Portrait Retouching Workflow


Basic Portrait Retouching


Lesson Info

Portrait Retouching Workflow

Took a little bit just my set up and the little things that are kind of basic, but I don't want to dig into the basics. We don't have the time for that, but a little bit off my set up. Hopefully this is helpful, I when I work, I always have my stylist in my tablet, obviously in the right hand side and my thumb, my left found was sitting on the command key because most of the hard case, most of the keyboard shortcuts are on the left side of the keyboard, and I never even take away. I never have to look at my keyboard because my hand remembers everything I might not. Even if you ask me some keyboard shortcuts, I might not even be able to tell you what they are, but my hands, nose and e and by default the size of the brush. Um, the keyboard shortcut is the square brackets it's on the right hand side of the keyboard, and when I retouch, especially when it doesn't burn, I don't want tio stop to change the size of the brush. I want to use a keyboard shortcut and it wouldn't be very convenien...

t for me to lift up my hand, move it to the other side of the keyboard, go back, because both times I would have to look at the key part and stop so instead of doing that I actually reprogrammed my aunt I always do it whenever I get a new computer where I'm working on someone else's I reprogrammed my brush size keyboard keyboard shortcuts tio q and a I barely ever used quick mask so I don't mind using replacing the cue for increasing the bar size in a for disgracing if you want to do that or at least try it you can go into keyboard shortcuts tools and then scroll all the way down in a little bit back and you will see increased brush size decrease burst size few type the whatever he's working for you if you type them in here and they were ready to take in front of people warn you and say this is already being used for such a surgeon you just say except it's ok I know and go ahead this way whenever I'm painting or especially dodging and burning I don't have to stop and change I just can do it as I go I'm not sure if you can see it but we'll just do it this way so I paint I paint and so on so that's one thing in once that has changed if you're photoshopped crashes before you save that or something goes wrong or you know you dread one of the panels told you know into the screen then you have to precisely put it back tio where it belongs I always save my work space so I don't have to deal with all of that I set up if I get a new computer I set up all my panels in the same it's being like this for a cz long as I remember working in photo shop, I have my navigator properties seen phil adjustments and the bottom part is usually layers accents channels can be different set of panels for you, but my point is I always know I don't even have to stop for a second to look for something because I know where everything is sitting and especially after I've reprogrammed my keys what you can do is just go on new work space I just always call mine mine I know it's my and then safe and it's spread here on my beak computer at home I have mine give for crate and give false so there is a timeline and I have one for recording video tutorials so I just choose workspace and its chief told the panels just dependence that I need to the places that I need on the screen so it saves me a couple of seconds here and there but and sometimes what? You know you can accidentally just drag a panel into the screen and then you need to place it back where it belongs you just go reset mine and it puts everything where it has to be and next is brush tapes for you what companion the instant if you don't know what come actually gives you a whole bunch of extra need spending caps and I've got a couple other tablets at home, but I've been using this one for about four years and I'm only gone through one often eats and I prefer the soft ones because um the black ones the hard ones they feel almost like scratching on the surface of the tablet so I prefer this soft ones and I'm almost gone they're almost gone for me, so um I don't use banned pressure, so that saves them there's a little metal ring that helps you to pull out the need to get one out, stick it in and so try whichever they a few of them are similar some of them are different, so try whatever feels well, you question there j m was wondering if you have your welcome style set on pressure or on flow slash capacity that's a good question it's very, very basic and I actually just happened to record a whole video like twelve minutes explaining a little that I don't use ben pressure, especially when I'm dot and burning and I've explained and showed a lot of, um kind of examples or I actually walked the viewers why I do it this way and it's also in that girl I think it's one of the top videos like if you scroll down on that page it's the video mastering brushes for dr bernie think it's cold, so that really in detail explains why I don't use can pressure great again and the last one I get, um often asked about the tablet size I prefer the small one, I have two medium sized ones, the very first one that I bought in two thousand nine I just didn't buy the big one because it was very specifics. I could only afford the media one thinking that I'm compromising the quality, but then a few years later, my husband actually bought this one and I think he bought it because he just didn't want to pay a lot for