For All Those Who HATE Doing Photo Montages

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    • #43399

      Send ’em to me! All kidding aside, there’s money to be made in photo montage production, you just need to streamline your production process, speed up your delivery times and keep your services affordable. A montage ONLY production operation, at minimum, can reasonably expect to gross more than $40K a year. Not bad wages in this economy. And NO, not everybody wants to D.I.Y.

    • #182210

      I tend to take my time with montages. That said, mine are mostly friends and family, so they don’t pay full price.

      I actually enjoy weaving the stories together. I definitely agree that there’s money to be made…

    • #182211

      Interestingly enough, Ed, “taking your time” with photo montage production doesn’t necessarily result in a superior product. There are solid creative elements involved that can be achieved in a timely fashion, resulting in a better quality montage than one done cookie cutter, in a hurry or by taking time.

      The concept of investing a LOT of time into ANY video project making it a better one, or even a masterpiece often results in a law of diminishing returns. After doing hundreds, if not thousands, of these over the past 15 years I’ve found ways to reduce the amount of time necessary to create a quality montage production that reflects experience and creative content in spite of its faster production time.

      NOT that there’s a single thing WRONG with doing them for family and friends, doing them for less or taking more time to do them. Just that in order to make this a viable and profitable commercial venture some kind of production formula is needed to prevent bottlenecks, production pressure and taking too long to turn them around.

    • #182212

      I think what we’re discussing here is “billable” time. I’ll often spend more time that usual on a project that really interests me, or that presents problems that will teach me something when I solve them. But I’m careful to make a distinction between what I can bill the client in good conscience and what I could bill the client for actual time spent.

      Example: A recent photo montage included a stunning picture of one of the many Medieval towns in England. Right across the center of the picture were phone and electrical wires and a phone pole mid- picture. I didn’t have to spent the hour it took to remove these, but it gave me a lot of satisfaction doing it well and the client — to whom I pointed it out and said I didn’t charge for doing this — thought this was over the top. She has subsequently sent us two clients whose work brought in quite a bit more money.

      Sometimes good deeds do go unpunished! And I’ve got a pretty good idea of how much time is involved in this kind of removal and I’ll know what to charge for it.



    • #182213

      Photodex Proshow make it a breeze..


    • #182214

      For montages are very good in events where you can”t get much video or you need to show the most content in the least amount of time. For montages I use sony EZmovie it has presents that have a theme. What I do is make a couple diffrent montages with different themes and topics. Then I put them together add text, borders, animations in premierie pro.

      ( I forgot to add before all this Ido some touch-ups in photoshop.)

    • #182215

      Montages are easy to do in Adobe Premiere Elements 8 as well. Really,

      much easier than a video. Individual pictures would be cleaned up in

      Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 in my case.

    • #182216

      Here’s where it gets interesting:

      Without beating a horse to death here and F.Y.I. to some of the other post responders, I do in fact do a little “no charge” stuff, depending on the situation and still within a FASTER turnaround time than the average, based on the MANY comments I get from clients (MORE on THAT later), like some color correction, removing red-eye, lint, straightening or cropping sloppy scans, etc.

      Just finished a montage project received entirely by e-mail and/or a Dropbox folder I set up for the client, and e-mail messages and phone consultations, of course. Went QUITE A BIT over my usual limits for accommodating and educating, based on my already really low pricing schedule for these. WHY? Customer service. New client. From a GREAT area that has promise for MORE, and hopefully less stressful business opportunities in an affluent area full of yacht clubs, golf clubs and more expensive homes that get remodeled on an every-two-year basis than you can ever imagine. And the client was very, very pretty and very, very appreciative (as were her sisters) of all my efforts 😉 just sayin’

      I KNOW they were “pretty” because I SAW their photos, OK?

      What started out as “e-mailing a FEW additional photos ASAP and dropping off the bulk of the original photos and music CD” and agreeing to pick up the finished product TONIGHT, changed just as soon as I said “SURE, e-mail a few” gave drop-off instructions, directions, etc.

      Turns out ALL the images were e-mailed not by ONE person, but from SIX different sources from ALL OVER the country. All were a hodgepodge of PDF, PNG, BMP, HUGE TIF and less than 30 percent the requested/required JPEG files. I firmly believe the original client contact IS/WAS not trying to ream me, but was woefully ignorant of


      HOW TO READ (full instructions were provided: yes, I prepared and revise and provide complete worksheet, HOW TO PREPARE guidelines and a basics of scanning single sheet paper … more revision gonna be required I can see, BUT THEY DON’T READ THIS STUFF even as simple, straightforward and one-page as it may be) They instead, prefer to e-mail or call and so …


      THEY DON’T READ, so again with HOW TO READ … lazy, comes to mind. In general, the people I’ve worked with over the years HATE to read no matter HOW simple or succinct the information might be.

