Tips for Retouchers & Gear
Ed, you can't society, so the problem here is that retouching is something that we blame society for, right? That's totally fine. I really do also believe that we should be educating people and that's why I'm doing shows like this to show you the back end of the retouch industry. I never knew what it was like to retouch your everyone was so quiet about it, people retouching typically introverted and by nature, and they don't talk about it. Like I said, dirty little secrets. However, things are starting to change people like mere sight. Come on, talk about it. So what happens is people are becoming more aware more awareness there is about something, the less trivial it becomes right like um there's a photo shop law of that happening. Hughes in israel as your january, the first models won't work in print ads and runway must have a healthy body mass index number one. Number two all print ads should be essentially listed are labeled so new laws nicknamed the photoshopped law because of ini...
tial regulation place on advertisers requiring clear labeling on ads. Maybe this maybe universal? We don't know, but you know they're steps people take to educate the public the best and worst part about industry. As the re toucher and a photographer, I would say the best things you can kind of make your own schedule you can take the client that you want the times that you want it's fantastic at the same time you're working all day every day so you decide the eighteen hours you want work if there were easy um at a friend cho nasty I laughed so hard he didn't always laughing he said, hey, what did you get off this week? Serious, what they're gonna see maybe next year, but not this week and, uh I thought that was funny and he was why you laughing? That's terrible I said, oh, you're actually really so I didn't I did not realize, you know that we do work a lot, we're kind of workaholics, I'm if I posting on the weekend at five o'clock on a saturday they're they're people who are home also working right like tow us friday's isn't fighting isn't the same as your friends friday like, oh yeah it's friday get off tomorrow like manu how lucky in a way um, but the same time you never really working right? You're enjoying yourself, so keep that in mind if you're not enjoying yourself is something wrong here's the best part your life does revolve completely around being creative and being around creatives you're never going to wake up and say god I hate my job I have to file you know tons of paperwork today which you may have to use sometimes the reality is you get to interact with other creatives consistently it's fantastic and even if you hate your day today the next day's different you don't have to go back to the same boss you don't have to go back to the same annoying co worker who's basically the reason why you got fired from your other job or something right like everyday is completely different is fantastic you never after those same day twice you get to be in different destinations your clients could ask you to shoot something in maui or travel to finland to shoot some iceberg I don't know you know whatever I don't even know they're icebergs in from whatever um developing own style versus fall in the industry as a photographer early touch her I think it's better to um personally find your own style however on the retouching side many people will hire you to retouch like them or returns like a photographer so for me I thought is a better way to go to be able to be adaptable and to be able to understand what the photographer ones so it's better in that sense too be able to change based on what your client wants so the photographer you want to be able to deliver the vision that queer was hiring you to do, faisal, adding lube it of your own style. So it's a mix of both. You don't want to be so one sided, right? You want to be so one study that you just have just your style is re toucher, which may be okay because you call that a knish and you could be hard for that in terms of big business. If you're working for retouching house, if you're working under your own name, you want to be able tio. I work in the style that people are hiring you for and whatever that, whatever it is that you do delivering for them. So you know it's a give or take, you can give your own style, but more often on keep open minds what might take away is there sources of inspiration? That's me? How do you stay inspired? I go, I just look at myself, right? You shouldn't be inspired by well, you should. But the number one thing is be inspired by yourself, it's, that internal fire that you started, that should be what pushes you through the hardest times. There's going to be clients that try you to the point where you want to give up photography port where you almost want to cry and break down I'm sure many many people have cried and broken down by some of the jobs that you get and you may have kinds that don't pay may have clients that just you know pay later they give you a hard time and you're like why'd I quote so low and all this stuff but the reality is things that get you through that stage is the same thing that got you into photography never forget that passion that you had second you forget that passion is second start diverting your your track right the things that are external in motivation are your colleagues it's not looking at the people who have automated fifty years ago the people who are making it now I made the collective decision when I marketed myself to be able to work with colleagues for up and coming the colleagues that I saw the same fire in my eyes is the same fathers on their eyes and when we worked together we were able to build something together and we all rose an industry together I think that's very important is be inspired by the work ethic of your colleagues and not by the work that necessarily producing because you don't want your style to be contaminated by inspiration I would say for inspiration you know, get it loosely but don't ever copy don't blatantly copy because you don't be known as a copy, you know, whenever you imitate somebody, you're not going to be hired for that, they're going to go straight to the guy who was the founder of that idea, right? Don't be, don't be hired based on being copy of somebody be hard because you're falling on vision, even if it's much harder in the beginning, people will see it if you continue um, one of the things that I think that was beneficial to me is instead of just looking at them through social media, I would go and visit them. I'd go and visit these photographers and retouch is where they lived and actually spent a few days with him and I saw how they work and I saw their work to prison. I saw what they didn't like about themselves, and I saw how they were so hard on themselves like I remember things like four years ago I met uh when my friends benjamin von one and we're into montreal at that time he was struggling is tryingto get his work together and he had his vision and passion he really believed in himself, and I was so inspired by that visit took away soldier from that that I could have never learned that in a photography course so go out there and see if you can shadow people that you really admire because you learn so much about themselves as a photographer you're never going to go online and post that you had such a really really bad day you never gonna post your flaws you're always going to push your good sides right? So what happens when you look at these people? You think mandy was amazing all the time? Reality is it's not the case like you even look at their shots and think they must have so many keepers from the shot they take but as you saw today not the case you know he had hands in the frame stuff like it seems amateur by definition but there we all do the same things so go out there and spend time with people you admire you know, make an effort that pays off in dividends ethics in retouching. So basically my main takeaway here is that liquefying convention is not about making people skinnier it's about using that tool to enhance what there you know, like making hair bigger, better curves on your body or something like that but we really ever liquefy things to make him skinnier against thought blurring skin I can mention please don't do that nowadays it's funny we have based on lighting right like as a model sometimes you see a lot of the bone structure on their body and the reason for that is just because the lighting some because they're you know, anorexic wrestling priest taught me that joke by the way, if there's somebody out there who says, you know, go your burger thing that needs to stop like that's really awful because a lot of times what happens lighting accentuates things that aren't necessarily there as much as you see it like the like the folding on the clothing right? It wasn't really there um as much as you thought on the photos so the point is re tend to keep things healthier now you know, we're not going too far with michael find people animating people scare were actually signed two large people bit just to make it look more natural, okay that's kind of what my fixes and I don't believe in that aspect of me he was skinny I turned on the jobs you know, there's people that go more towards illustration and like the line with that, you know that there was the thing with lady gaga on but they were making her look like the, you know, fashion drawing rather than you know, but there was a big deal because I thought but you know, there's our aspect and where's the line between illustration and making it our rather the line comes from your own personal belief culture own creativity if you believe you want to go there out that is right you should stick with what makes that decision and stick to it, but that's definitely a good question. I just saw something else. Do you know another reason why we touches are needed? Because of kanye west? Did you hear what his whole thing? Four days on a wedding picture like con? You could have called me and we could have had that done like, ten minutes, you know? But you get the point. Don't be a kanye west importance of social media uh, nowadays we have this platform that people never had I can get my face in front, our directors just by sending messages. We never had that ability before to reach out and instantly see what everyone around the world doing at the same time. Twitter and facebook, they're all on it, you know, use that platform, they're not going to find you because you shoot good or shoot well, they're going to find you because you're pretty yourself out there make use of that right never just sit back and see how they're gonna find me one day. It's going great just make the effort. You put your workout there, be active and productive, like, for example, felix and laura jade and everyone who you know in our same circles, we make that effort and still practically pushed as though we need so bad because that's, what it takes to get, you know, work put out, they don't be shy. If you're shy it's not gonna work out, you have to be proactive. There are obviously other examples of people who have, you know, been successful based on a few factors, but that's ultimate takeaway is don't sit back use every time you have to get yourself out there, through social media on personal projects. I have a friend and co writer, and if stoppers mike kelly, he received the singer into the l a airport and to the span of the day he shot every plane that took off, and he layered it. This is a personal project he did for fun, and he posted that he posted it on dh. It went viral, like, you know, airports started contacting him, and then eventually he was like in israel shooting