Charles Lucima is a photographer who leveraged a strong business background to propel rapid professional success.
Based in Los Angeles, Charles specializes in editorial, fashion, beauty, and advertising photography.
While the quality of Charles’ images speak for themselves,  more impressive is the story of Charles’ success. Starting photography as a hobbyist in 2008, buying a Nikon D3 in August of that year … and turning pro a few months later in January, 2009! At his photography seminars, Charles gives back by educating others on the ins and outs of this business.
Today, Charles’ clients include top designers, women’s apparel companies, and modeling agencies around the world.
But in the same amount of time that it takes to retouch a single beauty image, I can retouch 15-20 fashion images.
The other 95% is getting the business license, insurance, paying the bills, invoicing, scheduling, holding the clients’ hands, cleaning the studio, etc. All good photographers take good pictures, not all good photographers can monetize those pictures.


But if you just have a Canon or Nikon, you still have to (in 1-2 sentences) differentiate yourself, or you have already lost the attention of the client. Often the client themselves cannot differentiate by looking at photos from different photographers.
But, if you can show them the difference, because it’s about showing them your value, then you can get the contract. Whereas creative directors that work for high-end brads with 25 years experience might know a Demarchelier from Joe Schmo, most clients cannot perceive that difference.
Even better than being able to do it all is being able to explain to you what you’re missing. The final thing I will say is that one of the best things about me as a photographer is that I do my own retouching. Non-elite photographers are being squeezed on price because there are too many photographers crowding the business space.
And retouching is imperative because no client is going to hire you based on how good your pictures look straight out-of-the-box. The point is, retouching is extremely important; and, it’s even better if your photographer is doing the retouching.


If you are the creative director of a shoot, you don’t want your retoucher to be 5000 miles away who doesn’t speak English.
Being able to command a higher rate depends on genre, location, your existing client list etc. You gotta be honest with yourself and look at your list, distance to other photographers, value you are adding because most photographers think they are worth more than they are.
Jason Momoa a€” the mountainous Khal Drogo of a€?Game of Thronesa€? a€” and the New Zealand actor Martin Henderson star as a Cain and Abel pair, related in the sense that theya€™re both sons of Walpole, their lives predictably blighted by their provincial circumstances. Doing my own retouching allows me to keep the prices down and pass that savings to the client.
Momoaa€™s Phillip is just out of prison and looking to make some money selling prescription drugs; Mr.



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