What to say when your client wants to retouch or edit their own photos before you blog them


Dear Miss Communication,

One of my clients is a skilled graphic artist and photographer. In the previews I posted on Instagram, she observed what she believes to be wrinkles around her eyes, and said to me, “I’d like to retouch those before you blog them or submit them for publication.”

How do I nicely say to my client, “If you want retouching done, it needs to be managed by my studio and to the standards of all my work?”

I’m afraid the work will be substandard, and then I won’t be able to use them in my blog. I don’t even want her to think about editing the photos before she’s seen them (and side note, I never noticed wrinkles, so this is a very subjective “problem”), let alone think she can do whatever she wants to the photos.

I’m thinking of saying this: “I took a quick glance through your images and I haven’t noticed any wrinkles at all! But if you think any of them need to be retouched when you get your gallery, we can take it from there and I’ll handle any edits you may need.” What would you say?

What to say when your client wants to retouch or edit their own photos before you blog them

Photo by Rebbeck_Images/iStock / Getty Images

That’s a tough one!I know many of us say “No way! No editing our finished jpgs!” and even have clauses in our contract saying that a client cannot edit our photos once delivered. But of course, there are extenuating circumstances, like this one–she is probably (but not definitely) capable of doing the work and it might seriously annoy her to be charged for work she can do herself.

If you believe strongly in the “no exceptions” rule, I’d write exactly what you say above. But if you can imagine yourself creating an exception in this situation,the best idea is to be straight with her, letting her know that while she may wield a mean clone stamp, if it doesn’t suit your standards, it doesn’t fly, at least for your blog and images published elsewhere under your studio name.

Dear Bride,

Thanks for your kind offer! I didn’t notice any wrinkles around your eyes, but I can understand you might be more sensitive to your own face. Typically, I would charge $XX per image to send this work to my retoucher. However, given your considerable skill set in this area and as a professional courtesy to you, I would be glad to work together on a few select images to see if we can achieve a final edit that we are both happy to publish.

I plan to post images X, Y, Z, P, D, Q, G, H and F in my blog, and they all show your eyes. Would you like to choose one or two to work on? If so, please do. If they are consistent with the style of editing that I normally publish on my blog, I’d be glad to save you the cost of the custom retouching you are requesting.



Was this a helpful scenario for you? You’ll find this one and more than 74 other helpful scenarios and email templates in our Wedding Photographer’s Inbox Solution, available in the store at Pencil & Lens! The Inbox Solution includes a series of messages to clients about retouching, in case this answer isn’t the end of their questions!

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1 Comment

  1. Michele on August 21, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Great words, as always! Our clients always notice their "flaws"… great way to respond!

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