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Lesson 7 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens


Lesson 7 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

7. Retouching

Lesson Info


Okay, so let's smooth some skin. I'm gonna go back here, and I'm gonna go up to my quick color fix. I'll hit this one a bunch of times as I keep going. Like I said, I do like cool skin. But I don't necessarily like it everywhere. You guys see that difference? Can't tell. Yep, there we go. Okay, so I'm gonna zoom in here real quick. So we want to balance this out a little bit. So the way that I would do that is just a quick hack. I'd grab my curves, and I'd grab it from the middle and pull the midtones up. And maybe. So what we wanna do is we wanna flatten it 'cause I know that I can bring it down, I can bring more shadows in. So to retouch you want... So you see how dark it is? We want as little shadows in there as possible while we're retouching like the cellulite or whatnot. Gonna make this thing smaller. Okay. Not there. And then I'm gonna go in there with my patch tool. And I have it set to destination. So I'm grabbing it where I want and pulling it over the area I wanna cover. And...

then we'll get to skin smoothing. That actually helps clarify. We had a question in here about taking the patch tool from the area that you do want to one that you don't want versus the other way. Correct. And so is that just a setting preference? When I first started patching, it was opposite, and I was like, "What's happening?" Yeah, I like to grab from an area that I like, that I want to sample from, and pull it over. Great. Okay. So I've got my skin clean again. I'm gonna grab my brush, and I'm gonna just... Because we did have her kind of vignetted with the light, I'm not gonna make it as bright as over here. I kinda like how it's going off into more shadow. I just want to bring it up a little bit. Woops. So you can see how that balances out more. And we'll take care of, we'll take care of the shadows in a minute. I wanna show you guys. We'll do another little quick hair pop. So if you wanna bring highlights out in the hair, just real quick, you grab your brightness contrast. And I have actions for this too, but I do wanna, the short little hacks, I wanna show you guys longhand. So it's not all actions. I'm just gonna go over the areas that are highlighted in the hair. So super subtle. I might even go in there, right over my catch light. Just, bam, little bit. All right. Okay. So now let's go ahead and let's smooth some skin. Show you guys are... My favorite is powdery skin. I love that kind of powdery look. It's not a one click action to do all over everything. There are third-party software. I think Portraiture's very nice. I personally like to work inside Photoshop as much as possible. I think it's a more natural look, and it's, obviously saves money to buy one program or I think you could do the subscriptions now too where you pay monthly. Do you know what the powdery skin action is doing? What is changing in the program? Yes. The actions, so they can be completely adjustable and customizable. I use smart filters. So if you look over here, you can see the actual filters that are being applied, and then you can go in and fine-tune it yourself for your image, and then you just click here and you can see what blending mode it's on. So this is just really an inverted, the layers got all of these filters applied to it and then it's inverted, and then put into vivid light. Great, thank you. And by the way, we love that you are reading people's minds out there on the internet. Yeah. People were asking about portraiture and whether you do that over working right there in Photoshop. So reading people's mind. I was just literally just waiting for a chance for you to finish a thought so that I could jump in and ask. So that's a done. Bit of a reminder. I know that Alien Skin does another one, and they're great. It's just I've figured out how to do it where I'm happy with it within Photoshop. So, I mean, I've got three kids. I'm always looking to save money where I can. Okay. And when you see images online, there's always that web compression. And so sometimes people will be like, they'll get their proofs or whatever, and they get their books, and they're like, "Oh my God, just to see it in print, it's so different." Because when it does go on the web, there is that kind of compression where you do lose detail a little bit. I personally like being able to see the pores in the skin, which I know there's with the whole glamor look, boudoir look, sometimes people like to, they expect or like to take it to a really glamor kind of plasticky look, and I think that's kind of like 1980s. No offense to anybody. (audience laughs) It's just talking about how I do things. So I'm not gonna freak out about freckles on her arms showing or the wrinkles in her knuckles, stuff like that. I don't really feel like those need to be softened. So can you guys see that? Turn it off. Can you see that? Think I'll come up a little closer. And I'll run this action a few times for different parts of the body. 'Cause like I said, it's not a one click thing that goes for everything. But I'll show you how to adjust it to fit your image. Sorry, I've got a little glare on my screen so you know I probably look really Asian right now. (audience laughs) Having a little hard time seeing right there, but there might be a little bleed off there. I can't tell. All right, so let's go to the face where you can tell a little more. So I've already put some skin smoothing on here, but let's go in here, and you really wanna get this stuff out. I'll just do a couple little areas. So you can open up, you double-click your, where the eyeball is. Well, let's do that one. Let's do this one. So can you see how that's changing? If you look here and here. Don't look here. (audience laughs) But you guys can see that right? Yeah. So as I go over this way, it gets sharper. And as I go over this way, it gets smoother. So on these little spot areas, I'll make it really smooth and kind of powdery. And again, that same area here. We're looking here. You go that way. So you can go in and find out, really