you, but the two pistol on the smallest one and I thought that I would have tio go back to the shop and change, but I tried the small one and they love it so much more and then I want one. Welcome the welcome contest also medium size than your one, but I still work on this one because when I'm I'm spending so much time working with the tablet, even if I'm not re touched him still with a tablet, I never use the mouth and I can reach from one size a side of the screen to the other without lifting my arm. And if I would have to do that all day, I would strain my shoulder, my neck, my back and I can't afford being ill or, you know, having my back um just not functioning well, so this is basically just a simple is that is just very easy on my body, so that tablet thing does it if you're using a lap I mean desktop at home with a really big screen does it help if that it's actually doesn't need to be proportion because I heard that it'll go super faster if now the proportion they said like if you want to have a bigger screen you want a bigger tablet no, I don't really it is mapped the whole screen is map tio your the working area here which you can also re program in the settings but no, I actually I kind of expected that question, I guess because I actually tried and on my big screen I have twenty seven inch at home and I tried in the movement is just you know, you have to move a little bit, but if you have trouble getting precisely to the point where you need to be just a minute once you zoom, then you have the whole problem on your screen much bigger now you have this space to work so zooming in will help kind of avoid, you know, being it's moving too fast from one yeah no I you know I knew you would ask that you go and I've never said this to anyone before but I think it's very very important that I realized and I've bean through this teo I guess everyone goes through this when we start learning something new we spent so much time looking for those tutorials finding the secret retouching technique or something that will, you know, make everything much easier spending a lot of time looking through magazines through tutorials, reading articles and stuff and practice and so will because it seems like I don't know what to do so you know, maybe I'll keep looking and I'll keep learning and then I will start with touching but my advice is once you've learned right about the technique or watched a tutorial, go ahead and practice spend a week doing the frequencies separation on once I'm image again and again, I promise you after that week you will be so much better that if you go and look for twenty more tutorials, you will not get better. I promise you that practices what we'll get to where you want to be and I love working out and I go to the jamot list for five times a week and I spend a lot of time communicating with personal trainers and do junkets and what they will say is eighty percent off your the fetus progress is made in your kitchen, meaning that you come into the game, you push hard, you spend that hour or two and you know you work out, but then you go home and day after day, meal after meal you were actually building or you creating that progress that the fitness progress. So here, this's your game, the studying, looking for editorials and this is your nutrition. So all the progress will be from actual practice actually doing things. And like I said, take one tutorial and do what you've just learned a few times on ones they mean mature and a few even just you will get so much better by doing not watching. And we humans are creature self habit and not only that our brain is built so that through muscle memory we get better and it's the connection between your hand and your eyes. Three a brain that you need that practices what will get you better. So it's just so important that I know that we always learn when we figure it out on our own we're like, oh, yeah, I heard that someone said that like twenty years ago, but it really does work, but it does work practices, everything, and so my portrait read such and workflow um, tomorrow spent some time in light room because I fair my spend a little bit more time with commercial beauty in with working with the role file. But when it comes to porch it's like I said would try to get through the research and faces fastest possible with still great final results. But I tried to shoot well so I don't have to do much in with the profile so I can on ly tweak a couple of things, get my exposure and my callers perfect and go to photo shop with just one roll conversion. Once that's done open my fallen in photo shop and that's when the whole retouching stage starts begins and that's the longest part. Obviously I start with a clean up, but I do healing and cloning just like everyone else, and I used to have frequencies separation as a whole stage ship, my retouching, but not anymore. I actually went on. Well, I banned it from my work flow for a while because of all the talks that we had recently in the recession academy community, how bad it is, and so I was working without it for a while for two three months and what I realized was it's not making anything better for me because there are still issues that are easily fixed with frequent separation it's, not the technique that is bad it's the way we use it, it's the artist and the the ability to actually use it the way it's supposed to be used, and I will show you what I've actually learned from that experience, not