The following is an excerpt from the Industry Insider article, “You Must Want It More Than Sleep,” by Pratik Naik, that appeared in Issue 1, SUCCESS, now available as a free download in PDF format.
Considered by many to be among the top retouchers in the world, Pratik Naik is as talented as he is humble, with a sly sense of humor and a silky-smooth voice that could have you believing he retouches with his opposite hand just for the challenge. We grabbed the opportunity to catch up with the always-on-the-move Pratik and asked him to shed some light on what he thinks it takes to be successful in this business.
DEPARTMENT: INDUSTRY INSIDER
SECTION: SUCCESS MINDSET
In the beginning, I did whatever job I could get because I wanted to stay active working. Most of the time, I would get very specific requests and so I didn’t have much say in what should or shouldn’t be done. As a result, my perspective regarding what it meant to be a retoucher changed. I realized that we are often chameleons, changing our results based on exactly what the client wants. Even when it came to something like skin retouching, which I knew I did well, my work needed to be consistent with the style already in my client’s book because the client wouldn’t want too much variation. I suppose in a way, we are at the service of our clients, and that’s okay. That’s not to say that everyone’s work is the same or that it has to be the same. There are some retouchers who are hired specifically for the exact style they advertise.
IT’S A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS
One thing I’ve noticed studying other successful, talented people coming up in the industry is that they’re mostly very nice and open people! I think the more you genuinely want to see the benefit of others, the more you reap the rewards in many ways.
This industry is very small, especially within the retouching community. Those of us who are working professionally, know of each other for the most part. Even photographers, the ones who are currently making it, seem to have the common traits of perseverance, approachability, and respectful mannerisms. How you treat others reflects heavily on who you are as a person. If you have a personality that is more negative, that will affect how you treat your clients and your peers. People won’t hire you if working with you isn’t enjoyable. It’s a personal relationship; it won’t work if you’re not on the same page as your client.
BUT YOU’VE GOT TO WANT IT MORE THAN SLEEP
This might sound harsh and it may be a generalization, but I only figured this out when I met other creatives who had made it in the field. I studied and watched their mannerisms and how they performed on a day-to-day basis.
I can personally attest that if you want sleep more than you want to finish an image, you probably don’t have the passion and fortitude needed to be successful.
The common bond among them all was how passionate and driven they were. They did whatever it took to make it and they are now reaping the rewards a couple of years later.