Fiverr: Three different freelancers, three different price points
Shajahan Mohd finds out more about the differences in the quality of work provided by three different photo retouchers at three different price points to determine whether they are worth it or not.
Hype Issue #53
Oct 21, 2021
As a third year mass communications student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, I have had the privilege of learning a wide range of hard media skills.
However, since my second year, I have been particularly interested in one skill more than others, which are photo retouching and editing. After completing the ‘Digital Media Fundamentals’ module, I learnt the basics of Photoshop and was eager to learn more.
So, I started learning more advanced Photoshop retouching techniques from YouTubers like Unmesh Dinda from PiXimperfect.
Like many polytechnic students, I was looking for a side hustle to earn some money, and that’s when I started considering a platform called Fiverr.
Fiverr’s brand logo. Image taken from logos-world.net.
For those who are unfamiliar with Fiverr, it is essentially an online platform/marketplace where freelancers can offer their services to people around the world.
As a first-time freelancer, I wasn’t sure of the price range that I should charge for my skills and services. What if I price my work too high and risk being seen as a pompous person? But what if I price my work too low and get taken advantage of?
Just like the ‘Worth It’ series by Buzzfeed, I decided to step into a user’s point of view and review three different photo retouchers at three different price points to see where my skills stand.
I looked all over Fiverr and managed to narrow down three different photo retouchers at three different price points. Subsequently, I sent a raw image file of a scratched watch which I wanted to get retouched to all of the photo retouchers with the following instructions:
I would like to retouch this watch and try to make it look as new as possible.
This would mean removing the scratches on the rim and face of the watch, as well as the leather tearing and creasing on the band.
It would be great if you could make the watch ‘pop’ a little bit more.
Would it be possible for you to do it?”
The original image of the watch. Photo by Shajahan Mohd.
I will be evaluating how well they did by commenting on their:
- Quality of work
- Duration of delivery
I will also be retouching the same image alongside them for a comparison which I will include later on.
Let the games begin!
Level 1 (Affordable)
Paul (not his real name) is a graphic designer with seven years of experience retouching images of jewellery and watches for various businesses.
He listed his basic package services for $7.11 and with the service charge, it came up to $10.32.
Paul’s basic package at $7.11. Screenshot taken from Fiverr.
I sent him the instructions and he responded promptly in approximately ten minutes, saying that he would be able to do the edits that I had requested for the basic package.
Surprisingly, he managed to retouch the image of the watch within a day! However, it was delayed as he had cropped out the watch from the background and placed it on a white background even though I had not requested it. In addition, the watch seemed to have a yellow tint that needed some correction.
I requested two revisions, mentioning that I wanted the background with the watch and that I wanted the whole image to be less yellow.
He managed to complete the first revision (inclusion of background) but misunderstood my second revision (removal of yellow tint), even though I was very clear with my instructions.
Instead of removing the yellow tint, he added more. Due to this, the final image only came after an hour.
Paul’s edited image. Photo courtesy of Paul.
For the price that I paid, I was pleasantly surprised by his work. It was clear that he followed my instructions to a large extent because there were very minimal scratches on the rim and face of the watch.
Although he did a great job overall, it looks as if the watch is still separated from the background due to the lack of shadows on the left side of the watch.
My best guess is that he either removed it, even though I did not ask him to, or that he forgot to add the shadows back in after including the background.
In addition, the leather loop that he retouched looks unnatural because of the variance in colours and textures that he used to cover up the leather tears. He also stated that he would provide the source Photoshop file together with the edited image, but he did not.
Although he took more time to do the revisions, he was somewhat prompt in his delivery.
His work was good and the quality provided was worth the price that I paid. Therefore, I would give this seller a rating of 7 out of 10.
On a side note, I really liked how this seller allowed up to 10 images for edits just for his basic package together with unlimited revisions.
Level 2 (Moderately-priced)
Dominic (not his real name), listed his basic package for $14.22 and with service charge, it came up to $17.79.
Something that attracted me to this seller, as compared to other moderately-priced sellers, was the fact that he was one of the top 20 per cent amongst the freelancers on Fiverr who took the “Adobe Photoshop Skills Tests” on the platform.
Dominic’s basic package at $14.22. Screenshot taken from Fiverr.
I sent him the same instructions and he responded approximately ten hours later which was understandable due to the difference in time zones, saying that he would be able to do the edits that I requested for the basic package.
