Questions to Ask When Hiring A Retouching Firm

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You work hard as a professional photographer. Your images are important to you. You baby them like you baby your children. It can be hard to let them go even when you know it’s best for them. Sending your images out for a photo retouching service to work with can be like sending your child off to school for the first time. You know you need to but there’s still anxiety in letting your precious little one go. Here are some questions to ask of any image editing company you may be considering to help ease the anxiety.

What kind of turn-around-time can you expect? Will your images be ready tomorrow or next week?

Expect most basic orders to be ready in two to three business days. Large or specialized orders can take as long as a week. If the company does not have the ability for you to upload images digitally and you must send them by mail be sure to factor in mailing time and postage costs.

Can you upload your images digitally? What image formats will they work with?

A company that offers the ability to securely upload files digitally will save you plenty of time as well as significant amounts of money on postage costs. You should ask if the company works with raw, tif, jpg, or psd. Also, do they have the capacity to work with any/all formats?

Is all the work done in-house?

Some firms send your images out to another party, sometimes to an overseas firm. Adding another middleman gives you less control over the final product. If managing your images throughout the editing process is important to you then look for a firm where all the work is done in-house. A company that keeps all the work in-house is more likely to work with you to make sure that your images meet your specifications. Look for a firm that keeps everything in-house if hiring a U.S. company is important to you as well.

Will the firm work with you to make sure the image is edited to your specifications?

Some firms take a cookie-cutter approach, applying a one-size-fits-all strategy to every image. Let’s say you usually want blemishes removed from the face but you have one client who has a birthmark. That “blemish” is part of the subject’s natural appearance and you want it to remain. Firms using the cookie-cutter approach may miss this subtlety. A good firm will provide a contact who will work closely with you to learn what you like and manage such nuances.

Do they require a minimum yearly contract?

Some firms insist upon a sizable investment in the form of a yearly contract, requiring you to agree to spend a large amount of money or send a minimum number of images. Others will be happy to work with you even if you only have one image to send.

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