Who Do I Recommend As Retouchers?

September 9th, 2015

filesharing  Caroline recently asked the following:

I’ve been looking at retouchers work and I haven’t exactly impressed with some of the post-production work. However, I’ve have found myself spending a ton of time wading through all of the india image editing firms. I am pretty much ready to raise the bar and start paying for what I need, something that I can actually present to my client. I was hoping to contact the folks on the list you refered to in previous posts, however, I wasn’t able to find the link to the list. By any chance, can you send me the list of image editors that you recommend?

Yes, over the years we’ve talked a lot about outsourcing your post-processing and there are two camps on the subject:

  1. One camp says, “get right in the camera so you just need a few quick RAW adjustments in lightroom for post-processing.
  2. The other camp wants to shoot 5 or more brackets for every shot so if you deliver 30 images there is a ton of processing.

I must admit, I’m biased towards camp #1 because that’s how I work, but I also don’t do high volume and actually love doing post-processing. I realize there are business situations that motivate one to outsource.

Despite all the posts on the blog on this subject, there are only two retouchers that I’m currently willing to recommend. I know both of them from working in the Seattle real estate market with my wife. They are:

  1. Mark Reibman – Currently resides in Cambodia. Mark is doing retouching work for several PFRE readers. Mark says he is at about 75% capacity so you’ll have to check with him to see if he can do your work.
  2. Matt Edington – Who  has recently built a retouching operation in the Philipines to do retouching for his Seattle company Claritynw.com. Matt says, “the editing and photography back-end services company we’ve been working on is currently in closed beta. We can’t take a large number of new clients at the moment as our infrastructure can’t quite support it yet. We’re going to put a beta invite sign up on our website tomorrow and we can grant people invite access one at a time for the time being, with a big launch coming within a few months.” The site for Matt’s retouching operation is: autofocus.io.

We will have a post on Matt’s retouching operation when it officially launches in the near future.

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15 Responses to “Who Do I Recommend As Retouchers?”

  • I contacted an Indian firm to see what they could do. They sent back reasonable images so I sent one more image to have the sky removed and changed. I heard nothing back so assume they are not interested. That level of commitment does not inspire me to give them any paid work.

  • I have used https://www.photoup.net a few time for removal of objects, sky replacements etc.

    Their website is great and they have always delivered on time (often in 1/2 the time they promise)

    For me personally, other than the above, I dont think I would ever rely on anyone else to edit my photos. I firmly believe editing, along with shooting, is part of what makes us different from the next guy, regardless of what your shooting style is.

    If you build your business using outsourcing, replying on that in your everyday work schedule and that company fails to deliver or delivers a poor product that needs to be redone (missing deadlines), its ultimately your name that pays the price….not theirs. At least when I do the editing I am in full control from start to finish and know 100% it will be done right and on time. Not to mention if the company is gone one day you are missing an integral part of your workflow and will be scrambling to make deadlines etc.

  • I had an interesting thought… As with most others, I’m going to be in my slow season and it would be great to fill in some of the gaps with work.

    My background is graphic design and I enjoy doing post just like Larry. If anyone is interested in working something out please reach out to me!

  • I have been using Shawn Clabough (Experts Touch Photography) for several years. He is very reliable, & does excellent work. More expensive than the overseas retouchers, but you get what you pay for. I highly recommend him…
    http://www.ExpertsTouchPhotography.com

  • @Cal Mitchener

    Their work does look really good. Unfortunately, if I used them I would go negative on all my listings. I may be on the wrong side of the business!

  • Like many of you, I prefer to do my own post. I guess I am a control freak but just as I know what I am looking for as I shoot, I know what I want to do with it in post. Hard for someone half way around the world to get into my head no matter how good they are. But I stumbled across an architectural photographer who decided to move to Spain or Portugal and found himself with extra time on his hands. We had some interesting emails back and forth since I too have spent time living in Europe. His own work is superb and his retouching way beyond my own. http://breslinphotography.com/retouching/. I have not tried him yet but during high season when I get in a crunch, I probably will. I would rather get shooting fees than the lesser income from retouching. He said he would charge between 2-4 USD per image depending on what needed done. Whether he still is interested and those are his prices I cannot say. I would love to hear some happy and satisfied customers.