He immediately said that he would be able to send a sample within an hour but I told him to take his time with it since I valued quality.
Within three hours, he sent me the edited image and I was pleasantly surprised!
However, just like the previous seller, I found the image a little yellow to my liking and so I requested a revision. He was able to send me the revised edit within one hour, with exactly what I asked for.
Dominic’s edited image. Photo courtesy of Dominic.
For the price that I paid, I was extremely surprised by his work. He clearly followed my instructions because there were very minimal scratches on the rim and face of the watch.
The rim of the watch also looked more natural than the first seller as it had less smoothness and more of that ‘metal’ shine.
In addition, he was able to use the concept of contrast to make the watch pop in the image. He did this by adding a vignette effect to the background and making the watch brighter.
However, because of the contrast he tried to create by making the watch brighter, the strap of the watch looked paler than the previous seller. This made the leather of the strap seem less luxurious.
He also changed the aspect ratio of the image, which was something that I did not ask for. I felt that the scratches on the face of the watch were not completely removed.
Although the seller was less prompt than the previous seller in terms of duration of delivery and response time, his quality of work impressed me and was able to make up for it.
Overall, for the price that I paid, I would give this seller an 8 out of 10.
Level 3 (Expensive)
James (not his real name), listed his standard package (retouching of products package) for a whopping $35.56! Together with the service charge, it came up to a heartbreaking $40.25.
The price was certainly more on the expensive side but in James’s defence, he has been specialising in luxury, beauty, fashion, and editorial retouching for nine years. Or at least, that’s what I tried to convince myself after making the payment.
Like the other two sellers, I sent him the same instructions and he responded promptly approximately two hours later, saying that he would be able to do the edits that I requested for.
He also mentioned how he has done similar watch retouching before and that due to the increased demand for his services, he would only be able to send the final edited image after a week despite the description saying he could do it within two days.
I asked him if it was possible for him to finish the retouching earlier than a week, and he mentioned that he could try to finish it in maybe four to five days (spoiler alert, he couldn’t).
Something that was different about my experience with James was that, unlike other sellers, I had to make the payment before he could start his work. The other sellers that I worked with only requested payment after the final edits of the image.
So the wait began as I waited for five days for my edited image to arrive. I even patiently waited for it to come on the fifth day but it still didn’t.
Considering the fact that I received it two days after that, it was obvious that he couldn’t finish it earlier than a week but I expected at least an update from him.
James’s edited image. Photo courtesy of James.
Despite my frustrations, I was extremely impressed with the final image. He followed all my instructions precisely, making sure that all the scratches on the rim and face of that watch were retouched.
Unlike the other sellers, he was able to retouch the leather strap of the watch, without making it look pale and artificial. He also decreased the highlights on the strap of the watch, making the leather look more realistic without any minimal trace of retouching.
I was also surprised by the fact that he included the source Photoshop file although it was not stated in his package description.
I tried my best to look for imperfections, considering that my hard-earned $40.25 was on the line, but I really couldn’t find any!
Although the seller took excruciatingly long to deliver the work and had some improvement to make in terms of his responsiveness , his quality of work was able to make up for it.
However, I really do not think the price to performance was worth it as compared to the other two sellers.
I personally think that with more revision requests from the previous two sellers, they would be able to reach the quality that James provided with his work.
Overall I would give this seller a 7 out of 10 for the price that I paid.
Like many, I assumed that the most expensive seller, James, would produce the best work. Don’t get me wrong, he produced good work but I personally felt that the price I was paying was not worth that quality.
The least expensive seller, Paul, pleasantly surprised me as the price that I paid was worth the quality that he provided. However, I was definitely willing to pay more for a better quality job.
Out of all three sellers, I personally felt that the moderately-priced seller, Dominic, was the best. The quality of work that he provided was excellent and worth the price that I paid. He was prompt in his delivery and followed all of my instructions precisely.
Now that I am aware of the quality of work that should be delivered at the different price points, I am certainly more confident in evaluating my own skills and deciding on a price that will reflect them as accurately as possible.
Shajahan’s edited image.
After reviewing the work done by all three photo retouchers and comparing it to my own work I personally feel that my work can be priced around $10-15 similar to the moderately priced seller (Dominic). However, It would take me about three days to deliver the quality of work in the above image.
So based on the quality and delivery time, should my price be lower or higher?
Leave your answer in the comments section below!
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