A friend of mine who is a professional retoucher (and asked to remain anonymous) recently told me about a very interesting facet of his business. Today a significant portion of his income comes from Photoshopping cats. Yes, you heard right - retouching cats for a living. Check out the full post to see 18 examples of his cat retouching.
The anonymous retoucher was willing to write a bit about how he fell into this strange profession and share some of his retouching work with us here at Fstoppers. The cat retoucher writes:
|"I have never been that great of a photographer, but because I've always held photography as a hobby, I got into Photoshop and retouching years ago. I quickly realized that I could make mediocre images pretty stunning by tweaking a few things in post. When I was fresh out of college, I got a part time job working for a catalog photographer, and after 6 months I left to pursue my own retouching business. After a year I was able to quit my other part time job and become a full time retoucher. Once I hit the ground running, I've never looked back.When I first went out on my own, I was taking any job that would come my way. I retouched a lot of beauty and fashion images but I also began booking some pretty big product and advertising jobs here and there. One day I was given an image of a dog that would be placed on the front of a well known dog food bag. I first worked on all of the basics: dodging and burning, contrast, and color. At that point I thought I was done, but I began to look at the dog as though it were a human. I noticed that one of the dogs eyes was darker than the other so I brightened it up. A few of the dog's whiskers were too long so I shortened them to make them all even. There was a bit of dirt on the dogs shoulder so I removed it. After about an hour I realized that I had made some pretty significant changes. The client was thrilled with the results and I believe you can still see the image on dog food bags today."|
|"One day a friend of mine came to my office and I was showing them my best "before and after" shots. He was most impressed with the image of the dog and asked if I would do the same thing to an image of his cat that he wanted to print. I agreed, and once I delivered the finished file back to him he printed, framed, and hung the picture in the foyer of his home.6 months later I got a call from someone who had seen this cat picture and they asked how much I would charge to retouch their cat. I wasn't interested in doing it so I told her it would be $400 knowing that she wouldn't be able to afford it. Well guess what? She actually agreed to pay me $400 to retouch her cat! Apparently this lady was a huge cat person and had many other cat loving friends because once I delivered her the completed files I got 3 more phone calls in the next week asking me to do the same thing. It was the most bizarre week for my business ever.Some of these people gave me the picture and trusted me to make it look "better" but others were incredibly particular about what they wanted. One lady told me that she felt her cat was overweight and I should "make him skinnier" so he would look more like he did when she first found him. She also thought his ears were too large and asked if I could make them smaller. With each strange request my price continued to go up. I actually charged one lady $2000 to remove every wrinkle from her cat's body. The funny thing is, the cat didn't even look like the same breed anymore!
At this point I am probably retouching around 1 cat per week. Obviously I don't advertise that I do this, it's embarrassing, plus if it ever got out I would probably lose all credibility in the industry or at least have too many jokes thrown my way. I still retouch commercial jobs on a daily basis and I love what I do but when those cat jobs come in I take them. It's easy money. When I'm out at the bar my friends introduce me as the "cat photoshopper" which is always a hit with the ladies, but at the end of the day, I feel like my main job is simply to make people happy and create the best looking image possible"
Original Photos by James Chidlow, Radu Dumitrescu, Micael Carlsson, François Hardel, jenniferferguscreative.com, Patrick Matte, Sergiu Bacioiu, Louis Weijl and Flavio Grynszpan, Jeff Oien, Ezani Zainal, Michaël B, Brianna Newman Photography, Chloe Pet Photography, Christina Gandolfo