This article begins a series of conversations with Neale Narang, head of business initiatives for ReadyRetouch.com. I really didn’t believe that anybody could or would be able to handle my images as well as I can. In the far distant past (2 ¼ and 4×5 film!) I did for a time outsource serious negative retouching – incidentally to a lady who did significant work for Penthouse and Playboy magazines. But I personally did all the print work with liquid dyes, flexichromes, lampblack and oils.
Once digital arrived, I really went to town with Photoshop. I already knew from years of experience what to do; the new tools were fairly easy to learn. No one could have convinced me to outsource, until I chanced on Linkedin to meet Susan Alexander, production head of ReadyRetouch and Avinash K. Jain, founder. And then I met the driving force of company outreach, Neale Narang.
Some people you just like immediately, and trust they will treat you right. We clicked. Why? Because Neale had immediate responses to my many questions that resonated with my decades playing with all sorts of retouching tools. And then I found out he really puts his money where his mouth is! Neale and I have begun a dialogue about outsourcing, and I find I’m learning lots of new things about the market.
What is the story in your company?
ReadyRetouch.com has been in photo retouching, photo restoration and post production services, since 2003, after seeing the whole cycle of business it has grown from a team of 3 retouchers to now 239 retouchers plus 25 support staff (management, marketing, customer services, account managers, and tech team). ??Our story is simple; our focus for past 8 years has been in post-production and high quality photo retouching services. Thus enabling photographers (any specialties), labs, studios, ad agencies, museums, stock photo companies, whoever needs post production services, concentrate on their core businesses. We deliver most jobs within 24 to 48 hours.
Wow! I’ve told you how much I love photo retouching and postproduction, but if I get bogged down with quantities or repetitive work, it would be great to depend on people who understand the needs of different photo specialities under one roof. The portrait photographer needs very different services than someone in fashion or the commercial print studio.
I assure you we love photo retouching and post production just as much as you do. Our people get excited to work on new images everyday. ?We have set up teams for each of these specialties: Portraits, Weddings, Fashion, Advertising, Commercial, Products, Architectural, Travel/Landscape, Photo Restoration, Stock etc.
I’d be concerned with the huge number of artisans in your company that there would be variations in the interpretations, and I wouldn’t get a consistent look.
In our teams we dedicate a set of retouchers for each client, to ensure consistency in quality. After the images are retouched, it is then sent to our Quality control department to ensure it meets our clients standards and expectations, if it does not then it is sent back to the retoucher or the QC manager adjusts it and then sends it to the client. We believe in building a relationship rather than just a vendor client equation.
Not just facial retouching, this enhancement of one of my high school senior portraits by ReadyRetouch improves on an already lovely face. While I like my retouching very subtle, note in the after image how the eyes have more depth and sparkle, the skin has a soft glow and the unattractive shadow on the nose has disappeared. The whole face takes on a brighter, more dimensional look without going overboard. How could you do better yourself?
OK, so I’m already intrigued. But help me out with this. Outsourcing might seem to some to fly in the face of so much negative press about jobs going off shore.
It’s true that outsourcing has helped many companies around the world to reduce their costs and yet provide quality services. We all in our personal lives outsource something or the other (laundry/dry cleaning, cooking, book keeping, etc) and thus we can be free to focus on our core responsibilities.
You’re right. Apple is a good example of this. The design and genius are all American, while a significant amount of the hardware build is outsourced. The analogy is that the photographer is the artistic innovator, the genius if you will; I can see ReadyRetouch as your helpers behind the scenes who put production on the map quickly and economically.
Hard to convince? Try ReadyRetouch out for free before you buy!
Next in the series: Understanding the outsourcing culture and how to make it work for you.