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How to charge for photo retouching service

Steve Tout - Seattle, Wa , May 30, 2005; 09:09 p.m.

I received a request from a frind of the bride and groom to do some considerable editing of this image. I spent about 45mins this morning doing some adjustments to get the low res proof in the ball park of what she was looking for. She replied with a snotty "That's overpriced and not good enough...blah blah blah" so I'm just curious how you guys handle request for substantial retouching treatment to a photo you shot during a wedding.

For this image in particular, the customer wants the attendant, the minister, and the random should removed from. The visible parts of the minister about in the middle of this picture, between bride and groom made this a not so easy touch up, and one could easily spend several hours (or more?) getting close to perfection as possbile. So if I charged by the hour, that would make a 4x6 print about $105.

So would anyone event attempt to edit this photo and charge an hourly rate, or would you decline the job?

Photo Retouching Request by Client


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John Painter , May 30, 2005; 09:23 p.m.


I would suggest an alternate image....sounds like they wouldn't end up paying you anyway.

Gary Woodard , May 30, 2005; 09:28 p.m.

Give her some names of other digital touch up services to check out, tell her your price per hour and leave it at that, she obviously wants it done cheaper than what is normally charged. This is common in the service industry with a little experience you will be able to handle these situations, quickly, honestly, and with a smile.

Al Kaplan - Miami, FL , May 30, 2005; 09:36 p.m.

You might get away with telling her that it really wouldn't be cost effective or feasable to do on less than an 11x14 print at perhaps $250, but once that was done you could make up lots of 4x6 prints at the regular price.

Marc Williams , May 30, 2005; 09:45 p.m.

"I'm just curious how you guys handle request for substantial retouching treatment to a photo you shot during a wedding."

If it WAS something I shot that badly, and it WAS an important image, I'd quietly fix it and never say a word, and especially not a word about money.

If it was a mistake beyond my control I often still fix it for free, or for a minimal charge. Builds good will and strong word of mouth referrals. Like one Bride who's Mom had a fit because some aunt wasn't photographed with the Mom and Bride alone rather as part of a group (even though the Aunt wasn't to be found anywhere). Unreasonable of Mom, but I PS the Aunt into a shot, and all was peace and happiness.

"So would anyone event attempt to edit this photo and charge an hourly rate, or would you decline the job?"

If those requested fixes took more than 15 minutes I'd be surprised.

Steve Tout - Seattle, Wa , May 30, 2005; 09:59 p.m.


Is the shot I posted really that bad? It's not the only shot I have of this pose, and the similar image is perhaps a cleaner and better composition. So are you implying that I should do the touch up for free, for a friend of the bride and groom? I certainly do not feel obligated, and the neither the bride nor groom complained about this pose.

I totally understand what you are saying, and I've already practice your suggestion once this wedding (you helped me correct that image) I am in NO way asking for help to correct this image. I am just asking for advice about whether or not to spend the hour or two it will take to get it to the point the customer will pay, and how much to charge.

Al's suggestion was a good one, and that is what I told my client. Thanks, Al! you are the best! (Loved your new collection of self pics by the way!)


Gary Woodard , May 30, 2005; 10:18 p.m.

Giving away your time and skills for no charge will always help your public relations, unfortunatly its not a good buisness plan.

Tom Meyer , May 30, 2005; 10:40 p.m.

get a deposit before you do any more. Alternately, get a quote from a professional retoucher and give your client an estimate... t

(What Marc would do is not relevant, it's hypothetical. But you did ask.)

Marc Williams , May 30, 2005; 11:14 p.m.

First of all Steven, it isn't a stellar shot. Second of all, everyone shoots bad ones. Believe me, I've done worse.

The trick is to edit them out so no one ever sees them.

Or, IF it is a critical shot, then consider fixing it without a word to the client.

Edit it OR fix it ... never let them see you sweat.

Marv Thompson , May 30, 2005; 11:20 p.m.

Did the friend of the bride pay for the photography? If so you may have an obligation, unless....

It looks like a grab shot to me. If that is the case and it wasn't a formal portrait I think the friend is out of line and has no comprehension of what they are asking be done.

If it was a formal portrait......you fill in the blank.

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