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The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 1 of 32

Introduction and Pre-Shoot


The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 1 of 32

Introduction and Pre-Shoot


Lesson Info

Introduction and Pre-Shoot

First and foremost again I want to say thank you for everyone who came to watch and every washing home because I think this is a show that's been long overdue on long awaited because I think like me and you guys you want to know about retouching in the world about every touching the business in the art of it but the problem is there's so many resources or lack of resources like when you go to youtube or any of the other pages you see a bunch of retouching tutorials but you're not really sure what's really followed there's a lot of information out there. So before I go any further I would introduce you to my good friend felix kun's he's to give me the photographer for today shooting the first looks on set so felix well, this is good. Yeah, thank you so much for being part of this. I wanted to bring felix down for one important purpose, actually many purposes but felix is an amazing photographer but aside for me, a good photographer he's amazing communicating what he thinks and how he li...

kes things. And I think the important part about having a photographer on set it's that you guys can see what it's like from the inception of a photograph always end because with retouching it's not about just three touching it's about understanding what it's like being on set understanding the dynamic between retouching photographer and see you there for the whole journey right? So even though felix going to shooting three different looks we're essentially going to be talking about the retouching portion and how it's intertwined with the photographer so any time you guys have questions regarding the retouching behind the scenes feel free to ask and by the way yeah sorry to cut in on critiques wearing black as well unlike you might as well be from new york yeah exactly right in this you have a joke about the right black is the essential fashion code, isn't it? So when are you moving next week I'll be you would be much easier if I just had to sit in and made my work easy be over your shoulder but yes, you make a good point when you're shooting where the re toucher in mind I know I've been talking with critical about this year when I have the retouching budget I still do some of my own when I have the retouching budget everything changes because I'm really making sure that I can get him the file that he can work with and he has so much more leeway than I do with my limited photoshopped knowledge yes then to really make that image perfect, right? So so we just dive kind of writing absolutely and also wanted to keep everyone in mind is that after our shooting session is done we're going to be talking together but the dynamic we have and going through the selects after the shoot and from then on kind of talking about what it's like to be a retouching and a photographer working together to create the final product so this is beneficial not just for photographers but for also retouch er's and that's what we kind of get this whole course in mind is this is not just a shooting session it's the retouching section and everything plays a part in this yes, I want I won't take too much time to break down I'll go through but I can't help myself from talking now you should go to all the set ups but we also set this up today you'll see as I would shoot on a commercial shoot so we have the images tethered and particularly are going to be driving capture one and we're going to actually be shooting with the phase one, which I'm really excited about it once like this on dh it's full we're going to do a beauty image with that because it's you know you get so much detail but it's almost like a little bit so I got scared when I first saw this thing because the mob detail that's here but hey it's better because if you can retouch on this you can retouch anything that's my principle yeah good we should get started yeah freezing cold in here I'm gonna put my jacket on so on right should we bring in the laptop on my digital station and we'll get that hooked up to the camera uh and we're all connected with this away so fast thing I'm going to do is open up capture one and connect my face back to it. John oh everyone this is john he's something today you miked up I think I am have perfect good I can defer all the questions I don't know the truth all right good. So I've got phase one open here this is from phase one is a capture software which means I can shoot there and it tells us directly to the computer brings the files indirectly the first thing I do on every commercial job is out do your light test well, kind of do that here the rule file would end up coming in to capture one and will look horrible so everyone knows well files they need happening they need some contrast so we're gonna start with just that horrible role file right after we set up the slight test donna we already think so we all switched on yeah that's that's what you are my light meter go light meters hanging from them I'm going to use the light meter today this's thie newfangled ce iconic with the touch screen and it works good, so I've got a primera soft books it's an extra small on dh I love using this for beauty it's really kind of focus and it gives you a lovely kind of contrast on the face and better show it on the model trust me on this for a second and I'm just going to get this guy I've got it on see stand arm roomed in so that I don't have to make john hold it with voice assistant voice activated light stand normally use and I'm going to play around with this again as I didn't souse class on dh when I shoot I'm going to get in where the model is first and have a look to see how it's going to affect her face because I can see that just by looking at it when I really get stuck that's what I do I go where the model is and I go right what is the light actually doing? And I look at all the light source is to see what's hitting the face right? So we might as well go ahead and get a beautiful model. Kayla kayla she's gone through and makeup and everything like magic lovely if you have to see their brilliant and john yeah john's being a good assistant, what we eleven and a half I want to show that so this I've set this at one twenty fifth of a second that's my shutter speed the iso's at one hundred so we're getting that really crisp no noise image on word out at about