something because that photo the next month, so invest time, personal projects because blog's always looking for the next creative thing that gets your name out there, too. Don't underestimate personal projects. Um, psychology. How do you know when you've gone too far? Exactly what we did with the vips make a game time before you start retouching don't just start retouching. You have to have a game plan and take breaks every hour try and take a five minute break your mind realign itself and you'll be able to sometimes self correct what you see and a lot of time it's just patients in time eventually start seeing these things so don't be so hard on yourself you may wake up the next time hate your photo right like you may wake up and you open your ps team just hated but the reality is it's normal but eventually you learn your mistakes as you go along I learned them as I went along I still look at work I did maybe six months back and I say what was I doing right? It happened that's normal but learn from your mistakes and take practice steps like taking breaks you know sleep it out make a decision next day how much time is enemies take? It could take thirty minutes it could take two hours there is no standard for time it's always based on equipment the models you choose you know the expression the pose is what you want to use a compass it's the hair it's all relative which is why you should do your best in preproduction right? Because the quality of the team does matter were also matters is having a good model don't use the model that's not a beauty model for being issued don't just win get, you know, make the right decisions it'll pay off that time and money investigating right model pays off for itself so what makes a good retouched image? We talked about that today is having that clean look that doesn't leave any footsteps behind but still retains that original soul of the image that you saw when you're shooting that same initial spark that you saw when you into select it should be between that and this definition various just based on who you're asking but to me, I think that's what makes a good view touch image if you're always unsure reference the work that the greats have done because through time you'll notice that work is timeless no matter what era it's in its looks beautiful don't um get too caught up in fads so don't say you know what? I'm going to copy the style it's great, because five years later it's not going to be current and it just date your work consistently. The limitation of photo shop I could mention earlier photo shop is basically copy and paste we can't remove trees in front of people you know we can't take a car on the way if there's nothing really behind it, you're literally copying and pasting things, object removal and things like that they're obviously you know, things that you can do based on plates, but you know please understand that photo shop is not a cure cure all photography has saved hard process right good photography is never going to go away it's not going to be something that takes place the flower shop it's for a shop cheating like I mentioned from previous slide I think it's a personal opinion but I don't think it's cheating because it's been there since the birth of photography you know it's never going to go away however um I think lighting makeup is also retouching because you're you guys are rita cher's your retouching with white and photographer light and makeup right like whatever look you're getting it you're trying to get it as good as you can through makeup like and I wouldn't consider that cheating so why is another tool considered cheating now tips for hair and makeup artists we kind of choral office but you know let the photographer inspect the work before shooting when the makeup ours is sitting down with you after the makeup look it's done spend that five minutes and actually look at the model under the lights you're going to be shooting at which is why modern lights are fantastic can analyze what the intention in ten outcome is secondly actually shoot a look or shoot a shot once the makeup is applied and sure your makeup artist you know have ipad or something in the other and say is this exactly what you intended makeup wise and they can go and fix things before I get a lot of makeup rc ah man, we show this photographer and makeup doesn't look anything like I did because he changed and try to fix so much production and go the photography and say, why did you change it like liquor bars didn't do what I wanted so there's a disconnect so just spend the five minutes and sit down and say you want is this what you wanted to do and it'll bridge that gap precisely uh yes makeup on hands and neck if you incorporate a lot of the nick a lot of hands you see a lot of times the hands turn red uh in the photos spend spend the time actually putting makeup on the hands on the neck and a lot of times when you on commercial shoots like that it uh, blends in much better and again having assistance to always make sure that things are adding up perfectly if you're on set and you need someone to keep our eye on the hair if you doing hair shot have someone to inspect and make sure that the hairs okay for example uh yes, the goal of photo shop is to not to fix between hance what's already there, right? We're not trying to be people who fix mistakes trying to make you work look better and stand out and the same thing mentioned you know, shoot empty plates if possible to clean of distractions if you're unable to do so in post to make it easier for your re toucher having assistance and think for the shop doesn't exist felix it's such a good job of that didn't he like the way he shot he just tweeting tweet and tweet till he made sure that the father as good as possible he didn't say you know their shadows here lis just say that later he actually had the