Like the original question, the amount is a subject of debate. A lot has been written in the past on the topic, with a lot of people saying the cost of a Photoshop is far less than it is worth to do the job.
This is certainly part of the debate, but as with most things Photoshop related, the number of reasons why is endless and no one really knows the answer.
Here is my best guess as to the exact cost for a given job, though it’s probably a huge underestimate.
I’m going to start with a very small set of examples, because I just don’t know the exact cost. I’ll also assume that you have Photoshop CS4 installed on your computer, and any other Photoshop (like Adobe Lightroom or CorelDRAW) that you might use for reference in order to keep things as straight-forward as possible.
Using a professional set of filters
Image using the ‘Lighter’ preset for a sun setting for an image I did in Photoshop CS4. The colors that were added to the image were taken from the ‘White On’ preset in LESS, with colors that I manually adjusted. Lightroom was used for exposure compensation.
The first thing I did was import the image into Photoshop and find out the cost of all the different images. Here are the results:
A typical image using photoshop’s ‘Lighter’, ‘Soft Light’, ‘Dark Grey’ and ‘Light’ presets (top to bottom).
These results are extremely representative of what I expect in a photograph. I could easily find someone who has never seen Photoshop who would immediately recognise what I’m looking at.
As it stands, the Lightest and softest presets cost $976 and $4,891 respectively. They are pretty affordable considering the level of accuracy required in each of the presets. In reality, I would probably charge about $1000 for the Lightest preset.
If you’re using an Adobe Lightroom or CorelDRAW account, this price comparison table is a good starting point.
A look at the ‘Dark Grey’ and ‘Light Grey’ presets (bottom to top)
If you are using Lightroom or Adobe Lightroom, you’re pretty much guaranteed to pay between $2,000 and $6,000 for each preset. The same is also true for Photoshop, but I will be more generous here; I will pay between $900 and $1,200 for each
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