How Much Does It Cost to Use a Portrait Retouching Service?

Wondering how much it costs to get your portraits professionally retouched? I feel you. Nowadays, looking your best in photos is so important for your personal brand and business. But hiring a pro editing service isn’t cheap.

As a professional editor, I’ve worked with my share of retouching studios over the years. I know firsthand how the rates can vary. In this article, I’ll break down the typical pricing models and factors that affect costs, so you know what to expect and budget for your project.

How Much Does It Cost to Use a Portrait Retouching Service?

How Portrait Retouching Editing Works?

Before we dive into costs, it’s important to understand what portrait retouching entails. This specialized editing focuses on enhancing portraits of people. The goal is to minimize imperfections and emphasize the subject’s best features. Common portrait retouching services include:

Headshots & Face Retouching

This targets the face and head area. The retoucher may reshape or smooth facial features, even out skin tone, minimize blemishes/wrinkles, whiten teeth and eyes, and sharpen overall appearance. The subject looks their best but still natural.

Beauty & Glamour Retouching

Takes facial enhancement further for beauty and fashion shoots. In addition to basic edits, this may involve digital makeup, increasing contrast around eyes and lips, removing bags under eyes, etc. Allows complete control over the model’s look.

Body Retouching & Reshaping

Focuses on perfecting the body rather than just the face. Some examples are slimming the waist, toning arms and legs, enhancing muscle definition, and evening out skin tone across the body.

Digital Airbrushing

Gives skin an ultra-smooth polished look, as if real airbrushing makeup was applied. Removes blemishes, evens tone reduces pores, and can create a glowing effect. Often used in beauty shots.

These represent the primary services offered by most portrait retouching companies. The specific techniques used will depend on the photo’s intended use and client preferences. Now let’s look at the typical pricing models.

Cost of Portrait Retouching Service

Compared to traditional photo retouching services, the portrait retouching service costs more. Generally, portraits are way more complex than ordinary pictures and huge work needs to be done to get the perfect output. If you check out the services, you will see that the photo retouching service starts from around $0.39 only, whereas the portrait retouching service starts from $1 or even more

Portrait retouching services mainly bill in one of three ways: per image, hourly rate, or project-based pricing. Here is an overview of each model and typical cost range:

Per Image

This is the most common billing method. The client pays a fixed rate per photo edited, regardless of the time required. For headshots and basic facial retouching, expect to pay anywhere from $2 to $10 per photo. The rate varies based on the extent of retouching needed and provider quality.

More complex portrait retouching will be on the higher end, around $20 to $30 per image. Most providers offer discounts for bulk orders of 10+ images. This allows significant cost savings compared to single image rates.

Hourly Rate

If you are looking for an hourly rate then you can get in touch with freelancer editors on popular platforms like Fiverrm UpWork, and so on. The cost can be between $12 to yo $25, depending on the type of retouching you want, and how complex your sample is! This model is suitable for complex projects or if you require ongoing retouching services.


For large assignments with many images, some providers quote a project price rather than per photo or hourly rate. This cost is negotiated based on the project’s unique specifications, such as the number of photos, types of retouching, turnaround needs, usage rights, etc.

Though the price is customized, clients can likely get a small bulk discount over the per-image rate through a bundled project quote. This pricing works well for defined assignments like ad campaigns, magazine spreads, or product launches needing extensive perfecting.

These standard pricing models cover most scenarios. However, the final cost depends on multiple factors covered next.

So How the Pricing Model of Retouching Portrait Image Services is Done?

While the models above provide general guidelines, many variables impact portrait retouching costs:

Complexity of Edits

The complexity and extent of the edits greatly affect the price. Simple changes like removing blemishes, whitening teeth, or minor skin smoothing can be relatively affordable. These basic jobs may only take 5-10 minutes per image.

But significant body reshaping, digital makeup, wrinkle removal, evening out uneven skin tone, etc. is far more complex and time-consuming. Such advanced editing could take 1-2 hours per photo, hence the much higher cost.

Number of Images

Larger orders with multiple images tend to cost less per photo compared to singles. Most retouching services offer significant bulk discounts beyond 5-10 images. The savings start around 10% for 5-10 photos and increase up to 30% for orders of 50+ images. However, it can vary from different organizations. Some may offer you 40% off for bulk orders or some may offer 10% off!

Processing more photos allows studios to work more efficiently. So the average cost per image drops as the volume increases, while still maintaining their projected profit margins.

Turnaround Time

Rushed delivery with tight deadlines comes at a premium. Most projects take a few days to over a week for proper editing care. But “rush jobs” needed in 24 hours or less can boost the rate per image by 50% or more. Faster turnaround allows less time for careful refinement too.

Planning ahead and allowing standard timeframes can significantly reduce costs. Only request rushed delivery if absolutely essential for your needs.

By understanding these key factors, you can better estimate costs and budget for your specific portrait retouching requirements.

Summing Up

Thanks for sticking with me to the end! I hope this gave you a solid idea of what goes into portrait retouching rates. I tried to cover all the basics in a straightforward way. Let me know if you have any other questions – I’m happy to help out. Appreciate you taking the time to read my guide. Have an awesome day!

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