  • @Peter – The reason I didn’t include Frank Breslin on my list is, I’ve had two different complaints about unreliable communications with Frank.

  • With regards to Frank Breslin, I began using him about 6 months ago. I used him specifically for difficult photoshop work such as adding driveways to model homes, removing power lines from in front of urban apartment buildings, etc. Initially, I was impressed with his work and pricing, although turn-around time varied. In the middle of June my largest client, a huge national builder, gave me a large list of model homes needed things such as fences removed, driveways added, and leaves added to trees. I sent Frank the info and received a reasonable quote. We spoke on the phone and I was adamant about him giving me a realistic turnaround time so that I could set my client’s expectations. He agreed to have the photos completed within one month. I have received 2 of the 30 or so photos back from him at this point and have lost ALL communication with Frank. The last I heard from him was August 6, when he made excuses about the outside temperature being too hot for him to handle and was unable to work because of this. This sounds like total baloney to me, as he works behind a computer, presumably in an air-conditioned space. I have emailed him 4 times since August 6 and have heard nothing back from him. In the beginning, I was very happy to have found Frank, as intense photoshop work is not my forte. Now, however, I would strongly discourage anyone from doing business with him.

  • I have a man who does a great job $1.50 an image – can add fires to fireplaces, remove power lines – 24 hr turnaround and is always available – a real asset.

  • @ Dan B.
    I use Expert’s Touch for things like sky & grass replacement, object removal, sun flare, etc. I charge my clients @ $20/file (or more) for this type of work.

  • @ peter, and ANYONE considering using Frank Breslin..

    I almost never outsource anymore, but I had a new client reschedule a HUGE job right into the middle of three other large travel jobs. The deadline was super tight on this one job, and I would be on the road non stop for 3 weeks, so I passed it to Frank to edit.

    He was johnny on the spot the first couple days, but after two weeks I still had no images. he ceased communications with me shortly after, same as trey. I reached out to a couple of people I knew used/recommended him, and when I did that, he somehow finds the time to immedialty respond.. His story is complete BS. He claims to have moved across spain to be with his now sick girlfriend blah blah blah.. I dont care if she is on her death bed, you do one of two things, contact your clients immediately to tell them whats up so they can make alternate arrangements, or you hold her hand with one of yours, and that mouse with the other, and work at the hospital to fulfill your commitment.

    I bought some time with my client, and bugged the hell out of Frank to get maybe half of the images completed while I worked on the other half on a small uncalibrated laptop (thats really just a storage/transfer to cloud device for road work and file backup) on the road in between other work. At the end of the day, it still pissed the client off not making the deadline, the work they got was not what I should have given them due to the rush and on the road situation, and they have not contacted me for anymore jobs. This SHOULD have been a $15k + a year client too. I was beyond livid with him and his excuses..

    @larry – My dealings with Frank were horrible.I know you didnt have anything to do with it , and Id never usually go this far, but I think given whats coming out here and my experience, the blog post you did about Frank a year ago or so should at least be edited to remove any trace of a way to contact him so a reader doesnt stumble on it and accidentally use him, if not deleted alltogether. (it may have been, I havent looked in a while though)

  • @ Peter. Thank you for your kind words.

    @ Larry. I am sorry that you saw fit NOT to recommend me. I understand and respect your concerns and your need to protect your reputation.

    I am/was new at this post processing profession. It has been a steep learning curve. It is not as easy as you might think. In fact it is actually quite difficult.

    I have done 134 assignments in the last 7 months. 98% clients were happy.

    I haven’t always got it right. On a couple of occasions (2%) I dropped the ball and made very bad, very serious errors of judgments.

