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Photoshop for Profit
Insider strategies for making money from your Photoshop skills.
Photoshop For Profit
© Copyright 2010 New Media Entertainment Ltd. Copyrighted material. All rights reserved. No reproduction, reselling,reprinting, or republishing, in whole or in part, is permitted. ISBN-10: 1609350006 ISBN-13: 978-1609350000 There is no warranty as to the accuracy of the material contained herein and it may not be relied upon for any purpose. Photoshop is a trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated. Neither New Media Entertainment Ltd nor the editors of Photopreneur are associated or affiliated with Adobe Systems Incorporated. THE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DESCRIBED IN THIS EBOOK ARE FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. ANY EXAMPLES AND ADVICE GIVEN IN THIS EBOOK SHOULD NOT TO BE CONSTRUED
TO GUARANTY ECONOMIC SUCCESS. DUE TO MANY VARIABLE RISKS, YOU MUST MAKE YOUR OWN INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT AS TO THE VIABILITY OF ANY BUSINESS TRANSACTION. EVEN IF YOU FOLLOW THE ADVICE GIVEN IN THIS EBOOK, YOU MAY NOT MAKE ANY MONEY AND
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INDEED, MAY SUFFER LOSSES. Cover photo: istock © Vlingva Book design by DesignForBooks.com
Introduction SELLING PHOTOSHOP PRODUCTS ON ZAZZLE AND ETSY 1
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1.1 Creating Commercial Designs and Products on Zazzle 1.2 Selling Photoshop Art on Etsy 2 IMAGE RETOUCHING
2.1 Selling Retouching Services through a Website 2.2 Using Flickr to Market Retouching Services 2.3 Photo Retouching for Photography Assistants 3
MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS
3.1 Digital Images as Microstock Elements 3.2 And Microstock Elements as Digital Images 4
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CREATING—AND SELLING—PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES
4.1 Giving Away the Brush 4.2 Charging for the Brush
4.3 Selling Brushes through MediaSlap 5 BECOMING A FORENSIC PHOTOSHOPPER
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5.1 What is Photoshop Forensics? 5.2 Breaking into Police Work . . . and Defense Work 5.3 The Costs of Image Analysis Conclusion
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The rise of digital photography and the Internet have completely changed the relationship between the commercial world and photographers. Once the ability to sell licenses to use images could only be done through exclusive stock companies which took their pick of the top photographers and paid them a set royalty. Today anyone can submit images to microstock sites and receive commissions each time they’re used.
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Once marketing even the most basic of photography services meant creating a physical portfolio and spending large sums on advertising. Today anyone can upload their images to a website and bring in potential clients to look at them.
Adobe Photoshop. N e x t Pa g e – + 2 We’ll begin by discussing a couple of options that allow Photoshop users to create products out of their designs. and devote as much or as little time as they want to a hobby that can bring in revenues. artists and creative individuals.TRODUCTION And where once only professionals could earn money from their photographic skills. so Professional professional design tools are now owned and design tools used by millions of regular folk. But in the same way that the price of professional cameras have now fallen low enough to be affordable for images. we’re going to look at a number of ways that Photoshop users are generating revenue by using those design skills. played around with layers and created new images with Photoshop’s powerful tools. Those users might not have intended to become designers but as they edited their photographs. INTRODUCTION . is also on the desktops of millions of keen photographers. they inevitably picked up the sorts of skills that designers have made careers out of selling. just as professional photographers still exist. the same thing has happened for graphic designers. are now owned and used by millions of regular folk. To a lesser extent. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e In this ebook. of course. Professional designers still exist. the standard tool for designers. today even part-timers can receive the full financial value of their talent. and sell them with very little effort and practically no overheads.
We’ll then discuss microstock. Etsy is an online store that sells handmade arts and crafts. improve toning and complete a wide range of other procedures that turn an average image into a beautiful picture. And sell them too. and even photo owners can want their portraits improved before being added to marketing material or printing them. Both of those—and more—create opportunities for people who know even just the basics of Photoshop. We’ll describe how some Photoshop users are marketing these enhancement services. and has some useful marketing tools as well. Both offer opportunities for Photoshop users to turn their talents into cash. They smooth the skin. It’s something that photographers do anyway before passing images on to clients or displaying their photos. We’ll then talk about one very specific service that a number of photographers and designers are offering: image retouching. Photographers sometimes need assistants to do this for them. remove blemishes.TRODUCTION Zazzle provides designers with a wide range of products—from posters and calendars to baseball caps and mousepads—on which they can print their creations. Microstock is really aimed at photographers but it also supplies N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 3 INTRODUCTION . now the simplest way for image creators to earn commissions by allowing others to use their work. iron out wrinkles.
N e x t Pa g e – + 4 INTRODUCTION . . Nor is it intended to equip you with new skills and improve your Photoshopping techniques. We’ll reveal how to break in. We’ll tell you how. We’ll explain what sort of work is being created with Photoshop and how they’re being sold. This ebook isn’t meant to turn anyone into a graphic designer. It’s not meant to guide people into new careers or encourage anyone to ditch the day job for a life of Photoshopping. we’ll talk about a very specialized. It’s the sort of work that can help Photoshop experts catch killers . Some creative types. are generating revenue selling brushes. and enable them to charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their services. . contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e It’s simply intended to describe which Photoshop skills are currently being sold. And finally. and how you can sell the image editing skills you’ve picked up too. We assume you already know how to use Photoshop and do so regularly. very interesting— and also very lucrative—use of Photoshop that some people are selling: image analysis.TRODUCTION work created by illustrators—and with a little thought it can sell images that contain a lot of Photoshop too. for example. Photoshop also offers a number of other specialized opportunities. For real enthusiasts.
as far as Adobe is concerned.SELLING PHOTOSHOP AND ETSY 1 P RODUCTS ON ZAZZLE Photoshop has made it easy for anyone with any creative talent to build beautiful images. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 5 That used to be pretty limiting. It’s one thing to create a design that people might want to buy. that would have meant stacking up on white t-shirts. Once you’ve completed your design. it’s quite another to actually make it available for sale. In the past. . printing the design on the front then hoping that enough stores took them and sold them to cover the costs and yield a small profit. you’re on your own. But that’s all Photoshop does.
