How Much Should I Charge for Photo Retouching?

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Getting the most appealing photos doesn’t stop after pressing the shutter button. Although people may overlook the amount of money and time you spend trying to make the photo aesthetically appealing, you might make several rounds during post-processing. So, how much should I charge for photo retouching?

How Much Should I Charge for Photo Retouching?

You should charge around $85 to $150 per hour, $5 to $50 per image, or $80 to $250 for a larger discounted project. Even if prices may vary depending on the correction and quality the client desires, your charges should be equivalent to your skill level and experience.

A woman retouching photos

Although some photographers retouch the photos themselves, some adjustments require professional editors and specialized photo-editing applications. Whether you are charging per photo, per hour, or as a project, you can charge the following rates depending on the number of photos, hours, and project size.

Rates per Hour

Establishing an hourly rate allows you to easily compute for remote or on-site work. Working on-site is beneficial as the company can see how time-consuming the edits are. On average, hourly rates can range between $85 to $120 per hour.

However, some clients may not know how long it can take to edit one photo and expect you to retouch a huge number of photos within one hour. Therefore, it is advisable to give the following hourly breakdown depending on the level of retouching needed.

  • Advanced retouching: Normally, the prices for advanced level ranges from $100 to $120 per hour. This applies where the client requires detailed retouching, such as color correction.
  • Basic retouching: If the client requires minimal retouches, you can charge around $50 to $85 per hour.
  • Complex retouching: Some high-end editing, such as coloring a black and white photo, may require extensive retouches, and the prices can range between $120 to $150 per hour.

Rates per Project

Most seasoned photographers charge flat rates when working on large collections of images. For instance, you can use this approach when working on a large collection of fashion, product, and wedding photographs.

However, you can risk your effort and time falling away if the project exceeds your expected time. Since clients expect you to include retouching and editing in your pricing proposal, the following is an estimate of photo retouching charges for every project:

  • Extensive retouching: The prices for complex retouches can range from $150 to $250, depending on the number of pictures.
  • Advanced retouching: You should charge from $100 to $200 depending on the complexity of the photos.
  • Basic retouching: Depending on the number of photographs you are editing, the cost of basic photo retouching ranges from $80 to $100 as you can apply group edits.

Rates per Image

The cost per image varies depending on the intricacy of retouching and correction, making it a precise way of estimating how much money you should charge on every image.

Although a picture may take longer than expected, making you work for less, you can use the following tips to determine how much to charge per image:

  • Basic level: You should charge between $5 to $10 per photograph for simple retouches.
  • Advanced retouching: You should charge around $15 to $25 for images that do not require extensive work.
  • Complex retouching: If you are doing extensive retouches on images shot for special functions such as corporate occasions and business events, the prices can range from $30 to $50 per photograph.

Factors That Determine Your Photo Retouching Rates

Photo retouching rates may vary depending on the photo-editing software pricing, level of skills, and the complexity of the edits. The following factors can guide you on how much to charge for image retouching, depending on your turnaround time and location.


The average income of your client tends to vary with the location. Usually, a client with a good income will have more to spend on photo editing projects. Targeting clients from locations with the highest average wage increases your chances of getting good pay.

An image of woman retouching photo

Turnaround Time

Generally, the faster the customer requires retouching, the higher the rate. Before pricing the retouching job, it is advisable to ask for the deadlines so you can price accordingly.

Related Questions

How Does Retouching Differ From Editing?

Photo editing involves minor adjustments to your images, including minimal color correction and simple light adjustments. On the other hand, retouching is the art of using different tools to enhance the appearance of an image. It comprises spot removal, whitening teeth, and background compositing.

How Long Should I Take To Retouch an Image?

Depending on the complexity of the photo, retouching a landscape, street, or product photo takes about 10 minutes, and a basic portrait takes around 20 minutes. However, the amount of time required to edit a picture varies depending on the niche of the photo and the client’s demands.

Final Thoughts

Usually, good retouching skills and expertise will result in appealing photos and attract good pay. Knowing how much to charge to edit photos depending on the complexity will help you avoid overpricing or underpricing. You can also discount large projects such as wedding photos.