reflectors and you change lighting to make sure everything should perfectly and also clean your sensor remember felix mentioned that she's here boy clean your sensor because there are a lot of times where you think you know very good photographers clean centers not the case there's so many times without get files that have hundred sensor spots that we had to fix and you'd have to man you go in and everything since your spot um typical points talking to retouch your prior to shooting making mood boards and concepts you know having that idea product actually going to the retouching gain the right model on set in a few shame beauty gave you the model green on the north images vera have you ever had a conversation means they said I expected more images and then you're like well I only deliver to images make sure that you have the exact images they expect talk to who for your client is and get that sorted out because you could spend a lot more money on the retouching if you get that wrong. Um, again, you know, focal length, we didn't use f one point two two point eight, because, you know, we want everything in focus, it's all based on what you're shooting, shooting product is different mission lifestyle or, you know, beauty, for example, as a retouch er will you ever ask the photographer for their mood board for their reference so that you can really make it match what their vision was? I will I'll say, what was a reference that actually inspired you shoot and then I'll take cues from that for the color work, for example, and match that end goal that they're going for, which is what she tasted so good with coming up with a you know, color look that he wanted, yes, and that also includes the brief, like a brief, essentially a name that we typically get from clients that have all the reference of the mark of images. So whenever I get a photographer asked me, hey, I want to work with you, we're trying to do I tell the same your brief. A brief is just that. What do you notes? You know, what do you want me to do? Let me see the images and let me see your references, and then we can talk without these things. It's hard to commune with the re toucher when you're trying to find one, the cost of retouching sounds really expensive when you look at it, but how expensive is your time when you're sitting behind that computer losing jobs and the other benefit of actually having re toucher is that you have consistency when you're actually going to a client that is dealing with thousands of dollars and you present a cheap portfolio has great photography, but really random retouching, they're not going to hire you because retouching so inconsistent they don't know what your stylist so stick with somebody from start to finish, or someone who can mirror that same style because when you cheap on the retouching, it may sound expensive at first, but it's going to really hurt you and you goto somebody who you want to shoot with or your client that just his inconsistency throughout your work, so it sounds expensive, but the job that you could be getting from the time that you're actually racing time city home is a factor to play its investment initially the same time, the future is something that can really beneficial on payoff. And I've had photographer clients do that they may not be where they wanted to at the beginning, but they hired me to do their portfolio, and so that when they went, the clients that they wanted, they actually got the job and that's what set them apart that extra one percent? We always talk about it's not that ninety nine percent in that extra one percent that matters is having that final look, the clients one, um, the definition of perfection, the same thing it has to maintain the vision of the photographer. If you're not hard for own stall, it must match what they're going after without overdoing it. We're definitely back fingers. Isn't that why we don't credit it so much? The photographer should stand out future of retouching isn't going anywhere like we talked about it's, the principle that will stay the same, saving photography, right this fill those digital way don't know what what's next, you know, it could be something goo last thing ridiculous. We're just wearing on your face and some kind of their medium that happens, but the principles will never change. So what you should get out of this in any other class is not about the technicalities, it's about artistic value and what it is that they're trying to teach and what values that they're trying to bring forward. Right, it's not about what soft box, what light it's about what type of light source? How big is the light or you know, things like that that matter how to get stars every touch er well, you know, with me what happened was when I first started I didn't have a big portfolio and I put escalated pretty quickly within industry, considerably speaking, I started with one image I saw the one or two images in my portfolio and what happened was those two images fantastic, I think model may my kind of right we had to put up for images and I never had before or after it I didn't have a whole book of it, but I realize it's not about the quantity it's about the quality, right? Like, you see books that have hundred images per book and you're just like, where does it end and where does it begin? But it wasn't about the memory images that I had, it was about the quality of the images and what happened is the photographers that gave me a chance um they were able to get what they wanted because I was able to demonstrate, uh, put for the best work that I had, so calling down your portfolio is really important um and again, when I marketed myself, I never marketed myself in a way that wass by pushy I wasn't a salesman but I was just being friendly with people you know because when you're friendly with him you talk to them they come too and they