1. and Etsy to sell your art. In this section. it’s all a great deal easier. we’ll look at how it’s possible to use Zazzle to sell designer products. Creative types with sellable designs have a number of online options that let them build a virtual store and earn commissions for each sale they make.Today.1 Creating CommerCial Designs anD ProDuCts on ZaZZle contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Zazzle lets designers put designs on products from mousepads to skateboards. N e x t Pa g e – + 6 S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY .
For designers. Zazzle offers a risk-free channel to add art to functional objects that people might want to buy. for example. manipulation turn up frequently on t-shirts and mugs. The way the art is produced varies tremendously too and only a small portion of the works available on Zazzle’s products has been created with Photoshop. com. There are however a number of designers who are offering artworks created solely using Photoshop. a program that renders light in images. Artists are able to choose from a giant range of blank items and allow shoppers to purchase those products imprinted with their designs. where his mixture of naïve characterization and unique compositions have won him a following and some of the site’s design awards. while other designs are the result of work with Illustrator or even free imaging programs such as POV-Ray. Each item costs a fixed price and artists can than add whatever profit margin they think the market will bear. The variety of formats is enormous and range from t-shirts and mugs to shoes and ties. is a Russian digital artist who usually makes wallpapers and interface designs which he sells through his site VladStudio. and from posters and calendars to postage stamps and steins.Zazzle is an online superstore for uniquely designed products. On a site that has no selection process—and which as a result can suffer from mediocre work submitted by part-timers looking to earn a few extra bucks—Vlad’s work stands out and provides a good example of how to make the most of Zazzle. if any. Photos with little. Vlad Gerasimov. But he also offers his works on Zazzle. S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 7 .
S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY . The art retains its exclusivity and therefore its value. even when it’s not really appropriate. The image is the thing. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 8 He also chooses his products carefully. Although his work is varied—a range depicting wooden Siberian houses marks a new departure for him—Vlad’s work is instantly recognizable. calendars or t-shirts.com designs are also available on t-shirts. Many of Vlad Gerasimov’s VladStudio. He’s not just another supplier offering more images of cats. Vlad’s work is only available as prints. he’s able to give himself a brand that makes his work easy to remember. There can be a temptation on Zazzle to offer artwork on everything from ties to shoes. not the product on which it’s printed. dogs or flowers. By carving out a small niche. The most important aspect of Vlad’s designs is their uniqueness.
“You need to invite friends. That might be because to achieve high levels of sales. discussions on the site’s forums seem to suggest that $500 a month is a reasonable target to aim for. Although Josh Elman has informed us that there are professional Zazzlers. and not actively marketing on your own. He tags his images to make them easy to find and his About page links to his website where potential buyers can find a wider range of his works and contact him directly. you’ll also have to do a high level of marketing—something that many Zazzlers ignore.” Zazzle.And Vlad also does some important marketing. another store site for creative types. and its open access means that a Photoshop user with a range of high-quality. “[A] common mistake is waiting for people to come and view. distinctive and niched designs should stand out easily. It’s flexible and easy to use. something the site expects artists to do themselves. like CafePress. One complaint that turns up frequently in the Zazzle forums is that the site doesn’t market its services strongly enough.” Josh Elman. But few people are making a great deal of money on Zazzle. It’s that marketing that’s important. people in your communities and start from there. family. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 9 S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY . grants people with Photoshop skills the opportunity to sell their creations as products. It certainly doesn’t market the works of individual contributors. Zazzle’s Head of Marketing has told us.
approaches the issue of art sales from the opposite direction. So while Zazzle will offer shoes and mugs printed with designs.000 sellers. 1. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 10 Etsy. Etsy will offer knitted sweaters. jewelry and glass—as well as artistic prints. They sell a wide range of products of the types that few people might want.2 selling PhotoshoP art on etsy Etsy combines craft with Photoshop Zazzle and other product sites suffer from their image as generalists.1. the items they’re placed on come second and tend to be directly related to the craft itself. S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY .9 million listed items and sales of $35 million in the first eight months of 2008. which boasts 185. emblazoned with unique artworks that many people might enjoy. The art and the craft come first.
The site demands 20 cents for every item listed for a limited time plus a 3. In practice though. S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY – + 11 . and visitors more likely to buy. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e Jen McCleary’s Etsy store (http://www. and makes good use of her profile to promote her own website. it also means that the quality of the items on offer is likely to be higher.php?user_id=95241) offers unique Photoshopped images. many of the same strategies necessary to succeed on Zazzle will also succeed on Etsy.com/shop.5 percent commission in the event of a sale.Etsy also differs in the way that it charges. While that places some of the risk on the seller.etsy.
she’s also one of the more expensive of Etsy’s artists. told us that her first photography sale was made on Etsy as a result of careful and sustained networking in the site’s chat rooms. and her images are recognizable enough—and good enough—to potentially give her a loyal following. chatrooms also appear to function as venues for S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 12 .php?user_ id=5091552).com/profile.Jen McCleary. describes herself as a fine artist and graphic designer. But Etsy also provides another very useful way of building a customer base. for example. at Etsy. she told me that she and her husband were interested in purchasing one of my photos.” she told us. and we always laughed about any and everything that was going on in our lives whether it be personal or Etsy-related. That combination of unique artistry and a connection between Etsy or Zazzle’s store platform and a website is clearly very important. Over about a one-month period I had chatted with this buyer. “One thing I would do is join the chat room that the site has. I was trying to network through the site for about one hour a day.” While other sites tend to use forums as way for artists to exchange ideas. a photographer. One day. Her Etsy store consists of original mixed media art. At $38 for a 10” x 8” print. “At the time. and handmade jewelry too. prints of digital collages and photos. Brandy Valdez (http://www. she’s made good use of her profile to direct users to her website where they can see her full portfolio. Her website too sends visitors back to Etsy to make their purchases.etsy. Like Vlad Gerasimov at Zazzle.
It costs nothing to build an online store and offer digital images as prints. Their weakness is that they rely on the seller to do the marketing. but it can bring in some useful extra income and in an enjoyable way. but investing in networking appears to be one of the more effective strategies.sellers to meet buyers and build the sort of connections that lead to sales—even if those networks do demand a lot of work to cement. It’s not a method that’s likely to make a Photoshop user rich. from creative designer to instant user who doesn’t want to do any more than cut and paste. Linking to a website is one way to do that. which can turn out to be the toughest part of the job. It has to reflect your style so that a buyer has a reason to return to you. calendars or as decorations on anything from t-shirts to ties and shoes. S ELLING P HOTOSHOP P RODUCTS ON Z AZZLE AND E TSY . N e x t Pa g e – + 13 Once you’ve created that portfolio. Building a profitable microstock portfolio takes time. rather than search again from the beginning next time he needs a image. and that’s the subject of the next chapter. That means understanding the figures the site supplies you with. It has to contain the right sort of images—commercial images that can be used rather than admired. you’ll need to be able to track its performance. Josh Elman suggests using email signatures as another. Sites like Zazzle and Etsy provide Photoshop users with a simple way to sell the artworks they create with the program. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e And it should be varied so that you can cash in on every type of microstock buyer.
Once those sales start rolling. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 14 That’s the sort of thing that takes a huge amount of skill and experience—it marks a movement from a seller of Photoshop skills . Cafepress and Etsy will then make it easy for them to begin making sales. Artists will need an idea for an artwork and they’ll need the technical skills to create it. Warner Brothers and Absolut. There’s no reason a talented Photoshop designer couldn’t reach the heights of designers like Chuck Anderson of nopattern. who sells from his own website and whose work has been commissioned by corporations as large as Nike. the sky’s the limit.IMAGE RETOUCHING 2 Selling artistic creations produced on Photoshop is demanding. com. Sites like Zazzle. and once the artist has a market and an understanding of what people are willing to buy.
they’ll also rely on the ability of the service providers to market themselves. for example. Just as there are plenty of creative types trying to make money out of their designs so there’ s Selling retouching no shortage of Photoshop experts selling services relies on the sort of basic retouching services that are beyond the average camera owner Photoshop skills… and are a chore for photographers. as well as photo restoration and special effects such as background changes. services like these rely on their simplicity and speed to generate reasonable amounts of income. montages. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 15 I MAGE R ETOUCHING . That’s happening in a number of different ways. But being able to make sales even in an online store is a pretty good sign that an artist has ability. artwork enhancements and glamorizing. Clearly then. While the range of services themselves might be both broad and easy to identify. Prices begin at just $45 for general retouching while detailed restoration starts at $90. But some Photoshop skills are even easier to sell.com.to top-end graphic designer. offers a range of services that includes general retouching such as removing red eye and smoothing skin. detailed retouching that might include major color correction and digital facelifts. LilacDigital. N e x t Pa g e and marketing know-how.
an active approach that’s likely to impress potential customers. Glenn Feron of GlennFeron.1 selling retouChing serviCes through a Website The standard way to promote services like these is always going to be through a website. for example.com. they can provide real examples of the difference their work can make. It also requires an understanding of Internet marketing. but many of these orders are likely to require specialized services and unique quotes. a pay-per-click advertising system. Google’s AdWords. But even a relatively sophisticated and professional site like Glenn Feron’s appears to lack an affiliate network. Landing clients such as photographers and designers with regular needs though could reduce future work and might be attainable with some carefully targeted marketing. makes his images change as the user mouses over. Glenn Feron demands payment in advance made through the Web. whose prices begin at $70 for retouching one image and rise to $140 per hour. Creating a site like this does take some investment of time. one of the most powerful ways of creating a hands-off marketing system. is likely to bring in some business. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 16 I MAGE R ETOUCHING . effort and money too. That can be very effective. That’s likely to be because retouching services aren’t the sort of thing that can be downloaded from the Internet. Even taking an order then will require effort. Sellers are able to list the services they offer and describe what they can do. while search engine optimization would work as well.2. Most importantly.
Flickr is one option. Although it’s not intended to be a commercial showcase—and in fact. full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 17 Flickr is a photo-sharing website.flickr. an Australian photo retoucher. Photographers who have placed their images on the site I MAGE R ETOUCHING .com/photos/paulpalmas/sets/72157600008803921/). a great deal of business is done through Flickr. has created a Flickr photo stream to show contentS off his work (http://www. 2. the site’s terms state that it’s not to be used for commerce—in practice.2 using FliCkr to market retouChing serviCes Paul Palmas.
Flickr provides three ways of making it clear that your skills are available for hire. Because Flickr’s search engine is relatively clumsy—searches are based on tags. His description makes clear that he is available for hire and includes an email address. I MAGE R ETOUCHING contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 18 . But Flickr can also be a useful marketing channel for Photoshop users with retouching skills to sell. and seen plenty of their pictures licensed to appear in magazines and on book covers. A photo retoucher from Australia. been commissioned by Microsoft. Fail to make use of them and potential clients will be forced to wade through hundreds of images to find samples that show a photo retoucher can do the job.have been asked to shoot ads for corporations as large as Toyota. He even provides a link to his resume.com/ photos/paulpalmas/) makes. Paul has added a few lines of text to the collection’s description— the second place it’s possible to add a marketing message. Flickr allows photographers to organize their images into collections and sets for easy browsing. snappers with old photos that need enhancing and designers browsing for images and in need of people to help make those pictures more usable. Paul has a collection on his photostream called “Portfolio Retouching” where clients can browse through more than 60 before and after examples that show off his work. The site is filled with photographers with large banks of images that need improving. image descriptions and members’ names—for anyone looking to sell through Flickr. that organization becomes very important.flickr. The first is the photostream itself. That’s not a mistake that Paul Palmas (http://www.
lets potential clients then contact him for details. by stating that he is available for hire and works from home. perhaps the most important marketing page on Flickr. told us. Paul could have gone further. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e “I know when I started I was very careful to go around and comment on other people’s photos. But any potential client seeing Paul’s photostream would understand what he offers and would know how to get in touch.” Rebekka Gudsleifdottir. Paul indicates once again that he’s open to offers and describes how he works. Others too may provide detailed descriptions under each image to explain how they improved a picture. included on the profile. successful Flickr members have to use a combination of different methods to draw in visitors. The biggest challenge on Flickr though is getting a photostream seen. It takes time and effort but it’s possible to target carefully so that the returning visitors are more likely to be potential clients than people who appreciate good images. an Icelandic art student who won a commission from Toyota and is one of Flickr’s most successful members. Networking by placing helpful comments on other people’s images so that they’ll visit yours in return is one strategy. Other Flickr members include links to their websites—a valuable way of bringing traffic to more obviously commercial pages.” – + 19 I MAGE R ETOUCHING .And he does the same thing on his profile. You have to drag people back to your photostream. Usually. “You can’t just put your pictures up and leave them there. Although he doesn’t go into detail. His email address. a strategy that Paul only uses on some examples.
Some are clearly going to be more useful than others but some groups appear very helpful indeed. N e x t Pa g e – + 20 Flickr has over 400 groups that mention photo retouching.This image by Frank Aron Gårdsø of Studio Troll I Ord (http://www. “Before and After Photoshop” I MAGE R ETOUCHING . contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Joining and submitting images to groups is another useful way of doing the same thing.com/ photos/studiotrolliord/2580339235/in/pool-beforeafterphotoshop) won some valuable praise on the “Before and After Photoshop” group.flickr.
(http://www. has more than 2. But they can also teach. for example.500 members and 152 discussion threads related to retouching. N e x t Pa g e – + 21 Each day. but his before and after images of a young boy submitted to the “Before and After Photoshop” group generated half a dozen enthusiastic comments of the type that could well persuade a potential client. Frank Aron Gårdsø of Studio Troll I Ord. might not have done this deliberately for example. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e And groups offer one more advantage to Photoshop users hoping to market their skills on Flickr: they affect the chances that the image will be featured on Flickr’s Explore page. for example.com/groups/beforeafterphotoshop). Groups then can quickly bring visitors to a photostream and add comments to images. there’s a good chance that taking part in the discussions would generate a valuable education.com/groups/ retouchmagic). Professional photographers have told us that they learned everything they needed to know by asking advice and following the suggestions they picked up on Flickr groups.000 members and over 6.flickr.flickr. Because Flickr members tend to be generous with their praise—in part because they hope to receive the same in return—submitting before and after images to a group like this becomes a quick way to add testimonials to an image. That suggests that any image submitted to the group is likely to receive wide exposure and plenty of comments. an algorithm automatically chooses a selection of images that are made immediately accessible through a link at the bottom I MAGE R ETOUCHING . “Retouch Magic” (http://www. has over 2. a Norwegian photography business.000 images in its pool. Even if posting samples to the group doesn’t generate sales.
For the photographer. Images placed in groups with large numbers of unsafe photos are regarded as “suspicious” and suffer from a low PEP.com/groups/342504@ N24).) N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 22 I MAGE R ETOUCHING .” he told us. comments and “faves” (marking an image as a favorite) that a picture has received. “safe” (not sexual) and since June 2007. “Views have the minimal weight in the interestingness calculation [and] favorites have slightly higher weight than comments. They also have to be placed in carefully selected groups.” Images also have to be public. a group that only allows non-Photoshopped images and which demands three comments on others’ photos for every submission. The same applies to images posted in more than fifteen to twenty groups or groups that demand comments or faves as a condition of posting (such as “Straight from Camera” (http://www.flickr.of each page on the site. include EXIF data. the result is always a sharp spike in views and comments. a Flickr staffer and one of the people behind the Explore algorithm. According to Serguei Mourachov. the probability that an image will be highlighted on the Explore page (what Serguei calls “PEP”) depends on the number of views. “but we change these numbers about four to five times a year to adjust our algorithm to the current climate of the Flickrverse.
gne?id=39308014@N00). 2.flickr. while most professional photographers are likely to know how to use Photoshop. com/groups/procorner) and its “Assistants Wanted” group (http:// www. a professional photographer and administrator of both Flickr’s “Pro Corner” group (http://www. Flickr can provide a way both to showcase an image retoucher’s technical skills and to market to precisely the sort of market most likely to need them: professional photographers.com/groups_members. not all of them want to use it. That provides a double opportunity. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e assistants who know N e x t Pa g e – + 23 According to David Bean. Many are quite happy to turn over the technical Photography wizardry to their assistants. And like darkroom trays.Used carefully. Photoshop can Photoshop experts who want to both earn money and pick up a valuable double their pay. photography education can pitch themselves to professionals.3 Photo retouChing For PhotograPhy assistants Photo retouching has become as much a part of the photographic process as film development used to be in the days of analog photography. Assistants who want to increase their earning power can brush up on their retouching skills and highlight the technical help they can provide at the interview.flickr. an assistant who can also offer Photoshopping skills can charge as much as double the usual rate: I MAGE R ETOUCHING .
a channel that even Photoshop experts can make use of.“In NYC or LA assistants make anywhere from $250–$350 for a ten-hour day usually. so has the demand for photo retouching services. is just one professional who uses photo retouchers to edit his images before submitting them for licensing.” he told us. Other methods include networking among photography teachers and professionals. Yuri Arcurs.” David’s group can be one way to find jobs like these—and it’s likely that before and after samples in the photostream would be helpful here. “If the person also has skills as digital tech. a leading microstock photographer. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 24 I MAGE R ETOUCHING . sending resumes.) The good news is that as access for professional—or at least semiprofessional—photography has expanded. they can make $500 in some cases. and even cold calling and asking for an interview (although that may have mixed results.
but they’ve also provided new opportunities for anyone with a camera to earn income. Websites that allow photo buyers to download royalty-free images for prices as low as $1 have put pressure on stock prices across the board. not photographers.MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS 3 contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e One of the biggest changes to hit the photography world in the last few years has been the rise of microstock. The companies select images. so previous experience – + 25 .
in fact.236 licenses on iStock MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS . At least two— Colombian-born Andres Rodriquez and Canadian Lise Agné—began their careers as graphic designers and may owe at least part of their success as photographers to the fact that they understand what designers are looking for when they buy images. according to Oleg Tscheltzoff.000 a year from their images. If an image might sell. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 26 This digital image by Alina Pavlova has sold 1. And some are still generating over $200. one of the founders of Fotolia. Although some professional photographers have argued that microstock prices are unreasonably low and fail to take costs into consideration—an accusation that may be true for many parttime photographers for whom any sale is a bonus—top microstock photographers. is that many of those topearners were not professional photographers before they started submitting to microstock. What is surprising however. work full-time and have to recoup their expenses in the same way as any other professional photographer. the site will accept it.isn’t necessary.
For some graphic designers then. doesn’t suit everyone but microstock also offers opportunities for Photoshop experts who just like creating images. Photography. Alina Pavlova offers similar works on iStock. Anson Tsui. creates swirling backgrounds and other abstract images using Photoshop. one opportunity offered by microstock might be the chance to pick up a camera and earn income by creating your own photos. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 27 This background image by Anson Tsui and tagged with the term “Photoshop” has been downloaded 267 times from Fotolia. and sells them on Fotolia. At least one of her images has sold over 1. for example. MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS . of course.100 licenses.
they’re sellable to a diverse range of different buyers. “[T]here are two main types of stock images: elements and finished products. “Design Element” didn’t just describe the image she’d created.” contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 28 MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS . But just as important as the ability to create attractive backgrounds that a market might want to buy is the ability to get them seen. Remember that some photo buyers don’t necessarily know how to process a photo.” Abstract images such as these then are not only sellable as stock. was titled simply “Beautiful Background” but had 44 different keywords. Because the artworks are abstract. “They both sell well as there are different types of buyers. 3. Oleg Tscheltzoff recommends linking directly to a microstock portfolio as one way to bring in buyers. Included in Alina’s keyword list for “Beautiful Background” was one rather telling keyword phrase that went a long way towards widening that range of buyers. they can be associated with a wide range of different terms. It also described one possible use for it. for example.1 Digital images as miCrostoCk elements . . .” “wedding” and “holiday.” “communications. but particularly notable is the diversity of tags associated with Alina’s images.” Andres Rodriguez has told us. including “snow.The success of both of these designers suggests that there is an opportunity here for creative Photoshop users. The image shown at the beginning of this chapter.
Ron Chapple. php?id=731236) has sold a further seven downloads. a single-frame version (http://www. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e 3. It’s enough to create a portion of an image that the buyer can incorporate into his or her own work. It’s even possible to break off elements from a complete picture and sell them separately. anD miCrostoCk elements as Digital images N e x t Pa g e – + 29 But just as it’s possible to break elements out of a picture and sell them separately. Photoshop users might not have the expenses of shoots and models to recover but they will be appealing to a smaller market and one whose demands change quickly.com/file_closeup/healthand-beauty/fashion/732523-multiple-frames.istockphoto.2 . Sergey Galushko. istockphoto. it’s worth bearing in mind that professional stock contributors rarely expect to recoup their investments in their creations immediately.php?id=732523) has sold three downloads.com/file_closeup/isolated-objects/731236-album-page. so it’s also possible to combine elements and sell them as images.That means Photoshop users don’t have to go as far as creating complete pictures in order to make money with microstock. has brought MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS . Amanda Rohde. for example. While neither of those figures sounds particularly impressive. a stock photographer with more than 25 years’ experience has talked of recovering production costs in the first couple of years. for example. with the profits coming in year three. . has created an image showing multiple frames which she sells on iStock. . The four-frame version of her image (http://www.
or hanging it above the horizon. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e And the best thing about a strategy like this is that it’s easy to replicate. Sergey offers several other images which provide a variation on the same theme. and set them against a starry background to create an entirely new picture that has generated 43 downloads.together images of the moon and clouds. Sergey Galushko combines elements to create new pictures that he sells on Fotolia. – + 30 MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS . placing the moon behind clouds or trees.
Five of Sergey’s moon images have sold 68 downloads altogether. it is possible to supply pictures that sell thousands of licenses—and pick up some healthy revenue by playing with Photoshop. the income from one idea can be impressive. who can sell their video clips and sounds.Even if the number of downloads for each image then is disappointing because creating additional. And it’s an opportunity too for Photoshop users who want to create images. who can sell their vectors. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 31 MICROSTOCK FOR PHOTOSHOP EXPERTS . while two images that show just the starry background. similar images might not require a great deal of additional effort. While the relatively small size of the market might make it difficult for designers to make the same sort of income from microstock as top photographers. allowing buyers to add their own foreground. backgrounds and elements. Microstock is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for filmmakers and musicians. It’s an opportunity for photographers. who can sell their photos. It’s an opportunity for illustrators. have received an additional sixteen downloads.
When a creator is also part of the market. but a market of designers—other Photoshop users trying to create images of their own. trying to understand what buyers might agree to purchase shouldn’t be very difficult. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e That can make marketing and product creation a little easier.C REATING — AND SELLING — 4 P HOTOSHOP BRUSH ES Creating elements and making them available for sale on microstock sites puts designs in front of a particular market. Some are also offering – + 32 . N e x t Pa g e But elements and backgrounds aren’t the only products that skilled Photoshop users are selling to designers. It’s not an audience of art-lovers.
a digital artist and a designer with a day job at Agence France Press. – + 33 CREATING —AND SELLING —P HOTOSHOP BRUSHES .1 giving aWay the brush contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e Michelle Kwajafa is a photographer. Michelle’s website. These include Photoshop Brushes by Centric Studios (www. a public photo archive. Michelle has created from images downloaded from MorgueFile. Photoshop brushes which centricpropaganda. Kwajafa. Her artworks are a combination of photographic collages and textured backgrounds that create images that are both surreal and decorative.com). small designs that can be easily incorporated into other pictures. They aren’t always demanding a fee though. offers her artworks as prints but also provides a number of items for free.brushes.com. 4.
there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in purchasing other valuable tools— such as elements—and they’ll also browse the creator’s artworks. and you’ll be offered almost 90. N e x t Pa g e – + 34 CREATING —AND SELLING —P HOTOSHOP BRUSHES . That might not be the sort of activity that’s likely to lead directly to revenue but it can be rewarding in itself. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e But as always when the size of the free market makes choice difficult. suppliers can stand out and demonstrate their quality by demanding a fee for their products. including many with thousands of free tools on offer. More importantly from Michelle’s point of view is that they give back to the Photoshop community. help to raise a designer’s profile and build networks.Brushes offered like this provide a couple of advantages to the people who supply them. But they’re also extremely useful for other designers which means that a good collection of sets can give a supplier a useful position in the market. If other designers actually find the brushes helpful. Search for “free Photoshop brushes” on Google. Giving away brushes might also appear to be sensible considering the level of competition.000 websites. They’re simple to create and can be easily adapted from existing images. adding to word-of-mouth marketing. Michelle herself was one of the designers invited to take part in “Photoshop Tennis: The Book” (available for sale at Amazon) and her long link list suggests that she’s well connected.
contributors can provide a link to Paypal and request a donation in return for a set.4. allows anyone to upload their brushes and make them available for anyone to use.2 Charging For the brush Brusheezy. one that also offers printing services that designers might want to use. Microstock companies might sell single images for $1 but Centric Studios charges the same price and delivers a set of 175 brushes. this. CREATING —AND SELLING —P HOTOSHOP BRUSHES Centric Studios uses Brusheezy to sell sets of 175 Photoshop contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 35 . But even that has a value. for example. The fees—and not everyone asks for them— are usually fairly low. the benefit of charging for these brushes is more likely to be the chance to show work to a targeted market than the odd dollar the company might earn for a sale.com. While there’s no way to set up a passive payment and delivery system on the site. For a design brushes for a buck each—and to promote its services among company like designers.
com. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 36 Jason Gaylor created this design using his Japanese Foliage Set. there are plenty of designers willing to pay the price even though there are also plenty of other brushes available elsewhere on the Web for nothing. Showing buyers exactly what they can do with your brushes can be a very effective marketing method. 30 Japanese foliage brushes can be bought for $14. CREATING —AND SELLING —P HOTOSHOP BRUSHES . Judging by the comments on Jason’s blog. brushes and PNG files through his site DesignFruit.More useful as an example for individual designers looking to earn income though is the approach taken by Jason Gaylor.99. The prices for these are more realistic and vary depending on the designs. a designer who offers vectors.99. A set of fifteen Valentine-themed brushes costs $11.