    Sometimes it is quiet/slow, and then suddenly it gets very, very busy. Everyone wants 110% in less than 10 hours. Under such circumstances I needed to prioritise my schedule and time available and look after my Number One clients. i.e. those clients who give me regular work on a regular basis (RR, SP, KT, RT, MS, 78x jobs).

    My number one priority always was to look out for my number one clients, ie those that provide me with regular work on a regular basis. which I did.

    @ Screwed ByFrankB
    Hi Jason Jones — (Man up and publish your name)

    I am sorry that you saw fit to rant and rave about my service that I diligently attempted to diligently serve your strict and stringent demands on a first job. You have a very unique and unusually peculiar way of shooting. I never witnessed anything like that before. 9 Raw shots for one scene!!! . However I bent over backwards and went ABCD to accommodate your needs. We exchanged 52 emails and I delivered to you 34 shots. For which I have not been paid. I did 40 hours work for you for which i have not been paid a penny/ cent.

    @ Trey
    Sorry Amigo, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I dropped the ball big time on this one. I underestimated and under quoted. I am working flat out to over come the challenges presented. It has taken/ is taking me insanely inordinate amount of time to complete this job. But I will complete it and there will be no charge.

  • @Frank

    Excuses are a dime a dozen my friend…and its odd that the 2% have both commented here.

    Any business that cant deliver WHEN THEY PROMISE, shouldn’t be business, its that simple….especially when they are not returning phone calls etc.

    Any good business knows that you treat ALL your clients with the same respect, using the excuse that you missed deadlines with some clients because you were focusing on your number 1 clients is just pathetic.

  • Frank – lets post those emails we exchanged. Where you assured me that you wouldnt disappear again (but did). Lets also post the emails where I said I would pay you, JUST GET THE WORK DONE. YET you STILL continued to screw me. THEN you insisted this job was ON YOU. Then the VERY LAST email which I didnt respond to, was YOU CHANGING YOUR MIND AND BEGGING for money because you were broke in another country and wanted me to have pity on you. I gave you a 2 week deadline for around 45 images. Some of what you delivered was unuseable, and I had to redo on my end. I should also post the emails where my client threatened legal action if I didnt provide all of the files they required, which you still had the psd files for images you edited, and took several weeks to deliver most, but not all of, after we AGREED you would include those (and I was happy to pay extra for that). And the whole time I am going to bat for YOU with my client because they knew I was outsourcing due to the reschedule, but I could not go to them with the BS story you had for me. because lets face it, if it wasnt BS, you wouldnt have disappeared, THEN come up with that.

    What about the multiple phone calls where we discussed ALL of the needs I had, BEFORE you ever accepted an image, and I walked you through how I did my workflow more than once? Where I made certain you understood these were not run of the mill real estate but needed to be magazine polished quality? 9 raw files, because I gave you the brackets you may or may not have needed to brush in some lighter/darker areas, and random files with a black card to cut a reflection from an art piece or counter.. I explained that to you multiple times, after you trickled in 3-4 images and NONE had been edited as I requested. They only became demands when I ranted on here. Until then you seemed happy to have such a large job billed by the hour.

    See, I left out some of the really $h][&&y details for the core of the problem, but if you want to bring up being paid for subpar work, and images in which, after several times of asking for the same things, you still did NOT complete, we can toss out every little thing.. It will only serve to make you look worse than what I put out in the first place.

    End of the day Frank, I was more than patient with you and YOU FX@KED me royally. If you were in the United States, Id sue you over what you did and the client it cost me.

  • @ Jason

    ho hum

    wha wha wha.

    gave you 34 shots, which I think you delivered to your client as full and final settlement. Which you expressed at the time as full and final settlement.

    At the end of end of the day, without the blah, blah, blah, wha, wha, wha.

    Did you deliver my work to your clients?

    You expressed at the time that you DID deliver my work to your clients.

    At the end of the day, when all is said and done, Whose work did you deliver to the clients.

    Was it your work? or was it my work?

    I spent/ gave you 40 Hours work ( thanks for the gratitude, Texan)

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