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Author Topic: Drawing the Line on Re-touching  (Read 11859 times)
Scott Hargis
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« on: June 28, 2011, 07:34:33 PM »
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I'm shooting architectural interiors, and working with a lot of interior design clients.
Lately I'm having issues with clients wanting  more re-touching on images than I'm really willing to do. I don't separate re-touching in my estimates, but in my own mind I have a number of hours that I am willing to put in. I've never had a client be more picky than I am anyway, so it's never been an issue until now.

What I'm getting recently is clients who wish the styling/staging was different. NOTHING to do with the actual photography! "Can you remove the coffee-pot from the kitchen counter?" or "Can you change the color of the flowers from pink to white?"

I'm comfortable enough to say "No" when I can't or don't want to do it, but what I'd like to do is get in front of the issue and get some language into my contracts that specifically deals with this, without making it sound like I'm unwilling to do "ordinary" re-touching like color corrections, toning, etc. etc. Something that deals specifically with material changes to the scene.

How do you set limits with your re-touching?
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DeeJay
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 08:19:02 PM »
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Yes it's always an ongoing battle, even with clients who know better. They just try it on.

I have them make a list of things they want to change and then provide them with a quote. I explain this is going to be the way I work before the shoot. It doesn't need to be threatening for the client if you treat it positively and friendly and once they understand you work that way then it's fine.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 10:49:09 PM »
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I'll sometimes tell them it would be cheaper to re-shoot than pay for the retouching involved!  But then I usually explain to them that I can get rid of 'it', but the problem comes with replacing 'it' with what's actually behind 'it'.  People think you can just take something out, but need to be educated on the consequences.  Really... it's a matter of educating the client on what can and can't be done, and if they push, then provide the quote to do it.
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Martin Kristiansen
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 08:01:51 AM »
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My clients get photographs of what they supply me. If they need something changed from what is supplied I do it no problem at my retouching rate. Have not had a problem since the late 90's when it was all pretty new and we were all still trying to figure it out.
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asf
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 10:41:27 AM »
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This is the direction it's been going with interiors for a while now, and why clients will be using renderings more than actual photos more and more.

A few years ago I was able to charge for all retouching, now almost none. I know retouchers who specialize in interiors who made tons of money at it from huge clients and even their clients aren't willing to spend extra on retouching anymore (it's expected to be included with the photography).

The trouble is you can make a stand but there are always people out there who will give what you won't. If you're in a top position in your market and your clients aren't able to find anyone to replace you it will be easier to say no.
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Scott Hargis
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2011, 10:57:12 AM »
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Thanks for the responses.

I think I should clarify this a bit. I'm trying to separate the "normal" post-processing that I would do regardless of what I'm being paid -- like color corrections, toning, sharpening, cropping, blending multiple exposures -- from the material changes I'm being requested to do (like changing the color of the flowers).

I have no problem with charging extra for that work, but what I haven't done a good job of is communicating to my clients where the line is. I'd like to get some language into my contracts to clearly communicate a policy so that it's clear at what point I'm going to start billing an hourly rate for re-touch work.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2011, 11:19:29 AM »
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Is this a common problem with interior designers and decorators or what? How about the ones who decide to completely redo a room in the middle of a shoot or want to run to their house to pick up the perfect item-completely blowing the time budget. Why didn't they design it that way to begin with?

In this particular case are we talking about shoots where the client was present or a representative of the client was there? Or was the opportunity to be there offered and declined? If so-tough bananas-charge them for the additional retouching.

I am not an interior designer or decorator. I do well organizing objects in a space for photographic composition but I am not a magician or a mind reader. If they are going to be super picky they have to be at the shoot and make these decisions.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 11:22:33 AM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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Scott Hargis
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 11:30:43 AM »
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I've never done a shoot when the client wasn't present and approving shots on my laptop. These are after-the-fact requests.
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2011, 11:33:49 AM »
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I usually tell that I can make little changes in the image, like removing wires or electrical sockets, things like that.  But when they want to have objects removed that are in front of something that is not a smooth gradient or simple pattern, that will be extra.  And for complicated backgrounds, that will be outside of my ability, but no problem, because I can supply the name of a digital artist that can do the job.  Of course a good artist will charge $200+ an hour.  That price usually gets them to make sure everything is the way they want it on location.  

PS, I do remove exit signs whenever I can, and that is what I spend the most time removing when doing that kind of work.  Here I dont charge because I would remove the sign anyway for my own use. 
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 11:35:29 AM by JoeKitchen » Logged

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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2011, 12:53:31 PM »
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I've never done a shoot when the client wasn't present and approving shots on my laptop. These are after-the-fact requests.

Then for me the clock starts running after basic adjustments to the image that were discussed at the shoot.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 03:39:27 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2011, 03:37:10 PM »
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My rule of thumb now is that if I can do it in LR, it's included.  If I have to go to PhotoShop... the clock starts tickin'.  So as soon as I get a request where I know it's going to PS, I state up front that this is an additional charge.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2011, 03:45:40 PM »
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That's a pretty good rule of thumb Mike, though I end up opening almost every image in PS just to do basic adjustments. My main concern is when they come back to you after the shoot with requests like removing some difficult object. That is why I want to discuss the adjustments I will be doing during the shoot. So if they come back with more it automatically becomes an additional charge because it is work outside of our original agreement and understanding.

