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The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 10 of 32

What to Know Before You Get Started


The Art & Business of High-End Retouching

Lesson 10 of 32

What to Know Before You Get Started


Lesson Info

What to Know Before You Get Started

So he is ah example of something that was from the gallery. You see, hitler and joseph was removed from the photograph. It remains unclear why, obviously, you probably did something wrong and he's probably removed from real life, too. It was foreshadowing, and this is all before photo shop. This is why you take plates. They probably either had plates or something where they just copied over and be gone. Another example. Lincoln, the compass it and generally says ulysses s grant and from his troops and you see how all the elements were pieced together to make such a beautiful portrait that never happened. No photo shop intended. This is a great gallery. Foreign six dot com slash photo dash tampering, dash history has such an extensive collection you could see everything theirs. I think like six or seven pages of just examples spanning from beginning alway too now. So I think it'd be great to check it out. I made a question list for photographers on my facebook page and I said, basically...

tell me the things that you wish you knew before you got started. The things that are the things that people were sting you before they got started in the industry and I collected the best ones or the ones that got the most likes, and I said this would be great to present and sienna says, I wish I knew that I had to start building network earlier, I wish I knew that communication has such great importance in a photographer's life. Maybe I would have paid more attention to developing my communication skills. Maybe I would have been more prepared. So going back to the aspect of communication and networking, which is what I talked about earlier, it is far more by far the most important thing with photography, this communication networking, which y said a we're not competition and b, we have to have good communication without that, you know, you don't have a lot of what you could have, liz says. Just because you like a photo doesn't mean it's available because two things happen. People buy photos of themselves right, clients will hire you to buy photos, and they'll hire you for a photo shoot. They're not going to hire you because you shot a flower really nicely, maybe maybe you're going to stock photography or something, but when you go to sales when you go to sales, it's something that either of themselves or another example of something that reflects the identity, right, you connect to a photo because you see something in that photo, you don't connect to it because it's pretty you connected because his emotional connection and it stands out to you. And law, the best photographs in the world have that in you it elicits something inside of you. You don't know what that is intangible photography is something that brings the intangible into reality, and I think I'll tweet that's what photography's justin says your photography should reflect who you are as a person. If you photograph the stuff you love in her passion about people know more about you were looking at your portfolio in spending a week with you. This is why you should never copy your competition never look at your idols and say, I'm gonna copy that person because it says nothing about you when you're gone what's going to happen is your footers are going to say more about you than you could ever see in a thousand words it's, completely intangible, but the same time it shows what you're passionate about and that's important and that's ultimately what sells gossiping and granting or waste of energy by jason crippa, right, when you go on facebook and research newsfeed, what happens there? Some people gossiping, ranting what doesn't really get us? What is that showing about us? People probably won't comment back and say, you know, you're kind of being stupid, but the reality is known really want to see that don't want to energy. When you look at people who uncreative life, for example, you see people who are passionate and and are so immersed in what we do in love because with photography you're doing is because you love it. If you're renting so much, why are you in this industry? Right? You should be somewhere else doing something else weird, we're gifted to be able to teach our passion and to be able to, um, shoot what we love, so focus on that positive energy because that will drive you to success. It's not the negative energy that pushes you into what you want to do. Aidan says. I wish I'd known to take more business classes shooting only ten to twenty percent of my time most of my days handling the business and pre production, and most of that has been learned through trial and error. People underestimate how much business and marketing goes into photography, right? I think it's a joke that's like you know, most of photography is not even photography it's just sitting behind a computer making sales you're a salesman in a sense which is true because it's not even about your photo and all that at the end of the day's, how you can sell yourself and how you can sell the photographs. So investing in business class is probably the best thing that I did going to business school was fantastic. It taught me a lot about actually retouching than retouching ever taught me about business, ari says, if you're afraid of failure, you're expecting to fail. If you're not afraid of failure, you're unstoppable. Do you ever go through a chute and you see a photograph and you kind of like it, but you're scared to share that photograph. It happens so often I visit photographers on a regular basis, and I see the work that they do, but sometimes they're just so scared to put their work out there because of what other photographers think that they don't do it. But the reality is, you're not marking yourself, so the photographers see marketing yourself to clients who favor things that photographers may not like. So don't be afraid of show you work, because that will ultimately stop you from getting head latasha is don't fall the top photographers of all time, yes, their source of inspiration, but also takes time to fall the ones who underground unknown, you'll be surprised at the results. Now, when you study other photographers, there are things you should take away from them, and there are things that you shouldn't, for example, nowadays, marketing has changed so much, your social media it doesn't apply to what the photographers of old did the connections they had were established in different ways it's creatively inspired by what they did work wise but it's a whole other ball