Setting Rates and Quoting Jobs: Negotiate Like a Pro Retoucher

Photographer: Danny Cianfarra Retouching team: Dominique Fraser & Bianca Ayotte (Sublim creative) Make up and Hair : Lisa Sim Stylist : Jessica St-Louis Model: Elisabeth (Folio Montreal)

The following is an excerpt from the article, “Setting Rates and Quoting Jobs,” by luxury products retoucher Dominique Fraser, that appeared in Issue 2, ADVICE, now available in PDF format.

Dominique Fraser is a top retoucher and the driving force behind Sublim Creative Studio. In this month’s business feature, she offers straight-up advice on how to eliminate the fear and uncertainty behind quoting your next retouching job.


Québec, Canada-based professional retoucher
Online portfolio:



Your price list is the foundation of your business. It’s so important, you should have it pinned on the wall where you work to help you remain focused on your goals.

Prices can be abstract, so having your price list will help you make smarter decisions. It will give you a place to start when assessing a project and it will make the process easier. It will also help you quickly answer a client’s extra requests if necessary.

How much is your time worth?

This is not an easy question to answer because everyone is different. Your answer will depend on your experience, your talent, your added value, and your ideal client – it will also be affected by your personal belief system.


The first person you have to convince of your worth is yourself.


Art direction: Dominique Fraser; Photographer: Danny Cianfarra Retouching team: Dominique Fraser & Zoe L. Newbury (Sublim creative)

Art direction: Dominique Fraser; Photographer: Danny Cianfarra
Retouching team: Dominique Fraser & Zoe L. Newbury (Sublim creative)


Now that you have a price list, quoting will become a piece of cake. I created a list of five questions that help me evaluate a client’s project with ease. The more you know about the project, the more effectively you will be able to advise your client.

  1. What are all the details of the project?

Number of images, how many close-ups, what season does it apply to (girls in the summer require more attention than boys in the winter, meaning there will be more skin and face retouching involved), how many models in each image, will photo compositing be needed, etc. Don’t forget to ask what the end use will be for the images. Will it be for web only, magazine prints, or a 60-foot billboard in Times Square? The usage intentions can change everything!

  1. What are your client’s goals and objectives for marketing their products, services, or maybe even for their entire business?

Most retouchers don’t ask this type of question, but it’s one of my favorites. Most often, the client will give you valuable information that they may not have thought was important to retouching. But it’s this sort of information that can help you create new ideas that hadn’t occurred to your client, ones that you can use to help them achieve their goals and help you stand out from the competition.


Read more in Issue 2, ADVICE, now available in PDF format,so you can read it on your computer or smartphone screen.


Head over to the Issue 2 page and get your copy now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *