A photographer learned the hard way that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Irene Rudnyk has been a photographer for more than a decade. She specializes in feminine portraiture.
Being immersed in the photography community for so long, she noticed a growing trend: photographers hiring freelance photo editors to retouch their photos. Rudnyk decided to conduct an experiment to see how this new trend is affecting the industry.
"I decided to go with three different freelancers that were at different price points, but I made sure all of them had 5-star ratings, as I wanted to give it a fair chance," Rudnyk said in a video. She ended up hiring retouchers who charged $0.25, $5, and $10 per photo.
First, Rudnyk purposefully chose an image she thought would be easy to edit. Here's the image:
Credit: Irene Rudnyk
"I chose this image as because it's actually pretty easy to edit, in my opinion," she said in a video about the experiment. "She has really, really good skin, and there's not much that needs to be done to the image except for a lot of color correcting."
Here is the prompt she gave the editors: "I would like if you made this image very vibrant, warm. Clean skin, bright eyes, and make her hair look more red, so it matches the background. Also, I trust your judgment on making this image look beautiful."
Rudnyk said that she didn't expect a masterpiece, but "hoped for decent edits since all re-touchers had nothing but good reviews."
Rudnyk said she had high hopes for this editor because he cost the most, but ultimately she was disappointed. She explained in her video that although the image appears to be vibrant, the skin tone is "really, really bad."
Her mid-range retoucher charged $5, and the results weren't all that different.
"The second and third image was kind of disappointing," she said. "Obviously, they were great when we compare them to the first edit. But they were in no way professional. Just proves that you get what you pay for."
But the cheapest editor ― who charged $0.25 ― left her speechless. Rudnyk learned that if she wants a perfectly edited photo, she has to do it herself.