game now so what I really recommend doing this following your colleagues and returns of how they achieve success and what methods they used to actually get there since they're looking at their work look at the work ethic that is more important he also says don't let the gear don't let gear fear stop you from taking the first step she with whatever you have and just do it instead thinking and thinking technicalities prime example today we have the eighty millimeter lens it wasn't for beauty but we did anyway right and we made it work it may not have been the optimal situation but is what we had and we did what we could and sometimes you have to roll with the punches so don't let fear stop you don't think you needed eight hundred just to go and shoot photos right? I start with a point and shoot camera I got brilliant photos from it how many artists you know that started with crappy equipment but still make beautiful photographs because they're not scared to do that they're not waiting for the next light like the flash from modified to good people portrait you do stuff unnatural lightened really bad care it's fine to still live to stop you joshua says studying equipment you need for photography wait that he'd equipment you need for what photography would like to do don't just buy what every photographers use that's why I said don't listen to someone just because they're on stage where they wrote the article, I do it because you know that lens is important to you it has something you need don't just do it because you want it want versus need is so much different, jason says it's your career and you can determine the direction you take, but it may take time to get on course, so be patient ah huge mistake that people make is that they think that it's going to take less time to get to where they want then it actually does mean felix, we're actually talking about this yesterday, he said the same thing, he said it at least takes five years to seven years to get somewhere in this field and it's true don't give up after just two years don't give up to you and say, you know, I tried my best I can't do anymore if you're not ready to sacrifice those five years of seven years, then it's him much harder for you than you think dream says don't be afraid to ask others for advice reason why became better? What I do is because I ask people, how did you do it I was considered really annoying when I started they said they would be kind of upset at me because I was never afraid of asking questions like I did with felix city I didn't care what people on air we're thinking because I was genuinely curious I'm sure other people were for example, when you're in class right there's always that one person that's asking the questions but everyone else is either saying you're so annoying or or they're saying, wow, that's a good question, right? I was kind of in the middle that's will be shy to ask, but the end of the day, the person who asked the question gets ahead and they completely get everything out of it now with social media you're you're shocked to see who's online and who you can go and ask there's been so many people who have come to me and said, how does he how does he do that? How does large get her color that way I'm like, have you ever decided thought about asking them before asking me and I know like, why are you scared? Yeah, I'm just gonna ask and you'll be surprised what happens when they do ask they're shocked to find that they actually nice people end of the world's people you know, we all came from the same point, so don't be afraid to ask questions I don't feel like you have to know everything I don't know everything I don't even think about photo shop I'm gonna seize I'm going to be able to point out so he thinks more they just don't know if we're honest about it and that's okay that I'm crazy for getting myself into this huge it is a crazy thing photography and art is a crazy thing at some point in everybody's life they're like you should be a doctor should be a lawyer makes you make more money that way you know the reality is it's not about the money we're doing this because we have freedom or schedules and we're doing something that or sold is craving this's about your passion this isn't about the money you know we do need the money to get ahead in life but you know the money will come it's more about, you know doing what you love and doing that as your life because now when people come to me they tell me man that's amazing what you do you get to do it everyone your schedules great whatever but the beginning no one was on my side like you're crazy, you're going to be poor and broke and you're going to live in by the dumpster and all this stuff are you serious that's such terrible encouragement but you know in the beginning we all people who don't believe in us and then eventually what happens is you just stick to what you love and they see that they see your passion and how serious you are and they see how happy your dinner today and what happens is you have no regrets because the last thing you want to do is regret that you never gave it your all roberto says million likes equals zero dollars don't be focused on the number of likes your photo gets on the internet because again, if you're fans and we'll see photographers, it doesn't matter how many photographers like you work it doesn't matter what your client thinking with your marketing strategies to your client's a whole different ball game now I must say though likes to matter and censor it gives you a socialist you know radar in terms of how you're doing but don't let that be the only thing and that's what my point is tony says how marking yourself properly is more important than being amazing photographer and re toucher you know you see people who are so good at photography but never get discovered they get so disappointed and does it get so hard in their selves and then you see the people who maybe aren't as good get noticed and then you see jealousy happened, he said the people get jealous but the thing is this photography is a business it's about how you sell yourself and how you sell your work have you ever gone into art museum and seeing that black canvas on the wallet is that soul for, like, twenty million dollars and there's nothing on it? How did that happen? The realities? They were great and marketing themselves in the work, and they put meaning into what they shot. So sometimes it's not even how it looks aesthetically, but what it means. Who's buying it, who's selling is it in is a crime so there's something you have to factor it's? Not just about the photography or how the food it looks it's about how you market yourself, how you market that thing, you just shot a lot of photographers who should personal pieces and it's so subjective, you