eleven and a half on the aperture eleven point six so I kind of want to get down to eleven sir john if you wouldn't mind just clicking there were using ellen from lights today to keep remembering to say all these things because you asking in chat rooms good so you've turned that down about three stubborn, so one third of a stop let's do another meter reading a less sorry this thing's gonna be in your face good so eleven point three turn it down a little over three tenths of a stop how important is that you the light meter on stage? Do you ever just go about without it? I liked because I turned the screen brightness up really bright on here and then if I'm shooting outside that's right, I'll be like I can't see anything exactly I turn everything up all the lights up and then it just ends up looking horrible. You know when you're outside when you're in the studio. Depending on how bright your ambient light is, you just can't tell what's actually going on, but you can't trust the back of your screen either even if you're shooting yeah, sometimes the back of the camera and if this is what enables me to shoot with, I'm going to shoot my d eight hundred for one of the looks and shit with the phase one because this is what tells me what's going on I don't need to worry about what's on the back of the phase one screen I don't need to worry about what's in the back of here I don't even really need to worry about my computer this is going to give me that base perfectly so now it's not firing their it isthe eleven point two two more clicks we'll get this just right because then rather being an eleven point teo and this is important because you don't want to just wing it right? You want to make sure everything's right as clean as possible exactly especially for you pretty yeah get get lessons from this's good exactly that's why I like working with people who go ahead if you have questions eleven because for beauty I wanna have the depth of field kind of cover most everything I was going to go with f ate what last night was lying about that let's go to eleven years that little bit I make it sound far more technical than it is, but most of the lights you can't get them I'm so close to the model you can't turn them down enough they all kind of end up being that bright anyway so it's just mostly an arbitrary decision plus its eyes any closer to the sweet spot of the lens when you shooting? Sure okay let's go with um good so kayla let's try and I haven't yet decided where I'm going to put this some books I feel like if you could set up really quick we'd love to hear a little bit maybe about your discussion with the hair and makeup artist and how you set up that relationship had so usually I because I'll admit it now women are much better at figuring this stuff out so I usually go to the makeup artist and I say what? This is my idea what do you think we should do with the head? I wanted everything on the side and we kind of wanted a little bit teeth and I wanted it up because for the second look I'll just take it out on we'll have the long flowing hair again you just turn your face towards the light up a little bit what happens is I'm going to shoot like this on this side it sorry this side of the face will have the head kind of framing it on this edge and I wanted that so we have some here for beauty I don't necessarily want here in the face but this kind of gives me something for the light to bounce off and you'll see how that looks in the frame might have gone and I was going to say, you know, the important part about doing makeup is that you always want to make sure after the makeup is done that you have really good clean makeup afterwards you want to just have the makeup done in this sit down I won't analyze her to make sure she has really nice lip lines good transitions in the eye shadow and things like that so, you know, having to reach us that later exactly yeah, although it wouldn't hurt us in the class that something actually reached actually actually she came and I said and I sent I ask to make up for what? You just defined the lip a little bit more for this look, so those are the kind of things we come back and forth with and that's really just an experienced point and very working with laura a lot I got to see kind of those, you know, more fashion beauty things. So for the eyes, we just wanted a little bit of sparkle the top because we're going really close in something for that draw, some interest good, so let's do a light test, it'll be really bad to start with a promise I'm just going to go in, I've got the what leads do we have on eighty five, eighty five that's on medium format that kind of ends up being a fifty yeah it's an eighty so this ends up being kind of a fifty millimeter equivalents I'm gonna have to go quite close to the model to get that remember one medium format so we have tons of eleven waken crop in this fast we wanted I might even do a what do you think about propping when you're shooting? Do you typically shoot further outwards to cross later or do you shot really? I mean, I I want to pretend to be from the school of no cropping in theory in theory right on dh actuality uh I think to have more pixel spaces and then go cropped yeah is probably preferable than the other way around, right sometimes I have to think about mastheads like people someone so webb shot and they have some menus and I would I would need a little bit neck to put the menu of you know exactly what we're looking for is shooting for editorial magazine, for example and you want to leave space for the title or captions whatever they tell you ahead of time typically you know what they want to do. So that's something you really keep in mind it saves me because I've had requests where they would shoot to type and they would say he could you please you know, extend the frame and sometimes the frame would have stuff in it like a sofa what could you extend the soul from, like? Not really. Well, you know, so they're things you can and cannot do. So think about your shooting intention before you actually start shooting for the rejection purpose take before we even start shooting. Yeah. What do you think about the hair in the makeup? What are your thoughts as a retouching? Okay, so important thing this look especially is kind of, you know, has full of life. I would say a full of body. So when you're going in post production is not necessary for you touch every single street here. We're stranded here because that's the look, you're kind of going for now if you're going to be doing stuff like straight hair