I have to admit here though, since the recession I have become much more reluctant about adding on additional charges-something I did not hesitate about in 2008.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 04:19:29 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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feppe
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2011, 03:56:44 PM »
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I'd like to get some language into my contracts to clearly communicate a policy so that it's clear at what point I'm going to start billing an hourly rate for re-touch work.

Here's one attempt to actually answer your question: "standard global post-processing (including brightness, contrast, white balance, levels, curves) is included in the price. Local and specialty post-processing is done upon request, and includes, but is not limited to, removal or addition of objects, retouching of surfaces, and HDR, and will be charged at $X per hour."
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 04:15:49 PM by feppe » Logged

David Eichler
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2011, 04:07:11 PM »
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This is the direction it's been going with interiors for a while now, and why clients will be using renderings more than actual photos more and more.

A few years ago I was able to charge for all retouching, now almost none. I know retouchers who specialize in interiors who made tons of money at it from huge clients and even their clients aren't willing to spend extra on retouching anymore (it's expected to be included with the photography).

The trouble is you can make a stand but there are always people out there who will give what you won't. If you're in a top position in your market and your clients aren't able to find anyone to replace you it will be easier to say no.

Asf, architects and interior designers relying solely on renderings to represent their finished work? I am surprised to hear that, except maybe for some of the smallest architects or architectural firms. Anyone else experiencing this?

Feppe, I am glad someone actually addressed Scott's initial request.

Kirk, wouldn't you actually address most or all of that sort of retouching in your contract, as a result of your scouting of the property?
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2011, 04:15:53 PM »
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Kirk, wouldn't you actually address most or all of that sort of retouching in your contract, as a result of your scouting of the property?

Ideally yes, But with interiors that are being moved around allot or furnished just for the shoot there are always things you didn't foresee.

Also I am really an architectural photographer-not an interiors specialist perse. Allot of my shoots are big commercial or institutional buildings out of town-exteriors and interiors. I may not have really seen the building before the day of the shoot and my client (usually the architect) may not have been to the building recently either. You would be amazed at the crap we run into on a "finished" building in those circumstances that have to be fixed in PS.

As per architects relying on renderings to present their work? Not in my experience. They only use renderings until they have decent finished photos.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 04:17:55 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2011, 04:17:12 PM »
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You would be amazed at the crap we run into on a "finished" building in those circumstances that have to be fixed in PS.

Do tell. Bonus points for docile rhinos Smiley
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2011, 04:40:01 PM »
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Hmmm...not sure what you are trying to add to the conversation with those images?
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Kirk Gittings
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asf
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2011, 04:55:49 PM »
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Asf, architects and interior designers relying solely on renderings to represent their finished work? I am surprised to hear that, except maybe for some of the smallest architects or architectural firms. Anyone else experiencing this?

I wrote "will be", as in that is the direction I see it going in the future

And I have seen it starting to happen, and not with small firms. Think of how CGI has affected the car shooters.

Interior photos are as a whole so retouched now compared to 10 years ago they are approaching renderings.
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2011, 05:25:15 PM »
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I wrote "will be", as in that is the direction I see it going in the future

And I have seen it starting to happen, and not with small firms. Think of how CGI has affected the car shooters.

Interior photos are as a whole so retouched now compared to 10 years ago they are approaching renderings.
The problem is not becoming, with making things look perfect and evenly lit, to into Photoshop instead of painting with light (which is what PHOTOGRAPHY actually is).  Not making images that look like renderings.  Not becoming lazy and relying on HDR or other Photoshop tricks instead of professionally lighting the space or using the right camera/lens to correct things on location is only making it worse.  

I have spoken to many high end architects and they all say the same thing.  They want images that look like pictures; they dont want images that look like something they could have had their rendering departments do.  Create images, not cad drawings; allow the imperfections of light to remain in the photograph.  

« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 08:06:18 PM by JoeKitchen » Logged

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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2011, 05:44:05 PM »
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I'm in a bit of a different interior situation btu similar at the same tine.

Most of boat/rv interiors are either prototypes or first run samples.  its not uncommon ofr the interiors to be missing pieces, have the wrong piece or something does not work.

Many times the entire kitchen for example will be missing the cabinet doors, a tv hutch will be missing the tv, a backsplash is the wrong color, or even a window is in the wrong place.

Since waiting is usually out of the question I have to shoot and fix in post.

There is never a question, if the fix IS possible it gets done.  And there is never a question on what it will cost, since we agree prior to the shoot.  Never for free.

And I agree that PS has changed how I shoot at least.  I do far more assembly in post that ever before.

Pricing in my niche has bottomed out since the RV/Marine businesses crashed in 2008.  No one will pay 2008 prices and timelines any more.  What was once a 5-8 hour shoot on a single interior is now 1.5 hours and 1.5 hours of assembly in post.  It's the new reality.  You either deal with it or find different clients.

That said my retouching rates stayed the same and I do more of it now than ever.
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