Sunday, August 1, 2010

Get the Goods: My first stint contracting out post processing services

ORIGINAL IMAGE (with my own post processing)


The more backlogged I get with my photo editing, the more I have been thinking about trying to save time and get caught up by contracting out editing and post processing services. I've always loved editing in Photoshop. It's a different way for me to be able to work some creative muscle. But as demand for my services has grown, the time I take post processing has prevented me from building my business.

I've researched numerous online retouching services from those that specialize in editing weddings and other multiple photo events to those that work on individual portraits. Choose from basic retouching such as softening wrinkles, whitening teeth and head swapping to artistic enhancements and B&W conversions. Some require the RAW image for processing, while others will accept a JPEG. And of course they vary in cost. So far, I've liked the services offered by and may likely
Silverback Imaging and Design
Great Touching

I decided to try for my first trial run because it was offering it's first 10 retouches for free. A few of the images taken during the 2010 Success Summit & Expo in June needed some glass glare removal. I did everything I could with my limited Photoshop skills but just couldn't get the look I wanted.

After signing up with, I uploaded six JPEG files on Thursday, July 29 at about 4:30 a.m. and the photos were completed and ready for me to download two days later. I opted for the "Complete Plus" service because it includes eyeglass glare and brace removal along with standard retouch services such as facial glare, stray hairs, whitening teeth and eyes, removing blemishes, softening or removing bags under the eyes, even fixing spots in the background. You get all that for $5 -- that's per image not per head in the photo.

Here's some before and afters:




Considering the previous hours I spent cursing and unsuccessfully trying to remove the glare, I think the work the artist Rossi did was incredible. The turnover time was quick and the overall upload process easy and convenient. While the first two images I posted are fairly true to form and still look like the subject Hanifah without appearing overprocessed, I think the third image was edited more heavily than I would have done, especially around the eye area. When I edit, I like to try to keep the subject's face looking more human rather than magazine airbrushed. I actually prefer the specular highlights commonly seen on the nose, cheeks and forehead (although I like to soften them alittle). knows that every photographer's style is different, so I think next time I will specify a softer touch on the skin shine removal. I will definitely be using this service again. Make sure to follow on their Facebook fan page as well to get coupons and free orders.

I can't wait to see what Hanifah thinks, as I've given her both options to choose from when she downloads digital images from my website. I would also love to hear which photos you think look best.

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