remember you you sometimes when you think of a job like let's say you're somebody who's looking for a job looking for a photographer chances are this is psychology thing but they will typically come tto last person that they thought about when you make an impact on social media and you make an impact to a photographer and you connect with them they will remember you more than anybody else because that personal connection is established that alone will get you so many jobs and that is what prima started for me and then from there word of mouth you know when your first client starts talking to other their friends and they would use for your retouching say well I give this guy a chance is pretty good and you should give me a chance and it just starts spreading the word of mouth alone has been my biggest marketing tool I have never bought anything from advertising I've never advertised in magazines or anything like that is all through word of mouth and it's so powerful to have that personal relation this business is all about relationships it's less about your talent then is about connectivity how do you know when you're good enough to get to the next level with me research is all about the small steps and photography when you make small goals they all out of to a big goal small victories are big victories in the beginning a small victory would be getting a reply from a photographer the next step was actually getting into a magazine and from there I was a little magazine and then I got a chance for a bigger magazine and then I got into bigger magazines and jump for it is all about the progression it's not gonna happen at one point it's not going to be one thing that that your career does that turns around it's all one collective process that goes for it so don't look for a big break there is not a big great percy for a lot of people it's this is collective accumulation of the small successes that amount is something great and you never know when that's gonna happen happens five years from now having tomorrow um fighting competition from outsourcing I'm never scared about competition because at the end of day photography and retouching still in art it's not going to be about something that streamlined you're not going to be replaced by a robot who has the same settings is you if I gave you the camera today from felix you're shot would still look different even so lighting everything was the same so you should never have a fear of competition because yeah they may know what you have to stop is and you're lighting is but the way they interpret what shot should be taken in what time is the difference that is why I say every shot you take has a something about yourself left in it because no one else can do that same photo and again you don't want to work with you don't differentiate quality if they cannot see why you're better than the next person why you're different then chances are he'll be harder to convince them you know focus your attention on the people that can see where you stand out being a full time re toucher uh this is quite interesting so what does it take to be a full time re toucher well the reality is everything we are our own office as same as photography right there's all we're we're comin we're an entire office we are you know where our own boss right like we can go to a boss and say can we have time off like yeah sure you go to yourself you're gonna give yourself time off you could be working on saturday that sunday that christians and you would be hard on yourself right? It takes marking skills it takes personality it takes ability to have a good eye you training a good eye a solid guy it takes years of practice right if it takes forever almost seemingly to develop your craft which is why what your charge should be based on what you're worth because everything you've done to that point has added value even though that shot maybe only took ten minutes to take it took years to develop your style to get to that shop is intense minutes and that's what your clients hiring you for not because you take ten hours to get that photo because sometimes you can only take ten minutes to get to the result that they want um and again most of retouching is not retouching it's not even related to your skill it's related to how you come across as a person communication value, your business ethic and so many more things if I work with the photographer and I wasn't on time miss deadlines, you had good work, they're not going to work with me I don't care if I the best work in the world it's a lot of being competent but not necessary the best don't worry about being the best because the best is subjected to your client um the required equipment so typically my monitor is the most important aspect of retouching I have a really good monitor which is basic I'm going to go so in depth with this because it's a huge topic but essentially one of my monitors is this any see the color accurate color critical line and essentially what that does is monitors have a few panel types they have I pius panel or a tn panel and what I ps panel is essentially way have you ever looked at really cheap monitors and you you know, shifted up and down and change color a lot of I p s panel screens monitor a love I piss panel liners don't do that you can shift the panel up and down and they don't shift in colors they're also more color accurate and have a larger range that they display for your colors tien panels are very sheep, which is why I love you no laptops or kind of cheap not say mac books but pc side is because they used really cheap panels that are good for business because they're not really important for color but that's essentially kind of overview of the difference I mean there's so many nuances it could be a whole book but that's essentially what it is they're very expensive, which is why I'm max are very expensive