using it for a while, but once I got back into it and started using it again, and I will defend this technique well, forever and ever, because I know for sure that it is a great technique, I'll show you how you use it. You may hear from professional rita cher's that they don't use it, but like I said before, we're not perfect, or maybe someone who is a professional read such yes, please go ahead and do dodging and burning for a so long as you can because you're getting paid for it. But as portia photographers, we can't afford spending an hour where we could do things in just a few minutes, but the frequency separation I'll show you an example, it's just we have values, we have callers and we have texture, so when we try tio fix the values we use, dodging and burning, then we need to also no scholarships. We need tio use call corruption techniques to fix those collars, and then also, if there is a texture issue on top of that whole blemish that we've just fixed, we still need to do something for the texture. Where's the frequencies separation will allow you to do it all and just, you know, within a minute or two independent off course on this situation. So now the frequencies separation. I don't do as much as I used to even half a year ago, but I still use it, and I kind of shaped it into my quick cleanup stage offer touches so that's it's in my head and that's how I approach it. I do quick healing and cloning, and then I do quick frequencies separation and I'll show you exactly what but I think what skin issues I use it for. And then it's dajun burning and again with commercial beauty retouching there's a lot dodging and burning that happens majority off your time will go into dodging burning, but with poor traits I use dodger than burning for mainly just unflattering largest shadows on the face and just the global head in accents and volumes into the images. That's what might dajun burning for portrait's is and then local call corrections. Obviously, if you need if there is any discoloration on the skin or if collar shifts were created after you dodged and burned, and then I take care of the makeup, hair and outfits and again, this is the part where what I said before, if you've taken care off all things but could be fixed before you captured the image then this will be just you will fly through this part because you don't need to fix anything for everything was already done well before the shot, but I understand and see how you I don't know because I you know, I shot some so many time or for many years I was shooting on my own not having the makeup artist not being able to afford or my client didn't want tio you know you want it or not, you will have to fix things in florida shelves, but again just watching and trying tio get as many troubles and issues out of the way before you kept her. That image will help you just having that, you know, just teaching the mind set off I'll fix it later in prada shop that's enough just to be in a different mindset because I was in that for many, many years and once you get piles on policy work, you realize that no that's not smart that's not going to get too far, so you need teo, you know, eliminate as much as you can, so that is the part where you just done and then the last party's shapes working with liquefying I try not if I don't absolutely have to I will not touch it because that's where most of the mistakes that visual leave of yours will actually spot that something is wrong so if I don't have teo, I will not liquefy anything. And there are I do it at the end of my retouching. But I know that a lot of free touch ear's photographers do it in the very beginning and they are pro's and calls for both possible scenarios and I'll share them with you and you will just have to decide what works for you. The reason why I do it at the very end is because if I'm re touching for a client I will re touch everything and I do it in the way that I have my background layer that my quick cleanup, then my frequency separation, all the layer seba are all see through their all adjustment layers. So if anything that any old my retouching is done like this so the frequencies separation or the background where are the bottom layers with the actual image everything else is see through, but to apply liquefying I have toe stempel um all of those so I stepped them and apply my liquefying that on that top layer. And then I send this preview finally managed to my client and if my client gets back to me and says, you know, you liquefy that shoulder a little bit too far, can you just go back I can't either just completely remove this top player and we do it or I can you know, change things up there just shift a little bit but if I did it in the very beginning that I'm pretty much done because all the top players were applied to that form and shape right? So I can just go back there and just really quick fyi expecting that everything else well just shift it want you will either have to go into each layer and apply the same mesh liquefy mash onto all of them, but I sometimes have dozens and dozens of layers, so that's it's just it's just not working for me also the other reason why I do that the end is because sometimes some things that I think I'm going to liquefied at the end by the time I get there, I don't need to because either with dodging and burning night reshaped those the neck or something something so it's possible to change them with dodgers and burning so you