What do you charge for editorial retouching, and how?

Posted by on Wednesday October 19, 2011 | Uncategorized

In our feature “Does Editorial Post-Production Cost Too Much?” which appears in the November issue of PDN, photographers, retouchers and photo editors weighed in. They offered their experiences about both how much photographers and retouchers charge editorial clients, but how they explain their fees to clients.

“One of our biggest challenges is that the fees vary so greatly between photos,” Wired photo editor Zana Woods told PDN.

Kathy Ryan, the director of photography at The New York Times Magazine says she’s seen photographers asking for as much as $1000 per image.

Photographer Jeff Minton, who does most retouching himself, says he charges editorial clients a flat $75-$100 per image, depending on the work they want done, which is comparable to the price he once charged for custom color prints.

Retoucher Angie Hayes says some magazines at Condé Nast simply stick to a standard per-image fee of $350 for an inside photo, and $600 for a cover. Andi Kounath, owner and retoucher at redfishblack in New York, says small magazines “never pay for retouching.”

So, what do you charge for retouching? And do you think photo editors have a reasonable expectation of the costs of producing and delivering print-ready images? Do you incorporate retouching into your photo fee, or is it a separate line item? How do you calculate what post-production costs you? Is it reasonable for photographers to mark-up the cost of retouching when they hire freelancers? Are you losing money on retouching because editors don’t have the budget to cover the costs?

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