because it's not necessarily that they may be premium products with which they may be. So however it's the panel type sometimes that vendors so much more colors in your average crappy, you know pc laptop, for instance, so one of the reason why I have this mac book when I travel is the same thing is no matter if I took this up or down the color still say quite accurate, and they represent a wide range of colors and hear a few brands that kind of make ipo's panel screens like dell makes a couple any sea makes a couple and he's a, which is a top of the line uh company makes them as well it's what they're known for now with the required equipment it's pretty standard actually being a retouched has less overhead than a photographer by far because we just essentially all depends if you have a studio, then maybe not, but for the most part to get up and started as an entry level point. My main thing is having a fasten of computer to be ableto handle for shelf files, which isn't as extensive as video right, which is kind of crazy because you have to spend the whole purpose of budget to be able to be re toucher. The program that I use their footage shop capture one sometimes with plantation digital digital backs from medium format sometimes focus from hustle bud if necessary, which is kind of like capture one. But uh well, the different white room is very big with photographers because they like to have catalogs and they like to be able to sort things and send files from there. Although I don't process with light, truman has the same engine as photo shop does so can translate easily I use a lot of applications like you send it dropbox, inge email because that's essentially standard people used to use ftp servers and things like that file transfer protocols to be able to send files from one cloud to another. But I found that less and less client, sir, going away with it and using drop box, for example, my agency in london one mega management day use only drop box dot com to send me fast because easy for them we share same folder the upload, the falseness folder and we can just copy and paste them. And the good thing is, even if you're not son, if you can send files to clients and just linked him to the folder that your select saree and whatever the case is so drop box essentially big thing, I use graphic tablets, it's something that I use a lot and calibration. One thing I do want to note is that with my calibration, I do recommend x, right I won is a good calibration device because I found it much easier to use from a lot of options. Now the brands that I mentioned earlier sometimes have their own calibration sets, like any sea has their own calibrate er, said plugs, and directly to your monitor, any change you make gets inputted directly into the monitor and not the graphics card, so what happens is you get you get perfect colors as you're working in calibrating again that's not the whole topic calibration, they could spend days on it, but it is important to cover if you don't, because, man, I've seen prince go from the computer to the printer and in a completely different, and sometimes you realize that your calibration is off. I once went to a client and he hired me for teaching, teaching session, and I saw his monitor and he couldn't figure out why his photos were always bright, and what happened was his manual setting and the mac he put his brightness up all the way to the end. It wasn't the brightness sitting on your keyboard, it was one of the internal ones where everything washed out. In contrast, if you thought that if I should look for some reason and he just never knew some reason, I never looked at another display, and if you'd just calibrate his monitor, he would've figured it out. We never did so it's important caliber because you don't know what you're not saying because you spend all this money on your camera, but then your output is it isn't good, then you don't know what you're not seeing essentially. So don't skimp out on your screening calibration that's the most important part because that's what everyone is saying you are as close to it is possible graphic tablets the differences in tablets most people typically either we're fifty fifty from what I've seen photographers use graphic tablets where they don't use graphic tablets I think that it has sped up my work for quite considerably because a graphic tablets every line that you do is more precise with the mouse you're going to get jack it'll curse or attract pat and that's essentially what it boils down to precision and beautiful ships now they're few differences for example the cheapest line is a lack of into us which starts at seven and box which is nothing people think they're quite expensive but they're not I recommend people to jump on this when they want to start out with the touching or with photography I want to give graphic tablets try the next line is the interest pro now the difference essentially being the technology of the same gemma out of features like within toast pro you have things like added buttons you have this real on the side which you can toggle and scroll through layers and re size and sample and you know more custom customization and looks and build it's more dependable that being the primary difference then you have the same tic and the many versions but santic start at about a grand and the difference of that is, if you want to actually retouch on a screen, you could take the screen. You can retouch on the screen itself. You could start drying on the screen, which is fantastic if you enjoy. Actually, drawing on a screen, for instance, gives you the power to do so. So it's. All personal preference. I, like use the interest probe, which I'm using tomorrow because I can keep our eye on the screen, and my hand isn't blocking my peripheral vision and the image. It gets a better picture of everything.