won't even have to look at five things and like I said, I wouldn't even if I don't absolutely have to um again tried for yourself and see what works best for you but just keep that in mind that you don't have ah good way to go back and change something if you've done it in the beginning ofthe here retouching and applied everything else on top and then the last step will always be called grating for me blind artistic collars, and they didn't accents again that's easy, because that will be sitting on top of my liquefying, and if I send it to the client and the client wants me to really crif, I anything I can easily go underneath and do it, or if the color grading wasn't done, you know, the client didn't like it. I can just go back and also just fix it, and I will save my masterpiece, defile always and then merge and safe as j packs or teeth falls, depending on what my client is expecting. So that's, my, um, workflow in before I actually jump into one of the portrait, I just want to show you what I meant when I was talking about the what I prefer tio work on with the frequency separation, so we have a whole set off problems on the skin that were usually working on and the smallest ones, the tiniest very contrast thoughts with a very dark shadow and very bright highlight, they're the easiest to fix with just a touch of for basic tool, the concept or healing brush tool don't even think twice, just gone and that's, what I would do there are larger. And this is not something that's the same sort of size from the same image I mean is, um thing, but they're all on the same level zoom off three of them and so there are a little bit larger problems that also have pretty contrast the difference in the values darker shadows and brighter highlights but also may have some texture problems so you can dodge and burn but then you will have scholarships because the shadows will be let more saturated highlights will be less saturated then you have to also apply some call of corrections and then once that is done in the values look even you may still have some texture problems that they're right with the frequency separation is just so much easier to just they're gone and if you still have larger areas that are darker, brighter or discoloration, you can leave that for dodging burning you don't have to get it all perfect with just one technique just kind of decide decide for yourself what exactly what type and size ofthe issues you're attacking with what technique and you will always know ok, this I will get in out of the way during my frequency separation and then I will continue with dodging and burning so the last one is dodging burn in call correction it's just larger areas that probably have no texture problems but they have their either darker oh brighter and they also have some color problems or they may not even have caller problems until after you have applied dodging and burning so that's that's my approach now I used tio do a lot more with the frequents a separation but bending it out of my workflow actually helped me to understand where its best use and the last thing that I just wanted tio just mention not going to talk about it because there is already a video that I've recorded on what it is that makes a human more attractive not only in the images but in real life too and you know everyone talks about how to retouch but not everyone can explain what exactly it is that we need to change or correct or remove out of the image to make someone look more attractive so there is a video that I recorded and again it's on the same page and make sure to watch it I mean hopefully you will take something out of it but especially for the guys who are into retouching because we females no female faces we have been applying our makeup for a while or at least we've been watching our girlfriends and so we know a little bit off female beauty obviously but for the guys it's even more important so I just wanted to throw it out there it's very important we don't have the time to talk about it but fortunately it's already there I've got two porches that I wanted to show you guys. One was photographed outdoors, and one was photographed in this studio. Obviously, those of you who have been shooting and retouching for while you already. I know that those that air photographed outdoors with shallow depth of field, or so much easier to retouch, because there is not so much detail that we have to deal with and preserve. And whenever I have a chance, I will take my client outside and shoot with a shallow depth of field. Open up my aperture and use natural light, because it will save me time.

Class Description

Every photograph is unique and there’s no one retouching rule that will work for all photographs you encounter.

In Basic Portrait Retouching, Julia Kuzmenko McKim will discuss how to develop a solid retouching workflow that will have you quickly and efficiently achieving the kind of results that keep clients happy. You’ll learn how to retouch skin while preserving its texture, fix makeup and hair, and finalize your portraits without spending countless hours doing it.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2



Julia is such a pro at her trade! her passion for detail and knowledge of the human form along with the subtle maneuvers of Photoshop are incredible. I'm not sure how she manages to spend so much time on a single image - must be her dedication to perfection. This is a course well worth the asking price!