fine-tune for every image where you want, what level you want it. I don't want to take away too much texture, but just for the sake of showing you guys if you wanted to take it a little further you could just run this again and customize it. There we go. Okay. So here I have like a glow if you wanted to put a little bit of glow over the skin, which I don't think we need it here, but let's just put it here. And maybe let's hit it up here like the T-zone here. So the forehead down the middle of the nose. Not on the sides. Just down the center here. Just kinda like above here. Kinda around the apples of the cheeks. And then here under the chin, like on the chin. And then just really quickly there. So the whole thing I'm gonna bring back. Do you want me to zoom in? You can see it, right? Okay. So let's go ahead and address some of the areas. We're gonna go back and deal with some exposure. So I'll show you some quick things you can do. If you go to levels and you go down here, and you go down here, you can bring down your darkness and lightness. And here if I wanna bring it down, I always just use this a little bit. And I'll just kinda hit the areas. And this is where also when I was talking about bringing in contouring for the makeup artist, these are the areas where you can do really quickly some contouring. See that? So it makes a difference. It brings back that shape that the makeup artist created. Okay. So these are some of my favorites for boudoir. I love this give me depth action. It's kind of like a hug, like hugs everything. And remember when I talked about bringing the shadow detail back in here? This just automatically does it. But it still keeps the areas we want light. So again Rachel, for that one, could you tell us what that action is comprised of in terms of for everybody what's within there? What's inside of it? Yeah. All it is is a gradient layer set to blending mode luminosity. All right, cool. Beautiful. Thank you. And then I like to do this guy. That nice glow that's really popular with boudoir. So you can see here. And if it's sometimes when, especially anytime you ever go onto what you're doing, basically all it is is you're blurring the image and then you're setting it to a soft light or an overlay. And whenever you use overlay, soft light, hard light, any of those blending modes, tends to really pull in your contrast and tends to kind of oversaturate your image. So you can just go here to select the actual image of that layer and then do an adjustment right on that layer, hue saturation, and you can bring the saturation back. So see how we've got all the pink and it's kind of orange? Now if I drag that saturation back it's starting to give it... I mean, obviously, we don't wanna pull all the color out. And within the action, it already desaturates a little bit. But for this particular image, I'm gonna want it to desaturate a little bit more too. And then I'm gonna go back over here to my mask, and I'm just going to tap over all the areas where I wanna keep the detail. Because even though it's on a soft light blending mode, it's still a blur. So it's still gonna blur out. And for some images, you may like the way that looks. You just might wanna keep it that way. But especially for an image where it's like a three-quarter shot or a headshot, you don't wanna obstruct the details with blur like that. And then I'm just gonna define the edges real quick. So you can see, let me go in a little closer. You can see how it kinda grabs here. If you look around the... It's pulling only the darks of the image and it's intensifying them. And then the sharpening that I do, it is, you can look this up yourself online. It is sharpening with channels. So what that does, when you sharpen an image, it sharpens all the pixels in the image. When you sharpen through channels, you're just selecting, the way that I've run my actions is it's just selecting the details. So the darker parts of the image and the lighter parts, which is usually the skin, are gonna stay preserved. See that? So you're really sharpening what you want. You don't have to deal with going back and masking out the skin. In this case, I'm gonna wanna mask out the skin a little bit just over the lips. And I apologize. I'm having a little bit... The glare is a little bit tricky for me. So I've just grabbed my quick color fix. So I'm just spot fixing right now with the quick color fix. And you can see, when you just take those little color adjustments, it almost makes her look slimmer. Do you notice that? Turn it off, and turn it back on. See how here now it's like hugging around her jawline? Just by doing that little spot color fix. See that? So I would be here. I'd be done with this image. Let's just go to the very beginning or do you guys wanna see the steps again? Just the very beginning and the end? Russ and I were just talking about what an amazing difference from beginning to end. So beautiful, but yet still so real. And it's the same person. Yes. It's absolutely the same person, just focused better. Exactly. The adjustments are all very subtle. So as you're going through the steps, it's like it doesn't really seem like you're doing anything. But then you go back to that first step and you're like, "Whoa." And I really, really recommend doing that often because it's really easy to get lost and you're looking at an image, and you think, "Okay, well, this looks okay." Then you take it a little too far and you don't realize you're doing it. So just, it's kind of the same thing as getting away from your computer for a few minutes. Going back to your first state and going, "Whoa, I need to, I'm probably good here." 'Cause there's always something more we can do. That's one of the cool things about Photoshop is there's just so much you can do with it.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Client Policy
Example: 2 Day Schedule
Lightroom Presets
Lightroom Presets Installation Instructions
Client Session Information
Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Partt 1
Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Part 2
Full Edit & Longhand Retouch Part 3
Longhand Retouch Part 1
Longhand Retouch Part 2
Facebook Ad Creation
Full Edit in Lightroom

