All posts tagged workflow

How to Tell Your Client You Won’t Do Extensive Photoshop Work for Free

No Photoshop Work for Free

Your client comes to you with a Photoshop request — or maybe a long list of them. They go far beyond what you normally do in your retouching process when you send their products off to print. How do you tell them that you will have to charge an additional fee without sounding like a jerk?

(PS – We are going to assume that if your photo is blue like the one above, you’re going to work on getting better colors in camera before you even take the photo, and that you’ll fix that for free before you show your client the proofs. M’kay?)

Setting the Your Prices & Your Scope

First of all, back when you set your prices for your products, you should have taken in to consideration the time involved in creating your products as part of the price. (Haven’t done this? Get your hands on Jamie of The Modern Tog’s Pricing Guide Workbook or Joy Vertz’s videos & course on pricing!)

In that process, you have to define your scope of what retouching you will do. For example, my printing includes minor skin smoothing – blemishes, cellulite – and retouching of indentation caused by wardrobe. Sometimes I have a client do a pose that looks amazing, but it causes a minor wardrobe glitch so I’ll retouch those. For wedding photography, I would remove those annoying white strings that are on dresses to help hang them on hangers, and “arm cleavage” from strapless dresses.

I will not do complete body reshaping. Women are beautiful as they are to me, and I won’t make them something that they are not. However, maybe that is your thing? So you make sure your pricing includes time for an hour of editing per photograph. Whatever you want to do? Make sure you have defined what your normal is for your work.

Setting Client Expectations

I’ll admit that I cringe whenever I hear someone say, “Well, you can fix that in Photoshop!” It isn’t always a quick and easy fix, and I’ll be the first to confess that extensive retouching is not my thing. Not at all.

It still happens though, and I respect the fact that my clients want these photos to be amazing to them because they will be looking at them a lot longer than I will. However, I’ll have to pay my photo editor more for the work because it is outside of our agreed scope as well.

I don’t want to tell them no, but I am going to have to tell them that there will be an additional charge.

Set expectations in advance. I have conversations with my clients before their session about the level of editing that I do. It is represented by the photographs on my website. I cover it again at the end of their session, going over what’s next (we only cull & color correct before their In Person Sales Session). At the In Person Sales meeting, if there is a blemish or something else my client is concerned about, I reassure them that we will take care of it.

Ideally, the additional Photoshop requests will come up in person, but I’ve found that most of the time they don’t come up until they proof their album. While it is a rare situation for me, I have received emails before with 17 different requests of things to do, including complete body reshaping. You know, it happens. Most of my clients aren’t photographers. They don’t know what is easy, and what isn’t. I get the reason for their requests.

How to Handle the Additional Work & Fees

First and foremost, I consider their request. I’ll talk with my photo editor and get an idea from her how long it will take. If it is something she says she can do in 10 minutes? They just spent thousands of dollars with me, I’m not going to ask them to pay for an extra 10 minutes of work.

Sometimes, what they want will take hours. Or it has to be done on 30 images. Whatever the case may be, sometimes? I have to ask them to pay more. Here is the core of what I send to them in response – feel free to save a copy of this in case you ever need it in the future!

My retouching of photos includes (list out here – mine is skin smoothing, and minor liquifying if wardrobe causes skin indents). I am happy to do this additional work as per your request. Retouching like this is more extensive, and there is an additional charge of $75/hour for the editing. This will also delay the delivery of your product by (amount of time).

I estimate it will take (however many hours); this is just an estimate and it may take longer. Please let me know if you would like me to proceed with list of edits that you sent and that you agree to the additional cost.

I sandwich that with pleasantries about how it is great to hear from them. I over estimate on the time, just in case. After all, if I tell them 3 hours and it takes 2? Awesome! If I tell them 2 hours and it takes 5? They probably won’t be so happy about that.

Once you send the email off, wait to hear back from them. They might decide that the edits aren’t worth it to them, or they may change the list.

(If you hate composing emails in tough situations with clients, Jamie of The Moderntog can help you out with that as well with her her Go To Guide for Client Emails.)

I Suck at Photoshop and Can’t Do the Edits They Requested

Aww… I fell your pain! Photoshop? Not my thing. You have a few options here:

  • Learn more about how to retouch. Take a class, get out there & practice. Many learning options are available, including an awesome one from my friend Nino Batista! All the details are at the end of this post.
  • Outsource it. For me? This was the best option. I don’t want to learn more about how to do it because it cuts in to my personal time, which is pretty valuable to me.
  • Tell your client you don’t offer retouching like that. It is ok to say no – but be nice about it!

What Do You Do?

Have you had this request come up before? How did you handle it? Did it work well for you, or do you wish you had done it differently?