The company pays 60 percent of the sales and licensing prices to the contributor.4.3 selling brushes through meDiaslaP Jason Gaylor’s MediaSlap lets brush sellers license their work painlessly.com. MediaSlap is new—it was launched at the beginning of August 2008—but the fact that it already includes brushes that have been CREATING —AND SELLING —P HOTOSHOP BRUSHES – + 38 . contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e But brush-sellers don’t have to copy Jason because he has now launched MediaSlap. Designers are able to contribute their brush sets. a kind of stock agency for Photoshop products. leaving MediaSlap to handle the sales and licensing on their behalf.
” he recommends. Jason says. and ornamental type stuff. The site even allows clients to contact MediaSlap to request exclusively licensed. And even though there are plenty of them available for free—one way of building a brand and a name in the design community—it is still possible to generate revenue from them. custom brush sets. Photoshop brushes may take little time to produce and can be fun to create. entertainment and scrapbooking suggests that it’s well-connected enough to bring in high-budgeted buyers. Until that happens. flowers. “Designs that are most likely to sell are clean illustrations of vines. Anyone with even a moderate level of Photoshop skill can do it. photography. They require far fewer technical skills than Photoshop plugins—another valuable Photoshop product—and far more creativity. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 39 CREATING —AND SELLING —P HOTOSHOP BRUSHES .licensed for use in advertising. floral designs and decorative elements are the types with the highest chance of doing well.
involves analyzing images and film footage from crime scenes to bring out hidden details and . In return. But there are services that Photoshop experts can offer that require a relatively high level of expertise. Some. they deliver work that’s important. such as retouching. will require a certain amount of creativity. for example. Others.BECOMING A FORENSIC P HOTOSHOPPER 5 None of the methods we’ve looked at so far make huge demands of anyone skilled in Photoshop. rewarding and can be highly remunerative too. N e x t Pa g e full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 40 Forensic image work. such as creating microstock designs or brushes. demand technical ability. contentS All can be improved with marketing knowledge.
. described to us one homicide case that he worked on in California. His story was that they parted ways in the lot and he drove away. sometimes. A detective looks over the shoulder of an image expert who closes in on a pixel somewhere in the picture. Forensic Photoshopping can help you to solve murders. they were obscured by shadow so you really couldn’t see enough to refute his testimony. a strong stomach too. Jim Hoerricks. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 41 “The case involved the suspect and the victim going from the casino into the parking lot. revealing incredible detail. a law enforcement officer who is also a court-qualified expert witness in Forensic Video Analysis. He enlarges it to reveal a white blur. the field can represent one of the peaks of Photoshop selling. It can be difficult work that requires not just a solid understanding of image analysis but also a working knowledge of the law surrounding evidence and. But I was able to remove most of the shadow.help the police with their investigations. BECOMING A F ORENSIC PHOTOSHOPPER . The reality is not so different. The problem was that as they moved away from the building.1 What is PhotoshoP ForensiCs? They turn up in just about every police movie. then enhances it to expose the murder weapon hidden at the crime scene. 5. For Photoshop users willing to collect those skills sets though. . Her body was never found .
“As it turned out. He describes the workflow on his blog “Forensic Photoshop” (http://forensicphotoshop. and the biological evidence found in the car. Then it’s off to disk and archive.” To clarify the MPEG2 surveillance video. “I can interpolate up to letter size. “From this point. the victim’s body has never been found. I look at the output device and do a final round of sharpening. It provided the link between him. To the best of my knowledge. at BECOMING A F ORENSIC PHOTOSHOPPER .com) and in a book available from Blurb. or large format exhibits. a jury convicted him of murder. Jim may then do a round of creative sharpening and deal with noise on the image. a program whose enhancement tools have Photoshop as their foundation. which may be analog video.blogspot. his car. Ultimately. it depends on the detectives / attorneys. and he created a forensic workflow that other analysts can use to get to grips with the process. a print-on-demand publishing service. After those initial stages. His workflow though depends on the source file. addresses color issues and lighting issues such as color casts or white balance then turns his attention to local areas of light and color to see if any improvements can be made there. they didn’t part ways.” he explains. Some images will need more or less of one thing or another so each case is unique. digital video or still image.” contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 42 Jim was the founder in 2001of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Forensic Video/Image Analysis lab. tabloid. etc. He first corrects for the sort of focus problems that are typical of CCTV footage. Jim used Adobe’s Premier Pro.
” If that sounds like a skill set beyond the usual level of image manipulation.” The result should be the essential technical skills that someone would need to do this sort of work. he says.” Jim says. The book. Those are rates that he describes as about average. as well as the “forensics of oration and debate. it’s still one worth having for Photoshop users interested in doing this sort of work. Jim himself is classed as a Police Surveillance Specialist and works for the City of Los Angeles.com/bookstore/detail/196812. but he also has a private practice in which he charges $350 per hour for lab time and $450 per hour for court time.http://www. Photographers and designers hoping to break into forensic Photoshop will also need to understand the legal and ethical aspects of the work. is aimed at users of all levels and teaches “a comprehensive workflow—a reliably repeatable pattern of activity enabled by a systematic organization of resources that can be documented and learned. how it was accomplished. That’s because much of the pay comes not from the work itself but from knowing how to do it and being able to explain it in court. “I wanted to present a work that would aid the Photoshop user in looking at a workflow for processing images in a forensic science setting whilst preparing him/her to be able to testify about what was done. and why the chosen method was the most appropriate way to go. BECOMING A F ORENSIC PHOTOSHOPPER contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 43 . plus expenses. But other sorts of skills are necessary too.blurb.
