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Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 3

Lesson 17 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 3

Lesson 17 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

17. Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 3

Lesson Info

Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 3

So I'm going to duplicate the layer and I'm gonna go straight. Teoh. Oops! I'm gonna go straight here, too. Vivid light. And then I'm going to invert this guy and I'm going Teoh, convert this to a smart object and I'm gonna go to Filter. I'm gonna go to High Pass and I'm gonna dio see for this image. So I'm looking at just her skin. I'm looking in here where I want Teoh smooth. And you can, you know, obviously take it where you want when I'm what I'm keeping note of. What I'm looking at is I'm looking it. I'm not looking in here. I'm looking at edges there. Well, then I'm gonna go to filter, Blur Ghazi and Blur to do about like a I mean, like, Teoh. And let's go ahead and math that out and I'm gonna show you in a second. Why? I do smart filters. So I'm just gonna go ahead and start smooth away the skin in here and you can tell that I'm being careful, kind of going close to the edges, but kind of avoiding the edges a little bit. And is I don't know how many people still working with a m...

ouse. But using a tablet pen is so amazing when you're retouching because the tablet takes care it It recognizes your pressure on the tablet, and it's just a natural. I mean, I used to work with the mouse to, but it's just a natural wave your hand to go. I mean, if you were going to write your name on a piece of paper and you had a pen and then there was of writing implement that looked like a rock, you would go for the pet. So it's just intuitive. So it's gonna clean around clean, clean, clean. And I'm just good, um, going over edges cause I don't want to get the edges. I'm just making sure that I don't have the edges there, and then I'm gonna do the oap a city, so I don't need it to be perfectly smooth. We want to see some texture, so I'm gonna go there at about 48%. And let's let me show you again really quickly. If you just let's say you just want to do one spot. So if you do, um, duplicate the layer, we're gonna do vivid light. Um, gonna convert convert to spot toe a smart object filter. High pass. Let's go like way up there. Let's go down here and see. Let's go. They're still ghazi and blur. Okay, so when you have smart filters, if something happens, you can go ahead and open these up, and then you can adjust it as you go, rather than going have to flat into do it all over again. So when you do any kind of work with filters on a layer and you think that that's that looks good, but you don't recognize that maybe it doesn't look good over here on this part of the image. And you have a smart filter that all you have to do is double, double, click that filter, and then you can adjust it right there on your later, as opposed to having to redo the whole thing and again. So when you go back and forth over, images were blending and it's super subtle, so I'm gonna just go ahead and use the action for this this time, And powdery skin is the one that I use all the time. There's other skin actions in there. If you want to play around with, um, so I'm just getting I'm not doing the whole thing. I'm not doing it uniform. I'm just basically spots moving. Just mail pacenti and around again greatcoat gonna go down here. So again, remember, I work on on one little area, Then I Then I flat and then I go to another little area than I flatten. Like we all have our techniques That one's mine. And I may just go into the face a little bit and just do a little bit of spots moving in the face. I'm really liking what I'm seeing here. As is It's gonna hit the chin there, appear. Okay, so I'm gonna go back. So I was focusing so much right in here. I didn't do the forehead, so I'm gonna hit skin clean again. This happens a lot, world like Oh, no, I didn't do that part. So thank God for actions. I'm just saying thanks. So that that's suck when you think you're done with an image and you're like, Ah, not another 10 minutes or whatever it would take without. Hm. I was gonna clean up the texture up here a little bit. There we go. And then up in here. I'm just going Teoh hit it with the spot cleaning healing fuel areas in here. I've stooping down because I've dealing with a little bit, um, of glare. Okay, so I'm gonna address this area right in here, and I'm going Teoh, let's go ahead and show you another. I'll show you guys a different skin smoothing techniques. It's not just the one. So you have some variation? Um, we're gonna duplicate the layer and again do the commercial convergence parts. Hi. I can't speak English. Convert to smart object blur surface blur. And let's really take it up here. Let's take it to about 60. Let's try now it's going higher. Let's go here. So I'm gonna take aggressive, and I'm looking right in here on her arm and I'm gonna throw some noise over it, and I'm gonna mask that out. I'm just gonna go ahead and spot over in here. So if you really want that nice move. Look, you can take it further and really smooth that out. Can you guys see that difference? I'm gonna go closer, So it's still it's still a subtle, um subtle. I mean, we're not making her look like a cartoon. So the technique is still for subtlety And this you can do the same thing in here. So when we have these edges here will show you typically, what I do with it is I get the skin around it as, um as, uh, soft as I wanted to be. And then I'm gonna show you a quick hack of how you can bring that in around edges without having to want it. Like shoot yourself because you're getting it doesn't work around edges. It keeps doing that. So I'm gonna get around there so you know, you how you're how you're going through and you're like, OK, that looks great. Okay, Now I have to go in here and let's clean that up a little bit. But then it's bringing some of the imperfection that you wanted to remove back. And you're like, Oh, nuts. Now have to do it again. Show you something really quick. So what I dio is I'm gonna go back to my lasso tool. My buddy. I'm gonna grab skin around up here. Oops. Late at night. I probably would have tweaked out on that for, like, five minutes Why can't I get it? Okay, commands, copy, paste, transform. And we're just gonna tease that down a little, and then we're gonna mask it. We're gonna go in. I'm gonna get a little bit of a harder brush, and then I'm going Teoh paint away. So we're just gonna bring that back here, bring it on back, bring it around town, have kids. Anybody else has kids, you'll know that you'll recognize that from SpongeBob. And this does get a little. This kind of edging work gets a little meticulous, so I just for the purpose of time, may not get Make it