PS – In perfect timing, my friend Nino Batista has kicked off Private Retouch Training! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things from friends that have attended his Masterclass workshop around the country, and it is an amazing deal! He is now scheduling for Summer/Fall 2014. Private, live, one on one retouching training in Photoshop via Google+ or Skype, approximately 2 hours of one on one time dedicated to advancing your retouching skills. This is one of his most popular services, and scheduling is limited due to his work, events & travel schedule. So get with him ASAP to book ASAP! A few July, several August & September dates are currently available. Contact him directly to book at 832-458-8954 or via email at — even if your style of photography is completely different, Nino is a retouching master!

Nino Batista Private Retouching Training

Photo Credit – Top of Post, Retouching Example: benoitchampagnephoto via Creative Commons license.

Using Animoto Slideshows in Your Workflow

Using Animoto Slideshows for in-person Sales Sessions

I do exclusively in-person proofing & ordering sessions now for all of my boudoir & glamour clients, which is a huge help for them in selecting the photographs they want to use in their products. We kick off every ordering session with an Animoto slideshow that I make for them, and they are a HUGE hit!

I’ve found that starting with the Animoto slideshow sets the mood for the meeting. They are nervous coming in – that excited sort of nervous, because they are anxious to see the photos. Playing them in a slideshow with some fun & sassy music gives them a chance to see the images before we settle in to make their selections.

The Animoto Pro account has a wide variety of slideshow templates that you can use which are available only to Pro members. Earlier this month, Animoto also announced their partnership with Triple Scoop Music, which means you have thousands of hand-picked, curated, high-quality music options to use in your videos! They have also added the feature of using multiple songs in one video. This isn’t something I’ll need for my Boudoir clients, but it is great for wedding photographers!

One of my favorite parts of using Animoto is that they have handled the music licensing for you! Yes, yes, you can use great music AND be “legal” at the same time. After all, we as photographers want our copyrights to be honored, so we should honor the copyrights of the music artists as well!

Making an Animoto slideshow is SUPER easy! You select the template you want to use, select the music you would like from their extensive licensed music library, upload your images and videos, add any text slides, and BAM! You are done. After previewing the video, I download it in the highest resolution HD that they offer (currently 720p, but 1080p is coming soon) and save it to my hard drive to show my client at the viewing session. For clients that purchase their digital files, I include the slideshow as well on the USB flash drive.

My clients love them, and if you’re not using them you should definitely check them out!

This link to Animoto is my refer-a-friend link, and for a limited time when I refer a friend, you’ll receive 20% off your new Pro subscription purchase – and I’ll get 2 free months added on to my current Plus or Pro subscription. I’ve not been paid for this post, and all opinions are entirely my own – I love using Animoto!

WPPI Show Special for Animoto Pro

At WPPI I had a chance to talk to the Animoto team, and they graciously said I could share the show specials with you here on the blog! If you are a new or upgrading Animoto client, you can use the promo code WPPI13 for $50 off + 2 months free with a new Animoto Pro annual subscription. If you’re a renewing Animoto client, you can use the promo code animotorules for 3 months free with an Animoto Pro annual subscription renewal. Both offers expire on March 24, 2013!

Workflow for RAW files from the Canon 5d mkIII and Lightroom 3

Oh, it was a happy, happy, day at my house when my Canon 5D mkIII arrived. I took it out of the box, popped in a battery, formatted my memory card, set it up to shoot RAW format, and went out to the front yard to test out those 61 focal points of delicious goodness.

When I was all done, I could not WAIT to look at the photos. For well over a year, my 5D mkII had considered focusing an entirely optional thing – causing me to get in the bad habit of overshooting because one frame would be in focus and the very next frame wouldn’t. The magical 5D mkIII was going to FIX all of that for me, and I was simply giddy about it!

Until Lightroom 3 wouldn’t open the RAW files.

It was like they didn’t even exist as far are LR3 was concerned.

WTF?!?!! (Imagine me looking really mad, sad, and considering throwing my computer across the room.)

Of course, I took it to Google, and quickly found my answer. Lightroom 4 came out of beta just before the mkIII was released, and that release of LR4 put LR3 to bed. No more development for Lightroom 3, including NO UPDATE to make it work with the mkIII files.

I’m a total geek, and I love a new gadget and new software as much as the next person, but I don’t like upgrading software that I use in my everyday workflow that close to the launch. I like all the bugs to be worked out before I dive in. I’ve heard that LR4 is a bit slow and that the interface is different. Using it will mean having to update all of my LR catalogs. I just don’t want to do it yet.

Thank goodness, there is a workaround. It does add some time to your workflow, but in the end it isn’t that bad. (Yes, I’ll add time to my workflow if it is something I can run and leave – I don’t want to add time where I have to sit and watch LR render stuff. I know, it is a bit crazy.) Whenever I download my memory cards, I then launch the Adobe RAW to DNG Converter. (FREE from Adobe.) I point to my source directory, set it up to save in a DNG directory, and then pull those DNG files in to Lightroom 3.

Viola´! Now Lightroom 3 and the Canon 5D mkIII play well together again!

PS – And in case you’re wondering – the mkIII considers focusing to be a requirement, and it does quite a fantastic job doing it!