know, ninety percent people won't like it, but there's a conversation that happens. That conversation sparks interest from buyers, and sometimes that you need just one buyer to make it worth it. So don't be afraid of yourself in your photography. No, I have some advice for my side of things that I learned that I think is most important. Retouching is not airbrushing for god's sakes, I need someone make a t shirt while this retouching is not airbrushing don't think just because you caught retouching called airbrushing airbrushing is not technique that's using digital retouching, okay? Do not call it that I'm going to say so many times you're going to get sick of me hearing that but I think I had to say it everyone told me to say it so blamed them not me retouching that editing either don't say did you edit that photograph editing is the process of killing maybe this is too technical maybe if you have different opinions personally I don't think we're touching and editing of the same thing editing essentially making selections to me at least when I talked to a photographer I'm not going to say I can't edit your photo you looked at me like what you're talking about you know they'll call it on their side they'll call it editing and don't know what that means like hear my edits you hear my selects and then I can think phrase things accordingly okay just silly points I want to get out there um blurring skin don't do it I think that's really important okay I'm just talking about high end retouching talk about property touching blurring has no place in the retouching world okay there may be some practical uses like you feel under some effects or something or if you purposely want change go into like a porcelain doll fine maybe you have like a wedding client that doesn't really care and wants you to you know make her into force whatever that's your purpose but generally speaking please don't blur skin um now I learned this from rob grimm was actually a creative live instructor pristine I met him in the bahamas stoppers uh he said that pear face don't worry about the barrier to entry you can't buy experience someone said you know are you afraid of competition and are you afraid you're going to be washed out I said no not really because I'm not competing on the low end I'm going for you know I'm saving myself for something that's more valuable because when you price yourself to what you deserve you won't have to worry about people who are pricing yourself out of the industry completely there will always be people who have been undercut you and charge like a hundred dollars for a photo shoot they will always be those people but you don't after his clients you know after educating them you're after people who see value in you there's enough people out there that you can focus on people who see value in you so you have to focus on people that really don't matter because they're there in their own little division and they can fight among themselves but you know the main emphasis is that just stick to what you worth don't undervalue yourself because also undervalues the industry right um kelso said be secure insecurity we're all in secure all afraid but you're in a work but you have to be gutless and fearless and to put yourself out there and leave your ego at the door. We're not firemen were not curing cancer. Yes, photography is amazing. It's very moving. Okay, no doubt about that. Retouching is great too. But there's no need to have a ego in this industry, right? You should be still people friendly this's the people's industry. You're talking of people, there's no spot for being a big shot or whatever, right? Just keep it civil. Um, you have to want this more than sleep your eyes. Maybe it after me too, but your mind should always be at one point to me and keep it open. Mind, you know, your mind should be active and alert. I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I've had right just getting this together. So I think we had. So we sleepless nights in a row just getting together reduce because we love it right like this? You'd drive us to a point where we don't need outside inspiration. Okay, if you want to sleep a nap more than you want success in this field, then you have a problem serious. So the retailers who spend, you know go overnight and work through morning hours, random hours, right? Re editing were in the studio, and her friends think we're crazy and think we're gone nuts. Right but it happens we have to want this a lot it's okay to say I don't know like I said I don't know many things I'll be the first to admit it and share secrets that's why I'm here today cause I love teaching I love empowering people of what they should know to share your secrets is important retouching is not an afterthought you cannot retouch a shot into gucci who shoot like wal marts that is really important to know I get people coming up to me and say saying hey, I love the show but meritus tino I want that look in my photograph like did you shoot like mayor testino? No well I can't give you that look because you have to have certain elements in the photo before you actually are talk about post production you don't know how much that goes into it that is why I brought felix on a lot of people say well does the research class I don't wanna watch photography well yeah, you kind of do if you don't know where you're going, you have to see what the mindset is about what you're lighting in the pre production the processing the thinking before you get in three touching retouching starts in preproduction not post production the look you want is not afterthought okay this is funny creativity is seeing the number of ways that people try to get your lower your rates there's so many ways that people will try to say, could you give me a discounter like this many shots? Could you do it less but that's just a side point? Um simple like and comment go a long way know what I mean by that is sometimes I will go and spend time actually looking at my colleagues working, you know, just commenting saying great work, I love this about this and we don't do that often, right? We're so entrenched in showing our own work and getting ahead, we don't spend time going to other colleagues and say, hey, you look good job, I think this is fantastic and they remember that when a client or somebody sees that they come back you and say, well, I really appreciate it, you know? It happens all the time, sometimes I'll get people say, hey, you like that photograph like, two years ago, I'm so happy that really changed my life. I don't remember, right? But it makes such a difference if the person because of all this work into the studio and you know, he spent hours, we hold sometimes it for just a simple, like, you know, and we get that like from