totally, totally perfect right now. I hope that you can forgive me for that. So you see now how it's all right here. Now, those imperfections air gone, we're gonna check the copay city. No, I'm gonna keep that about, uh I think what I want to do is I want Teoh. Go ahead and duplicate that and I'm gonna keep this one right there and I'm going. Teoh, merge that down. And then this one I'm going, Teoh! Oops, my bad. Get rid of that. I've already done that and I'm gonna dress this area over here cause I wanted a little bit more over here. Looks There we go. So now those imperfections, they're gone. See? Here, let's go ahead and do that same thing right here again. I've got my lasso tool, and I've got it set to 25 pixels. We're gonna grab in here and we're gonna copy paste, transform free transform or bring it down. And let's say, for example, you bring that down and then the area you want to bring it over to has some more shadow. So you can just go ahead and on the image itself, grabbing adjustment layer, and you can grab your levels, and then you can kind of bring it down a little bit, which I don't want to do that for that. So I'm just gonna go ahead and I'm gonna just keeps you want a softer brush here? I'm gonna go ahead. I just bring this in here just a little bit. Just kind of go over right here a little more. Make it smaller, get in towards the edge a little bored, a bit more, and I'm happy there. Okay, so now I'm looking at the image here. I'm really liking the skin. I'm liking where it is Now I'm gonna look at exposure again. So what I'm gonna dio is I'm going, Teoh, Let's first to go ahead and level out. Some of this is the shadow highlights. Sometimes I like to go in here and just see what it does kind of play around in here a little bit. Sometimes I really like what the shadow highlight does. Sometimes it sucks. But you know something Always good toe. Check it out. It's a for me. It's in my action, so I can just hit it hit a key, and it just doesn't really quick. And if I don't like, I just delete it. Kind of like what it was doing around here, and I'm going to bring some more contrast in the sack. Okay, so, um, here, I'm going to go ahead, and I'm gonna bring down some of the exposure, so I'm gonna grab I'm gonna do that in curves for this one. It's gonna pull down and again, these air highlights these air shadows, and here's your mid tones. Just gonna kind of play around with different points. Just kind of kind of spot tone down where I wanted to go. This is also great to kind of vignette around. And then you stop kind of around the head and then all of that, you know, you have that kind of nice halo. That's kind of how you can fake a halo easily too. And go riel small here and kind of contour in on the cleavage there. Because why wouldn't I and then remember what I talked about with makeup? This is where we can go in and start to contour. I'll bring my pay city down to 10 for that because we want to be careful on the face, and I'll just kind of go in and Contour announced a little bit, Maybe kind of dab here. The lips a little under the jaw go 30% into the hair here, just hitting the dark's. So I'm just creating depth in the hair now because I with the shadow highlights, I kind of like brought those up. So I'm just creating depth. So right now, I mean, right now what I'm doing is I'm now I'm No, we've done the polish. Now I'm adding drama. I'm gonna grab my levels here. That's gonna bring this guy down a little bit because I really do kind of want to defuse this light here. So what I want to do is I want to bring kind of, like to me, her arms looking a little too flat, and I want to kind of bring it in this way more so I'm doing that by adding shadow, too. But, um, more shadow, more darkness to the edges and avoiding the middle. I'm just gonna keep changing the size of my brush. Kind of getting here. You can also manipulate a muscle tone. Teoh, do you guys see that difference there? So it's kind of like here's before and let me show you after now her face stands out more. Okay. Okay. So now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go back to one of my very first steps. Now that we've gotten this far, I'm gonna go back to one of my first steps and I call it the quick color fix. Okay, so I'm gonna go ahead and duplicate the layer here, and I'm gonna go filter blur average, and then I'm going to invert it. Going to take this to color. Don't bring it down and I'm just gonna see it's d saturates, which I do like, but I may not want it everywhere. I may just want it on her skin. So I'm gonna mask that out, and then I'm just gonna bring it right over her skin where I kind of wanted to saturate this. Get a little bit. And this is a really good technique, Teoh. When you're dealing with, like Rose Atia or Farmer Tan, you can keep hitting this. Yeah, I like that. Okay, so I'm going to go ahead and I'm gonna pop some of this purple. I want to bring that purple back out, so I'm gonna see really quickly. If I duplicate the layer and I put it on screen, I'm going to see what that does. I'm just kind of toggle through these real quick just to kind of see what these blending modes dio I do like that one. So it's mass bet out, and this one is I usually just do my hair highlights pop action. But that's how easy it is to bring that forward, particularly if people have funky colors like that in their hair. They want to see it pop Okay, so now I'm gonna do what I call Give me death and it kind member. I talked about that. Actions like giving the the image a hug. That's what this one is. So we're gonna go to Grady Int. Let me try this one. This might be it. Nope. I'm sorry. This is See, I don't I don't do it longhand anymore because I'm smart, all right, So you can see it's kind of like, ah, hug. You know, maybe now it. Now it's just like I don't really know how else I know. It's just like XP explaining what it does. It's kind of difficult for me like I'm trying to explain, And that's what I think in my head, like a hug so you can just see how it's just wrapping those that contrast and those darks just around her and preserving where we want it to stay nice and even and color. So that's before it's which is which is flat. And I'm aware of this through my post processing processing process. Um, I'm aware that up to this point, I know that this is still a flat image. I know that my end steps I'm going to start to really bring out and manipulate those darks and contrast. I really love that hug description. Right? Actually makes a lot of really so thank you. Exactly. And a lot of time. I mean, I'll just leave it there. But sometimes with this action or this this technique, you do want to just kind of maybe check on the face where you don't want that I call it Give me death. Give me depth or give me nothing.

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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