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Let me first start off by saying that Rachel puts her subject first. She has a passion for empowering the everyday woman, showing them that Boudoir photography by no means only belongs to the "supermodels". She shows them that they're amazing and beautiful, and it was so comforting and heartwarming to see this in action in her Creative Live course! When Rachel's shooting with a client it's almost like no-one's in the room but the two of them. Rachel gives her undivided attention to the client's safety and well-being and general comfort. I was so glad I tuned in for the course as I learnt countless tips and techniques about lighting, angles, posing, different settings for the different types of shots you'd want to grab. Another reason that watching the class was such a pleasure for me is that Rachel comes across as that awesome, down to earth, lovely friend you might have in your life, who just happens to be one of the BEST Boudoir photogs on the planet! This was an excellent workshop, top to bottom, and I'd recommend purchasing it to anyone who wants to learn everything about this type of photography, including the business side of things which her husband, Sean, explained thoroughly. I have absolutely no idea what a couple reviewers were "disappointed with" but take it from me - this is a STELLAR course and if you're looking to get into the business, or just even honing your skills on photographing the ladies, this is most definitely the course for you! Tons of info - great guidelines on how to handle your models, great info on lighting, lenses and settings! Rachel will make you fall in love with Boudoir photography like your life depended on it! She's just THAT good! So go on, purchase the course and have her invaluable instruction at your fingertips whenever you need it!


I mainly photograph landscapes but I'm interested in learning other types of photography. Being introverted it's a challenge for me to photograph people but I it's a barrier I want to get over. I purchased this course and some others on portraiture and boudoir photography. While Rachel and her husband aren't polished speakers I thought they were honest and straightforward. The "clients" being photographed seemed a bit nervous but I imagine that had a lot to do with the fact they were doing the boudoir session live in front of thousands if not millions of viewers. Rachel also had to keep in mind she was tethered and the recording of the session while photographing her client so I don't think this was optimal and Rachel's back began to bother her so I'm sure she was in some physical pain. Regardless, the resulting pictures were beautiful so Rachel was able to make her clients feel "safe" enough to get through the session. Also it seems part of the audience were women who had been photographed by Rachael so it says something that they came to learn from and support Rachel. I appreciated Rachel was photographing real women, not models. What I liked most about this course is it made me feel like little 'ol ordinary me could be a boudoir photographer too If I am ever inclined to do so. Her style of photography isn't quite mine, but the session was still useful and instructive especially with regard to her lighting set up. I wish Rachel had talked a bit more about setting up the support team that goes around with her like her make up and hair artists, how she finds and decides on houses to rent and what cities she goes to, etc. but I guess you can't go over every single thing in a single course or maybe that can be a future course. Rachel and her husband seemed like a nice down to earth couple who put their family first and they were quite honest about some of the difficulties and their concerns over safety for themselves and their clients. I was touched that Rachel photographs women who have gone through cancer treatment for free as I do volunteer work in a hospital. I thought the bonus and included materials which had Rachel's Lightroom presets and her client info packet was very generous. Some of the other photographers charge for getting a copy of their client documents and presets. I purchased Rachel's eBook off Amazon and wanted to purchase Rachel's Photoshop actions but in searching for the purchase links I read Rachel is going through some health issues, I think it was spinal fusion, and it seems has suspended her business until she recovers. It looks like she plans to still make her "return" sessions starting with Hawaii during April 2017. I wish her and her family the best and will say a prayer for her quick and complete recovery. Thank you Rachel and Sean for coming to Creative Live and I hope you will teach another class or at least participate in a critique of boudoir photographs.


Warning: You are about to encounter a large number of exclamation points. ;-) This was such a great course! It was great to learn boudoir with such a caring, generous, and knowledgeable pair! Rachel really brought it with her posing, shooting, and building rapport with her clients. She even kept going while in intense pain! Also, the sections on retouching were EXCELLENT! I had trouble following the first retouching segment where she used her actions, but then she came back to retouching later and showed us how to do each step "longhand". Knowing what each action is designed for makes such a difference! I feel like Rachel read the audience and saw that we were floundering, and tailored her presentation to just what we needed! Sean was also very thorough in his presentation of the "business" side. It is hard, as an artist, for me to run my business like a business. Sean showed how it can be done. He also showed the need for a strong "why" to focus on when telling others about policies. "It's a business. I need to feed my kids." I need to reach down and find my "why" that will keep me strong enough to stand behind my policies and pricing. I haven't gotten a chance to sit down and go through all of the bonus materials yet, but I am so excited to see what's in there! I saw that Rachel had posted a longhand version of the "little hug," and I watched it, and I have been trying it out on some of my older images. Just that one little tweak makes such a difference! Thank you, Rachel and Sean, for giving us SO MUCH usable content! I'm so glad I decided to watch and then purchase this course! And I can't wait to see the two of you again for your next creativeLIVE!

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