They also offer “Electronic Forensic Sciences and Image Analysis. Winning private work then. is a UK-based forensic analysis firm whose services range from DNA and Drugs and Toxicology to Fingerprints and Firearms. N e x t Pa g e – + 44 BECOMING A F ORENSIC PHOTOSHOPPER . either as an analyst or an expert witness.5.uk).” The company has a handful of scientists on its staff and also employs external consultants to cover other specialties. Become an expert witness for law firms.h-a. especially without good connections but there are some private companies offering image analysis services. photographers and designers are well suited to forensic image work because they tend to have a good knowledge of color and light. Hayward Associates (http://www. anD DeFense Work According to Jim Hoerricks. it is possible to learn something from the firm’s marketing. Many people who do forensic Photoshop though have no experience at all. They’re assigned to their work by their police command. is likely to be difficult.co. . which might need someone who can learn the ropes and supply the service.2 breaking into PoliCe Work . They’re also likely to understand lensing and optics. . contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e While there are unlikely to be too many firms like this willing to take on image analysis experts on a consultancy basis. for example. both important for understanding what’s on the screen.
contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Working out the cost/benefit ratios of studying and traveling however is fairly simple. specialist work that can take time and may involve travel. They also need to know how to present what they find in court. of course. The level of expertise has to be high. but rather at law firms looking for expert witnesses. Analysts need to know how to handle an image. “Established in 1984.” BECOMING A F ORENSIC PHOTOSHOPPER . 5.Hayward Associates doesn’t to aim its advertising at police departments. But it comes at a price. especially on a freelance basis.” Jim Hoerricks warns. skills that can be learned with the help of Jim Hoerricks’ workflow. Harder to estimate is the effect that looking at images of crime scenes can have on someone’s health. we provide a comprehensive and confidential service to members of the legal profession and to others who may require the services of a Forensic Scientist. N e x t Pa g e – + 45 “Police images can be very disturbing.” says the company’s website blurb.3 the Costs oF image analysis Image analysis is likely to be one of the highest paying services a Photoshop expert can provide. Advertising to lawyers may be a much easier model for Photoshop experts to follow than asking a Police Chief if he needs any imaging work done. “It’s not a Rambo movie—it’s a real dead person.
he adds. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 46 BECOMING A F ORENSIC PHOTOSHOPPER . can lead to “Vicarious Trauma” or “Compassion Fatigue” which in turn can cause post-traumatic stress disorder and even depression. it’s not something that the average Photoshop user will be able to market easily. Image analysis is clearly skilled work. For advanced Photoshop users though—and for those serious about joining them—it does provide an opportunity to make serious money out of serious work. Without some careful training and abd understanding what’s involved. Jim says.Ignoring the effects of looking at police images. A good support structure is vital for your creativity and your sanity.
And amateur photographers and camera owners are able to make use of a top-of-the-range image editing program that’s an essential tool for professional designers.C ONCLUSION One of the biggest changes to affect the commercial world in the last few years has been the professionalization of what were previously considered hobbies. Photoshop can open up all sorts of money-making opportunities. we’ve looked at five of the ways that Photoshop users are doing just that. In this ebook. Weekend strollers beat the pavement in professional hiking boots. contentS For those who invest time in learning how to use that program. N e x t Pa g e full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 47 We began by looking at two online services that provide creative types with a platform to sell their works. Zazzle lets them place . Home cooks now chop their vegetables with chef’s knives that cost hundreds of dollars.
While it’s unlikely that either of the services will bring in the sorts of revenues that will allow a Photoshop user to drop the day job and focus on their artworks. And we also pointed out that adding Photoshop skills to the sort of help provided by photography assistants can double the assistant’s pay while still giving him the sort of on-the-job training that will lead to bigger and better things. He has also been able to drop his graphic design work and do nothing but create wallpapers on Photoshop. They can do that by creating complete images that buyers can use without further manipulation CONCLUSION contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 48 . Vlad Gerasimov. For more commercially-minded Photoshop users.their designs on usable objects such as mugs and t-shirts. Etsy lets them sell their designs as works of art. These are marketed through websites that can demonstrate clearly the difference the retouching makes but also through Flickr. he has received work from ad agencies and print production companies around the world. where the services can be aimed at photographers and image users— exactly the sort of people most likely to need them. microstock can let them cash in on the same opportunity that photographers have been enjoying for several years. it is possible to use them as additional revenue sources. who sells his designs through his own website earns about 10 percent of his income on sites like Zazzle. Paul Palmas has told us that as a result of showing his portfolio on Flickr. We then discussed how Photoshop users are selling one of the most common—and most demanded—services supplied by image experts: image retouching.
the rewards can be very high indeed. But for anyone with Photoshop on their desktop. Both methods. a practice that might now become a great deal easier thanks to MediaSlap. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 49 CONCLUSION . small ready-made designs that can be easily incorporated into larger images. work. There are plenty of other ways of earning with Photoshop. And finally. these five different options represent five different opportunities to make the most of their professional image tool. a kind of stock site for Photoshop brushes. An alternative way to help designers though is by offering brushes. This is difficult work that requires a skill set both broad and specialized but for those willing to acquire them. we discussed what’s likely to be one of the highestpaying Photoshop-based services: forensic image analysis.or by offering elements that let designers build their own images. we’ve been told. of course. including traditional graphic design—the reason most professionals use the program. These are often given away free as a form of marketing but they can also be sold.
com Available from Amazon .photopreneur.Featured Titles from Photopreneur www.