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Recently we met with Gerry Kingsley to have a conversation on retouching, education, branding, and some other topics. If you have missed his introduction and the first part of our conversation, please, check out Let’s Talk Retouching Part #1.
We are going to continue our discussion with Gerry today. Our main topics are: business models, branding, different fields of retouching, client expectations,…
Let’s Talk Retouching! #2 – Our Topics:
Different Fields Of Retouching
There are different fields of retouching: Editorial, Corporate, Advertising, CGI + 2D, …
Many of them require different skill sets and with different clients come different expectations. The challenge is to stick out and to also manage your workflows, your skills suitable for your client’s needs. This is important to be valued by your clients and to work efficiently and professionally, but also to make enough money to stay in business.
Don’t Be A Jack Of All Trades
A hard lesson to learn is not to take any job. Of course, we all want to make money! But what often happens is, when you are trying to cover a lot of different styles and fields within the industry, you often end up “mediocre” or better, not specialized. It is impossible to specialize in everything.
Specializing and refining the craft you enjoying will pay off in the long run and clients will eventually come to you for your specialization. The expert will always be more valued than a generalist.
However, be patient. Building a business takes time, don’t expect to reach the top in no time. It will take dedication, refinement of your skills and constant education to eventually become a profitable business.
Marketing Yourself As An Expert
As we mentioned before, it pays off to become an expert in the field you love working in. But how will you accomplish this goal?
Here are our most valuable tips to become an expert:
- Be passionate!
- Don’t take every job you are offered
- If you end up taking jobs just for the money, don’t market with these jobs
- Take your time to build a high-quality portfolio
- Work for free / for exposure
- Build business connections
- Plan your budget and time for self-education
Building A Report With Possible Clients
One of the best tips to grow your business is to invest time into making connections with possible clients. You have to see this as an investment, even though it is hard. It might come in the form of working for free or for exposure, however, you have to see it as building reports with people who might eventually hire you for a job. If you get your foot in the door and people like your work and how you communicate, they will come back to working with you again.
That does not necessarily mean you have to work for free, always. I am not trying to say yet. You should never undervalue or undercut yourself. But working for someone can also be as valuable as spending money on advertising. Instead of money, you invest your time and skills.
With different fields of photography and retouching the client expectations are different and so should your approach to working on such images.
More specifically, some retouching techniques might be appropriate in one field but the quality or results might not fit another genre. And so is the time investment.