looks, make sure their hair is really clean before going to close process because every single strand of hair, they're going to take a minute or two to get rid of cleanly. So amazing is cheating for me. I could be like, no, we want we wanted this. Yeah, exactly. Okay, I'm learning here. Perfect. All right, let's, do a test shot and I'll file it off. See how you get this. Wouldn't a little bit taller. There we go I wish you could see there was a way to tell what I see through the camera wouldn't that be amazing someone should invent that yeah yeah google glass that's a good idea okay, kayla just bring your head up a little bit and then look at me perfect just insert a personality and there were maybe like yeah there it is good let's see where at oh very bright okay, so I'm at a eleven you see how it comes off white balance is awful so I'm gonna maybe well huh change that around just a little bit every sensor by though every lens has a different kind of it could be a half a stop off off your meter reading and you can actually calibrate your meter but this is a good starting point I'm not one hundred miles off right I'm going to go to let's go to f sixteen and try that kayla yeah just come up a little bit with chen give me that little bit of personality that you injected earlier beautiful okay, good I'm a little my crop is a little bit weird I'm goingto move the camera down a little bit but I wanted to show you in capture one this is my tether panel on dh it actually gets the you see that on here gets the aperture f sixteen and the shutter speed shows me my eyes so that's what's wrong that's why whatever the meat has never wrong good let's go backto is a one hundred and try that again all right and then I can go back to f eleven by the way this stuff happens all the time on set if this happens to you just go oh let me just change something in the night will never know they don't know I guess so it's like cook show you know, in the kitchen and you drop with the turkey on the floor don't have enough to do it that's much closer to where we want to be, right obviously still she looks a bit ill eso looking green today fit green today so I'm going to change my which white bones there we go we're a little bit closer now I already see immediately pretty what do you think? I want to get more detail in the hair? Absolutely and yeah, no doubt about that especially can it adds a lot more detail, especially if we can get that out now so if you want to because we could go into the kind of the settings here and I could do this and I'm always weary because I'll happy go lucky I'm on the chute everything's manic and I go right it's too dark I'm just going to turn this up and then I'm over exposed in post by two stops and that then I get to somewhere where works me but I've destroyed the pixels that factory so I want to start in a good place so I'm gonna change my life's course alone but I can also look at the history ma'am and this is if I'm sending images input to the re toucher I'm looking at the history sam because I want to make sure nothing's clipped and clip means when something is completely black or completely white because you can't get detail back out of that can you now the good thing with treating raw please hope no tissue j peg for you are very born points don't you j peg for studio work very critical is that with raw you can rescue much more detail than you could previously now cameras have evolved we're getting much more down in the green job files that way we can pull things here and there but it's great to have a perfect starting point because good photography it's kind of like you know felix does when he's checking every single detail before she begins because you want to be able to get to a point where all the detail that you want in the fall is there to begin with, which is why studios so good because we can add light takeaway light really control that so but yes answer question we can pull backs in detail later but I think it's good too get it done get it done! I mean this we're like here under the neck I will expect to be that will be black yeah that's a that's a given there is no light there and that's fine with me is really quick I would love to just kind of get your thoughts briefly on what are those elements that really you cannot retouch and the photographer absolutely has to get right in studio in order for you to be able to work on image number one expression if you have a model has terrible expression don't ask somebody to change their expression posts you can liquefy things here and there but it's uncle, right obviously there are other things like if you have completely clipped out highlights and it's completely blown sometimes not rescue herbal like you for shooting in back light or if you shooting with a window coming in and you bring that information down and there's still nothing there you can't add anything so those a couple of things another big thing is if you have a model has half closed eyes don't say, could you open them? Because the way for the shop works is you can't see what's behind the eyelid it's all one flat plain so even should liquefy the eyelids up the whole I's gonna liquefy up so their things in mind just keep in mind especially clothing if you have complex folds, you can't unfold them because it's the same principle you knew how things that are overlapping and flower shop works by copying and pacing, so not revealing what's behind something. So, you know, it's funny, because once I got a client that said, could you please remove the tree? Because there was somebody behind there is something and, like that's kind of ridiculous because you really can't take away a whole tree and reveal things that's behind other objects, so, uh, yeah, move the car so you could see the license plate on the car behind it, right? Thinking quest, but it happens really often. So that's a great question. All right, so one of the other things when I'm driving in in capture one is I'm going to get should we should do this in the right sequence, but I'm going to get that image right, then I make adjustments here. That critique will ignore this is because I want to show the client what's going on on set and I wanted to look kind of have a look that they can understand they don't want to see this and go, yes, I can translate that in my head because what they go, what is wrong with her? Right. So that's, why I'm going to do the adjustments. But you'll see. I just don't want anyone to get confused, particular, going to take all of that off again and start with the raw file.

