Photoshop is no longer an added extra that helps with a little retouching. Photoshop in itself can be an integral part of who you are as a photographer.
But how do you decide how much time you should invest in Photoshop before you present your work to your clients?
Ultimately it depends on the type of photography you do, and what your clients expect.
As wedding photographers, we never used Photoshop on any of our work before we presented our album design ideas to our clients. Our goal was to sell large albums – all cropping and manipulating was done after the customer made choices. That was we still left the idea of proof versus final image in their minds, and we could justify the costs after final production.
Similarly, if you provide natural portraits and you’re using projection to sell your photography, you might not necessarily need to use Photoshop before the presentation. You should be able to show your clients what finalized prints will look like after you complete production.
Yet for many of you, Photoshop literally transforms your photography to a whole different level. You’re not just softening fine lines, and smoothing out the skin. You’re actually using Photoshop to completely change the way the image looks.
Is there any right answer?
However I would say that you have to be compensated for your time.
- If you average $200 per portrait session and they buy just one or two poses, you shouldn’t spend hours using Photoshop on every image before you present them to your client.
- You’ll spend 2-4 hours in meeting, photographing, and selling to your client,
- You’ll spend 1-2 hours in production.
- And if you spend 4-6 hours in Photoshop before your present to your client, and 1-2 hours in Photoshop after you meet with your client, you’re now at 8-14 hours of work for one client.
If the average sale is $200, you’re only bringing in $14 to $25 per hour gross. Not a lot when you have to take away your expenses, overhead, etc.
Remember, the key to being in business for yourself is to create a great living. If you’re struggling to get by, change the way you do things.