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How Much to Charge for Photo Retouching

Published: 03/09/2021

Real estate marketing doesn't end at taking photos, as you also need to retouch images to ensure they look spotless and appealing. However, the prices should be different from the actual shoot. We're giving tips on how much to charge for photo retouching, including rate considerations and pricing structures.

How Much to Charge for Photo Retouching

You can charge the most basic level of photo retouching anywhere between $80 and $100 per bulk. However, some agents would look for additional forms of editing, and you can charge up to $200 for that. You can still change the price depending on the quantity, complexity, skills, and delivery.

Real estate photo retouching improves the property's overall charm, attracting more buyers to seal the deal. Let's go over how you can develop rates to prepare for the next time a client wants to hire you. 

Cost of Retouching for Real Estate Photography

Eye-catching images are essential in any business, especially real estate. These visuals must capture a buyer's attention and get that SOLD sign removed from the property. You can charge basic real estate photo retouching up to $100, whereas extensive retouching may reach $200 per project.

Person retouching real estate photos using her laptop

Retouching refers to the post-production technique where you manipulate or alter a photo or some parts of it. Since photo retouchers have varying skill levels and services, it's crucial that you first consider what kind of photo retouching you can offer to realtors.

  • Basic Retouching: Basic retouching of real estate images may cover brightening colors, changing background, and reshaping figures. It may also include putting models, removing artifacts, attaching furniture, and adding HDR effects. You can charge $5 to $8 per photo, then offer hourly or package rates.
  • Extensive Retouching: This meticulous process includes more creative intervention, such as deep color supplementation, shadow adjustment, face swapping, and background manipulation. Some clients may even request furniture retouching, greenery placement, or 3D rendering. Due to the complexity, you can charge a minimum of $10 per image.

Pricing Structures for Photo Retouching

The average salary for a real estate photographer is around $40,000 to $60,000 per year. The great thing about real estate photo retouching is that it opens a lot of opportunities to work with prominent real estate companies for you to earn more.

Photo retouching for real estate can be time-consuming and tedious because you need to add certain effects on top of basic editing to produce a final artistic image. To make sure you won't sell yourself short, these are the various pricing structures you can use when charging for real estate photo retouching.

Hourly

You can charge an hourly rate of $40 to $150 for real estate photo retouching. However, you have to determine the number of images you can edit per hour. 

The disadvantage of hourly rates is that you may need longer hours when doing extensive retouching. This open-ended estimate can also become a leap of faith on the client's end, as they might rake up a huge bill when it's time for the invoice.

Per Image

Per-image pricing is a great choice for advanced photo retouching since you'll most likely do many things in one photo. This enables you to calculate the right amount of time and effort for a single shot without affecting other pictures.

You can either consider computing a per-image or hourly rate for this.  The overall price may seem too expensive for some clients, especially if they ask you to work on hundreds of real estate photos.

Bulk Orders

A per-project payment is an excellent option if you're working with a repeat client or if you have a retainer fee. In this way, you can include every pricing consideration into the final price. You can even include discounts if you want.

This is a good way to market your image retouching services because realtors will know the upfront charges. Consider this if you're a freelancer or doing full-time photo retouching for a business, and you want to establish a long-term professional relationship with clients.

A cup of coffee and a camera beside a laptop

Pricing Considerations for Retouching Real Estate Photos

Did you know that $16.63 is the average hourly wage for a photo editor in the United States? Fortunately, you can earn a bigger salary than this when you know how much to charge for photo retouching services.

With that said, consider these factors to ensure you can calculate the best rate that would make fair compensation for your real estate photo retouching services.

  • Experience or skill: Keep in mind that your client is also paying for your efficiency, and this work trait comes from years of experience and honing your craft.
  • Level of Difficulty: There's basic photo retouching, which usually includes color correction, cropping, straightening, or exposure adjustment. Then there's complex retouching, where you can reshape objects, add HDR effects, or remove glare. The rate should change depending on the retouching's complexity.
  • Volume: The number of pictures would significantly impact your speed. How many images do you need to edit? Is the client requesting 2 images per room or hundreds of photos for a large-scale property?
  • Turnaround Time: Real estate photography usually demands a quick turnaround time, like deadlines of 24 to 48 hours. However, you can increase the rate if your client is asking for rush delivery.
  • Revisions: Endless revisions are the bane of photo retouchers. Make sure to set a number of editing rounds per image and include this in the overall cost.
  • Software: Are you editing using free photo editing software, or do you have an Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom subscription? Maybe you're also using HDR photo editing software. You should also note these aspects when charging rates.
  • Delivery method: Are you maintaining an online gallery where the client can access the retouched photos anytime? Do you need to mail prints? You should also apply additional charges if you have a special mode of printing, archiving, or delivery.

Conclusion

Real estate photographers and photo editors can charge anywhere between $80 to $200 for every photo retouching project. You can even go higher if a client has more complex requests per image set. Remember, know your worth, and don't undersell your hard-earned photo retouching skills.

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