. And I'm not saying you guys need to do that, I'm just saying I have a handicap and this is how I get around it. He has no, you have no problems. No, there was, a couple times I got hired they call permalance, so you're a freelance but you're there every day, just come in Monday at nine and leave at Friday at five. And I did this at a big studio for years. Three, four years at a clip. So, for four years, folks were callin' me up for work and I was busy, I was booked, pretty much you know, 365 times four. Things went, somethin' happened at the studio and all of a sudden they went through the books and they're like, "Okay, you have to trim your budget a little bit here, there." And they were like, "Okay, it's over, don't come in on Monday, we're gonna give a little rest period, and then we'll give you a call when things get busy up." And it was at the end of the year, Christmas comin' up, my taxes were due, and I was like, "Okay, so no one's been callin' me for two years for sure," and I just went and I just did a bunch of emails. I was like, "Okay, that whole thing at the studio is over, I'm available. And within three or four hours, I was booked up for a number of months. And it's just as simple as, "Hey, how you doin'," signed, Raible. And even if you get a lunch, you might get four lunches out of it, no work, but there's gonna be a bit of work. The other thing that happens is now you go in their brain, too. So they might not have anything right now, but in two weeks from now, they were like, "We need someone. Oh, I just got that email." And I'll be the first one on their thought. So, yeah, just keep stayin' in touch. Yeah. So for outreach, this is really, it's outta sight, outta mind. 100%. So when I moved to France, I made sure I came back twice a year and I made the rounds, because I didn't want people to forget about me, and frankly, people just said, "Oh, I forgot about you." It's nothin' personal, they just forget that you're available, or that, well that you exist, frankly, truth be told. And you get in with your retouching friends. So when you came back-- 100%. You were gone for three, four years, but she calls up me, she calls up all the retouchers in town, like, oh man, Lisa's back. So now I've heard from Lisa last. I get three jobs, I take two of 'em, I can't do the third, and I was like, "You oughtta call Lisa." That went on times six or seven retouchers. And then she's back in the mix. All right, I'm gonna tell you the real story about that, 'cause you are sugar-coatin' that. I came back from France, it wasn't pretty, I didn't come back in a good state. I was broke and life had taken a turn. It was a turn. I'm gonna get teary about this, it was so sweet. I remember talkin' to you and saying, "Oh, I haven't had any work, I'm really in trouble." And you turned around and you said, "Well I just got a job call, here." And you gave it to me, and that was really great. Sorry for gettin' emotional about it, but that's what your network does, you know. Your network, I told you us retouchers we're kinda freaky. We stick together, and if you reach out, that's a good suggestion, you just reach out to your network, and you'll get work. You remember that? Yeah, I remember that. It was good, you're so cute. So we're havin' a big old dinner, our first retouchers-only dinner at the house. And it's, this all bring it up, she's like, "We should have a dinner, just have nothin' but retouchers." So, I think it's-- Next week, yeah. Next week. So, retouchers dinner, get, when you have a network, make a network, like no kidding. Make a network. Yeah. Invite 'em over for dinner. And I wanna move on 'cause I don't wanna skip some stuff here. The other thing about the client outreach that I think is a awesome thing is when you see the work out there, that's when you call 'em. "Hey, I saw that bus shelter, it went by, look awesome. Were you happy with it?" Because I think we only reach out to our clients when we're getting, we want the check, where's the check, do you have any work? How about, "Job well done." How about, "Thanks for calling, it was so exciting to see that work out there, that was really cool." And they like it, because you're patting them on the back as well. So, it's a good thing.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

File Naming Convention Sample
Estimate Worksheet Form
Finishing Delivery Example
File Naming Convention Explanation
Worksheet & Billing Checklist
Solar Curves Action

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor
Alien Skin Software Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews

Bill Buckley

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.

Kari A. Youkey

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 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!

a Creativelive Student

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!

Student Work