a colleague and itjust brightens their date makes your day, but you can't deny that's why we're all on facebook so spend that time and let people know when you like something I think it's human nature to speak out when you hate something, which is why a lot of bad commons happened, but it's not common to say something when you've done something right, so when somebody does a good job, let them know this it'd you you'll be amazed at how many connections you can get just by doing that, um, you stall is a reflection of your intangible self, a piece of your soul, you leave a pizza yourself behind every shot that you create, only other people can detect it as your true style sometimes say say, hey, you know what? I don't know what my style is. The reality is, sometimes you're expressing your style even though you don't know, you are people will see in you before you see in yourself every forty you take, you leave something behind for another artist to interpret it and see yourself, right? Which is why we're all creatives and artists we see are we see who they are without them even knowing what they just displayed. So then why are we touch is even needed, right? Um, they're a couple of reasons number one is we're specialized, right? We've spent three years fine tuning our craft so that we can deliver results that you probably couldn't in a time span that you probably couldn't and so the photographers can then free up their own time to be able to shoot however they want and then not spend so much time on the computer right? Like if you're a surgeon, your focus is on surgery not going home with them and making sure they're fine bed right like they have other special carriers for that as a photographer yours your focus photography at a certain point, every photographer who gets years by their craft will typically have to let go of their files it's like letting go of your baby to college or something right what'll happen is everyone has a delegation you don't do the make up in here on set right? You didn't do all this stuff so you delegate the things that are necessary and again a good re toucher will basically be a backup singer to you he's not going to overshadow your work so the fear that you're letting go of your creativity is not the case as you saw with me and felix he's creative he's still there he's just using me to get to where he wants to be like a car to him that's what a really bad example but he'll essentially drive me to the point where he wants to be but I'll be his particular car to get to that point it's not that I'm taking any control away from him so bad retouching in the media those a case a very popular case by ralph lauren that happened where they liquefy this model and did you guys remember that if you don't google it what happened was she was liquefied and she's like it's really weird stick figure thing with a normal head and the arms are always confide in and will happen was it was a big media outrage I think that's how we were all started was that ralph lauren shot and people are asking why does it happen? Researchers are so evil they're disgusting people you know all this stuff and at the time I thought men like who did that job it's awful so I started researching and I figure out what happens is when you work on big sets you the retouch you will get direction from the photographer the art director to get the client on the side of the company and you get multiple revisions so uh the photographer gives you notes you complete them as a researcher then you go to the editor with our director whoever you're working with a next level they'll give you a set of notes then you pass it on to the next person and they'll give you some notes and so you get this tier of no thank you coming in and as you know when you look at something for a long time it starts looking normal matter how office right there was like a seinfeld episode about kramer you guys watch that where he's in this really red room and everything is so red that everything just look read to him right he's like yeah that's normal and so the realities whenever you're looking for a real long time it starts looking normal and combined that with human nature and you think that there are more flaws there than they actually were and so what happened was their multiple people giving direction and which lent to a screwup but it's not so bad because the monitor images that come out in the world for posters or ad campaigns how many of them were awful not so many but the ones that are bad did pointed out why does it happen hypocrisy in the media you have outlets who you know post article saying look at this example is awful it's ridiculous what do you think about it and they get public outraged why do they do that? Think about it the more hits they get on their site, the more traffic people get, the better it is for the site, right? Um so what they try to do is label retouching is evil, but as you saw from today and as you will see it's not so bad as you think it is and typically doesn't happen as often as you think it does um but the same time, those the same outlets who bash retouching will also be buying, um, advertise space from the same companies. So it's kind of it's kind of hill areas, do you think about it? There will be also a lot of companies who say we don't believe in retouching and naturalist beautiful, right? Uh, and what typically happens is that there's still retouching done to it, but it's done so nice thing that you're not going to ever be able to tell what the leave lines and wrinkles then, but I'll make this one really beautiful skin really beautiful like pasquale dengue in whose, uh really good re toucher obviously actually one the best. And he says, do you know how much retouching was on that? And you're talking about this dove campaign that he did for true beauty, right? You think there's, no retouching them, but guess what? There? And he said, do you know how much retouching was done on that goes? But it is great to do a challenge to keep everyone skin and face showing the mileage but not looking unattractive. The world isn't ready for a nori touching, nothing will stop, things will stop selling, and the reality is retouching just like photography or makeup or lighting, right, what is re touching, really? It's, just trying to make things look a look a little bit better than they were. What is lighting, what does make up, what is all this it's, the same principle, but we put the blame on things that are not necessary, right? Do you ever see children that put makeup on early age? Is that wrong? Like, think about it, you know what? What are we saying? What is bad and what isn't so it's all relative it's up for discussion, but just to get people's, mind thinking.

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