Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Image Retouching: In-house vs Outsourcing

In a world driven by visuals, brands need striking imagery to capture attention and tell compelling stories.

Image retouching is a crucial component of the process, and while often considered less glamorous, it can be the difference in making a sale or losing out to a competitor.

You can outsource your image retouching or keep it in-house. But which option aligns best with your goals and resources? Let’s dive into the benefits of each to help you find your fit.

Spoiler alert: It might end up being both!

Keeping things in-house


When you keep your retouching in-house, your retouchers are physically close to your photography studio or art directors, making it easy to have in-person conversations about creative ideas and brand standards. If your workflow needs it, in-house post-production allows you to match swatches and hard proof to assist in color correction.

Speed and Turnaround

With in-house retouching, you can directly access your team, enabling quick revisions and last-minute adjustments.

Cost Considerations

If your business has a relatively consistent daily volume of work, in-house retouching might seem cost-effective. Because you don’t have work overflow, you can maximize your retouchers’ time without having to worry about missed deadlines.

Going external

Access to Expertise

Outsourcing image retouching brings in a team of experts with diverse talents and up-to-date industry knowledge. This includes specialized skills like complex composite retouching, GIF creation, and CGI rendering, which you may not have in-house.

Work Smarter

Outsourcing frees up your in-house team from the nitty-gritty of high-volume PDP retouching, allowing them to focus on more challenging, elevated assets like editorial or marketing imagery. This boost in efficiency can increase productivity and improve job satisfaction.

Business Continuity

Outsourcing eliminates worries about employee leave affecting your business performance. With dedicated resources always available, your operations can run smoothly year-round.

Flexibility and Scalability

Outsourcing lets you scale your retouching needs as projects surge or taper off without managing a fluctuating in-house team. It’s like having a helping hand precisely when you need it, from partial overflow assistance to fully managed service.

A 24/7 Production Cycle

By tapping into resources across different timezones, some outsourcing solutions leverage a global workforce to deliver express and overnight production while your in-house team rests. For example, at VMG, we helped a weekly magazine publisher achieve a 40% cost reduction by assembling a team of remote image retouchers who could turn around images within an hour.

Cost Savings

Outsourcing image retouching eliminates the need to invest in specialized software and hardware and provides access to a global talent pool with competitive pricing and reduced overhead costs. Some businesses set up shared service solutions, cutting down retoucher costs for other departments or sister businesses. Everybody wins!

Finding your fit

The choice between in-house and outsourced image retouching depends on your unique circumstances, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

A hybrid approach might be your sweet spot, offering a balance between creative control and professional collaboration where key strategic work like style guides, technology reviews, performance reporting, and Quality Control will typically stay in-house with a manager.

Whichever path you choose, remember that exceptional image retouching can be a game-changer for creating visuals that resonate with your audience and elevate your creative output.

Ready to enhance your brand’s visual impact? Whether you’re considering in-house options or exploring outsourcing expertise, let’s talk! We’d love to work with you to tailor a solution that aligns with your goals and resources.