Class Description

One of the biggest challenges a photographer faces is the amount of time spent on retouching images. Creating a beautiful high-end finished photo requires the right tools and techniques — but the process doesn’t need to dominate your workflow.

Join international retoucher Pratik Naik, owner of Solstice Retouch, as he shares his secrets for creating beautiful photos in less time. You will also learn the business and marketing side of retouching — everything from working with clients to creative branding opportunities.

During a live photo shoot, Pratik works with photographer Felix Kunze, demonstrating how photographers and retouchers can work together to craft a final product that exceeds the expectations of both parties. You’ll learn every single step of the retouching process by watching as Pratik turns Felix’s raw photos into high-quality images.

Whether you’re a photographer who wants to present high-end final images to your clients, or you want to break into the world of retouching, Pratik will provide you with the skills necessary to be the best at your craft.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.2, Adobe Lightroom 5



Really wonderful course, thanks. May I suggest a fantastic idea for maybe those who purchase the course? It would be extremely useful to be provided with a summary of the content of each video segment, perhaps a 30-60 second video with written 'dot-point' sheet at the end of each segment, to be reviewed at a later time. It just takes too long to replay each video to get the important messages. The notes provided by Pratik were a step in the right direction but they need more detail of what was presented, including tips and tricks, in each segment. In this way, once having watched the entire course, you could go back and review the nitty-gritty aspects of each segment quickly and efficiently. These quick 'summary' clips could make up a separate 15 minute video, recapping in detail the hard-core content of the course, without interruptions from questions. This would be extremely useful and hopefully not take the presenter too long to film. I feel this would be a wonderful 'added value' aspect of buying the course, as it would not be available for for free viewing. It would certainly encourage me to buy more of the available courses. Keep up the great work at Creative Live! I have stopped my Kelby subscription and just watch you guys now!! Well done!! Peter Bourne Australia


Pratik has been a revelation and a revolution at the same time, even kinda a benediction because of its huge generosity to show us such an efficient and powerful workflow. His genial approach turns impossible things into possible. What amazed me most, was Pratik ability to see further the shot and take the best of it to reach the perfection. The original photo is still there, very recognizable, but through a precise and meaningful workflow, it becomes eye-catching, high quality, high impact. Pratik is a wonderful person, very genuine, high talented, with a sophisticated sense of the aesthetics and arts. This course changed drastically my way to look at photoshop and at the retouching techniques. Thank you!!

user d3cdf7

I have been a retoucher since 1992 and a commercial photographer and I am amazed at the wealth of information Pratik is teaching us. Love his great sense of humor. Yes, retouching takes me way into the early part of the morning...up to 4 am. I've learned to listen to Books on DVD from the library which help my attitude much better. Several degrees behind me and I know I was meant to make a difference with portrait photography. NO ONE wants reality, especially at elder ages. So I continue to learn to retouch professionally and not use a quick retouch filter which renders a fake look. I may incorporate a light retouching filter, but I find I must always do some manual retouching first, in order to have the appearance look real. Which is the old first rule to retouching itself. In the film days, I use to make my own texture screens in order to create more beautiful faces. My photographer friends would ask for my help in using them, when they had blurred an important celebrity shot. The texture screen would help spread the dots and give the appearance of your digital noise now. The results were the image looked more focused Thank you Pratik Naik, for being so generous with your techniques. I am interested in how to price out retouching jobs, as I have been told I give my retouching away with my photography. Thanks,, Jeri Goodwin-Akari cherished moments photography in walla walla, WA