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This cute picture of a kitten just improved your quality of life! Not all improvements cost big money!

When determining what could be done to improve your business, I find that it’s easy to come up with improvements that cost money.  Spend more on marketing, spend more on your employees, give rebates, bonuses, prizes.  And they surely bring about improvement – but often the improvements only last as long as the money keeps getting spent on them.

I’ve always been interested in the tweaks that can bring big results but without the price tag.

Our average turnaround time has dropped from 0.67 days to 0.47 days in just three weeks as we implemented just these types of tweaks.

The dispatcher and quality review teams suggested extending their hours of operation to accommodate orders that come in very early or very late (we know that photographers keep ALL SORTS of hours!).  The dispatcher and quality review teams came up with their own proposed schedules to bring their own plan to reality.

This change cost nothing to the business, but appear to be a successful part of our overall drive to drive our turnaround time even lower.

Are there tweaks that can be done around your studio (that cost nothing) that might improve your customer’s experience, or even just your own enjoyment?




Insist On Using The Rework Tool

Our reviews are outstanding, but our artists are still mortal.  If you receive an image that requires more work – avoid the temptation to adjust it yourself – all reworks are included at no charge.

With less than 24 hour turnaround time (sometimes as quickly as an hour or two) your artist can do the adjustment him/herself, saving you the time, but more importantly discovering more about your preferences and learning from their mistakes.

When mistakes happen, please insist upon US fixing the issue.

We greatly appreciate your business.

Service Policies

Turnaround Time

Average turnaround time fluctuates throughout the year.  Our goal is to have a 24 hour maximum turnaround time.  This can be impacted by holidays and our reduced weekend schedule.  During peak times of our peak season, we can receive many multiples of our average daily volume.  We are prepared for these – but even with preparation turnaround time can exceed 24 hours.  During most of the year, our average turnaround time is much faster than 24 hours.

Resources to use if you have a hard deadline include the Rush tool, which can cut several hours off turnaround time, or calling us directly at (888) 700-3686.  You’ll find that we’re always willing to speak with the artist to see how we can push along an order you’re concerned about.

Working together, we’re sure we can meet important deadlines.



You have a fixed number of hours in a week, but numberless possibilities for what to do with them.

If you had to prioritize the following activities according to what will make the biggest difference to your business’ growth, where would retouching fall?

  • Staying in better contact with past clients.
  • Finding new ways to market to the community.
  • Asking for referrals from existing clients.
  • Building a social network following (twitter/facebook/blog).
  • Researching which up-sell products are most popular.
  • Streamlining your studio workflow.
  • Spending more time with each client.
  • Creating (new) seasonal promotions.
  • Creating alliances with related businesses.

Does retouching blemishes and stray hairs make the list?

By rearranging what we do with our limited time, we can make a big impact on our job satisfaction and business growth.

If you found in response to a retouching emergency, consider exploring using us as a business tool to allow you to reallocate limited hours.

Time Well Spent: Our Auto-Responder Series

Some activities we do can pay long-term dividends.  Others are necessary, but once they’re done, the benefit is over.

One activity has continued to pay dividends for a long time, and that’s the auto-responder email series we created to welcome new clients.

This series of 4-6 brief emails (writen about a year ago in an afternoon, but revised regularly) is sent out to new clients over time.  All we have to do is give iContact that week’s new signups – and they will get a brief, helpful email introducing them to features they’ll need to know about. 

Not only is this helpful for new users – it’s a useful way to get people information over time, not through a firehose all at once – it’s a great way to keep us in their mind. 

An auto-responder series can be useful anytime you have a series of information you’d like to keep in front of willing recipients. 

How about a “Top Ten Wedding Tips From a Wedding Pro: Advice from someone who has attended hundreds of weddings from Alpine to Payson.”  Perhaps each wedding tip is sent out three days apart.  A wedding photographer’s site might be visited by many brides-to-be comparing galleries – what an advantage it would be to capture these potential clients’ email address with the promise of some juicy tips on having the best wedding possible…  Then to stay present in this person’s mind as the 10 tips unfold.

We email our new clients, but you could have a web form collect them on your site.  iContact is the company we use.  They can do auto-responders, email newsletters, as well as email tracking.

For us, our auto-responder series has really been time we felt was well spent and continues to pay dividends.

Choosing The Better Part

What gets you going about photography?  Which interactions make your day?  Which parts of the job are the most satisfying?  How would you spend your ideal (working) day?

The odds are that retouching the typical stray hairs and blemishes doesn’t rank high on these questions.

If you can trade the hum-drum parts for the parts that keep you engaged, satisfied and most happy – you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll affect your bottom line as well.

Little Fixes

How many pixels does it take to change a lightbulb?


Imagine a growing family looking for a new home.  They find a beautiful home in a great neighborhood, and the price is right.

Can you imagine overlooking this home because of a couple nail holes in the wall, or a burnt out lightbulb?  It wouldn’t make much sense – these things can be fixed so quickly, and at little cost.

Each day, your clients see “holes in the wall” in their own images – imperfections that they don’t want immortalized in their portraits or family pictures.  They may not want to seem hung up on how their neck looks in a certain photo – or how a certain bit of facial shine draws attention to their nose – but often that is what is happening.  This can result in a smaller final sale.

Make sure your clients know that if they see any “burnt out lightbulbs” in their images, that you’re able to switch them out through the power of retouching.

Would it be appropriate to take 30 seconds and show a customer 3-5 examples of before/after of common concerns being edited away prior to reviewing the proof prints?  Could a few simple 8×10 before/after pairs help the customer see past the little fixes, and net you more sales?

Don’t let their ignorance of how easily these things be corrected keep them from purchasing more poses.

The Hours We Keep

Studies show that  forty hours “on the clock” each week equate to less than twenty hours of productive, focused work.  How much more important then is it, then, to choose where we spend those hours of focused time?

When we don’t have time to do critical marketing because we have to spend time retouching blemishes, are we using our hours where they’ll do the most good?

What kind of edge could you get on your competition if they continue spending 10 hours a week on necessary (but routine) edits, and you’re able to spend those hours more productively?

Being In Control

What does it really mean to be in control?

Being in control is very related to choice.  One is in control when one can decide what is going to happen.

When every business function MUST be done by you only, tight deadlines loom and it’s already been a long day – having to stay up late to get blemishes removed from a client’s images – is this being in control?

Sometimes relying on others to be a part of your workflow actually puts you back in control.

Using Your Feedback Tools

On every order you place, and even on each image, you have the ability to give a rating.  Each of these ratings and feedback are reviewed by a member of our staff.  All textual feedback is read personally by our president.  In addition, all textual feedback is available for the artist who did your work to read.  All star ratings are tracked on a per-artist basis.

Or, in other words, your feedback matters!  When you take the time to share your feedback, it has an impact from artist to president.

Consider the brief moments it takes to leave meaningful feedback as sharpening the axe, or oiling the gears – it helps your artists perform their best.

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