Retouching more than 2,000 files in 24 hours!

If you read my blog post on the hectic launch of you will definitely find this video interesting. Just a few days before the scheduled launch date, I realized something terrible: I had promised the entire world a site with at least 70,000 images from my collection, but we only had around 68,000 files online. Imagine launching a site with a massive headline on the landing page saying “70,000 royalty free images” and the users then proceeding to the search page and find that they are currently viewing “1-50 of 68,325 images”. Not good at all!

We only had a one day, but it had to be done. So we created a 24 hour challenge at our studio in Cape Town!

I am still amazed by the fact that 24 retouchers took up the challenge and worked for 24h+ to help make the promise come true, and I am grateful to each and every one of them. It is amazing working with people who take so much pride in their job and who are willing to go that extra mile it sometimes takes to get to the finish line.

When we saw the sun in the horizon the next morning, we had the necessary 70,000 images, and although we were all completely exhausted, it was so great to see everyone with huge smiles on their faces. The team finished more than 2,000 images during those 24 hours, and some of the fastest retouchers on the team got through as many as 250 images without compromising the quality of their work. (Passed Quality Control!)

Thanks to all those who took part in this great, tiresome, awesome, funny and amazing challenge. You can now find some of those 2,000 images here on 🙂

(31) Comments...What do you think?

  1. Peter

    I’m the first 😀

  2. Yuri Arcurs

    hehe. You sure are..hehe

  3. James Benet

    Pretty impressive work area you have there. Clean, luminous and probably a joy to work there.
    You should make a quick tour video of workplace.

    Hope they got sound sleep after that!


  4. Nice job (and great site), but I would have changed the headline to “68k+ royalty free images” instead 🙂

  5. i can understand the need of sleep !!! god, that is amazing , you all deserve free beer from Yuri 😀

  6. Yuri Arcurs

    Yes. A headline change could have done, but we had already sent out the press release. 🙂

  7. If I do the math (2000 images in 24 hours by 24 retouchers), each image took roughly 17 minutes to retouch? Is that correct? That sounds a bit too long.

  8. Yuri Arcurs

    17min? Too long? Are you mad! 🙂 Normally we spend between 30min to 2hours per file!!! 🙂

  9. MrL

    You don’t have any “street smart” in your team? The obvious short term solution would be to modify the “68325” number from the message; I bet it would not take too many lines of code to add a constant (2000) to the real number returned by the query. No one will start counting your images and you could add those images in a couple of days anyway!

    What is the plan – how much time will it take to break even? So many people on your payroll must seriously dent your finances!

  10. Ebs

    Gorgeousimages. Well done to you & your team

  11. I must confess I agree with MrL; or perhaps drop it to “over 60000 files” and then next month post a “wow, we’ve grown!” 🙂 but that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun for us to watch! Thanks, you’re an inspiration. 🙂

  12. Jules_Kitano

    Hard work, good job!

  13. @MrL – I think it has to do with integrity and being a Professional. Yuri promised a product, not half a product. He delivered what he Proimised

    What you are suggesting is that sometimes it’s ok to cheat, as long as you don’t get caught. I hope that is not how you treat YOUR clients!

  14. ThierryL

    @ Robert Kneschke: Pro retouching is not just removing dust spots in an image. At Yuri’s Images that’s an important part of the creative process and will done in the same perfection as the rest. Your a/m post sounds a bit strange in consideration of your monthly income at iStock of EUR 150-200. 🙂

  15. hey I didn’t know you guys had a cape town office. Thats my home! I’d love to be involved! How do I go about this?

  16. OMG – amazing! SUPER!!!!!

  17. Yuri Arcurs

    We had to reach 70000 images. We sent out a press release stating that. You all know how much fuss there can be on the forums out there. Imagine how much fun they would have had teasing us about too few images… Not great and not a good start. We had to make it! 🙂

  18. Fantastic job (AND UNBELIEVABLE) Yuri!

    @sean nel nails it. #3 below

    in·teg·ri·ty (n-tgr-t)
    1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
    2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.
    3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

  19. You have done really great job. Impressive results and clean execution. I hope you have had a good rest after that. Greetings!

  20. Absolutly amazing, be happy for your great team Yuri!

  21. That’s why you need us Cape Tonians. We’re chilled enough to do the looooooong haaaaaauuls.

    Love that you’re investing in our beautiful city.

  22. Every respect and congratulation to all of you! (if only I could reach this speed…) 😀

  23. By the way, Id be grateful for some tips to reach this speed, because I spend in general about 2-3 hours with retouching of one portrait… (sometimes it takes even more time…)

  24. ru

    thats 1.3 photos a minute and a lot of coffee .whats the big deal?

  25. Wow amazing images. Definitely worth the touchup time required to perfect them as well. Very clean and and well captured.

    Been using your keywording tool for some of my stock photos. Very useful. Thanks! 🙂

  26. Ashley

    Wow!! thats amazing!!!

    Congrats to your retoucher that done 250 files!
    Is there anyway to contact him for advice directly?

  27. What’s the little Wacom tablet they are using at 0:25 in the video?

  28. Nigel

    What’s the best pen tablets available for a beginner?.
    Choice among the Wacom range..

  29. romeck

    those 2000 shots/images schould be with stamp “24h award” too

  30. Wojtek

    Yuri how do find iMac for retouching? Is it enough?? Wouldn’t wide gamut monitor (Eizo, NEC etc.) be better?
    I’m setting my first steps into stock photography and was wondering which one to choose, iMac 27″ or Mac mini/MacBook Pro + 27″ wide gamut monitor?

  31. I know those bloody eyes after a full night of retouching. You are awesome 😉

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