      We got it ALL, I think, worked out and I finally processed all this hodgepodge of images (many of them duplicates from different sources, so I picked the best starting image from wherever. I HAD to convert, change size and resolution, blah, blah, blah to make the creation part of the montage (MY FAVORITE part) more palatable.

      But ONLY after MUCH more time than I usually allow for hand-holding, again for the above-stated reasons of possible future business (WITH CHANGES IN billing and policies).

      NOW WHAT? WEll, after a few calls earlier this evening, trying to figure out HOW to acquire, download and BURN a DVD from my electronic file in their Dropbox project folder, I get to get up in a few hours so I can deliver the product on DVD, complete with custom DVD graphics and inserts for the cases TO HER YACHT CLUB by 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.

      I upped my fee for this “basic” montage from $125 to $150, and the primary client is/was SO appreciative she’s going to give me a check for $175 to show her appreciation for probably $600 worth of time and work ;-). Feeling responsible for NOT anticipating all the weird stuff, even though they didn’t and wouldn’t have read it all anyway, nor absorbed my verbal instructions on the phone, I GAVE A LOT and didn’t fuss, muss or jack up my prices.

      I did, however, MUMBLE a lot while doing the project, and after a phone bout here and there, or weird e-mail problem, and not kindly, mind you. They’re gonna LOVE the montage!

      Oh, and one of the sisters appreciated it so much she opted for a copy to be delivered along with the regular order, but inquired if it would be “any cheaper” if she let (LET) me deliver it without graphics and in a plain paper sleeve. NOPE!

      Oh, and “THE COMPANY” or maybe the original client’s YACHT CLUB, is paying for it. OUCH! I thought I was helping out some poverty-stricken rich people. No indictment here, just noting.

      That part about delivery times that I said I’d get back to later? Well, the sister who was also very complimentary, offered to save herself a bundle by purchasing a DVD without graphics and in a paper sleeve, DID express surprise that though the materials and stuff didn’t start FLOWING in (did I mention 14.1 MB TIF files, sent one at a time, until I mentioned they should rescan what they hadn’t already sent in jpeg and use Dropbox)

      anyway, that all this was accomplished within about three days, mixing other work that came in and a funeral this Friday morning that included montage projection as well, saying: “When I had a montage done for my son’s wedding the videographer needed SEVERAL months to complete it and that was for ONLY 40 photos and one song. WOW!”

      This one was 138 photos and I had to work with some live piano music one of the sisters recorded while playing her Baby Grand.

      And still, I don’t HATE doing montages!

    • #182217

      a easy to use tool for mac heads…. Imovie!
      you can organize and edit your photos in iphoto or aperture… you can make and export slideshows in iphoto or aperture…. but if you do the slideshows you are somewhat limited… you can make and export smaller slideshows in iphoto and aperture and export those as stand alone movies…. and this is where the fun really starts..

      say you take a large batch of photos, and a few slideshow movies and bring them all into imovie…

      you can import your music into your imovie project, mark out some beat markers in the advanced sound editor, then start dropping in your stills and movie clips into your timeline and Imovie will beat sync them as you drop them in to your chosen beatmarkers…
      you can then set the crop or ken burns effect for each image seperately.

      with some practice, it is possible to creat some stunning photo montages fast this way..

    • #182218

      Earl, I can sympathize with you, on your 3 day ordeal. I understand exactly what you went through. It’s unfortunate that you short-changed yourself on the project. Do you use anything (form or ddocument) to identify your customer requirements? What does your “Basic” montage cover?

      It’s a real indication of how much your work is appreciated, when you please your clients so much they over-pay. Keep up the great work!!!

    • #182219

      All that and more, Ed, I WROTE THE BOOK on montage marketing, editing and production. I also covered most of your questions either here, in previous posts, on MY VIDEO BLOG or in THE BOOK. 😉 What I’ve shared above, is simply in the interest of sharing. Thanks for your reply. And all the others who have responded here.

    • #182220

      @Jack: Right across the center of the picture were phone and electrical wires and a phone pole mid- picture. I didn’t have to spent the hour it took to remove these

      It took you an hour to do this?? You should be able to do this in under 2 minutes with content aware in Photoshop.

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