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Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 4

Lesson 18 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 4

Lesson 18 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

18. Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 4

Lesson Info

Retouching: Longhand vs Actions Part 4

I'm gonna show you guys how to do that. Like that. Like glow that so popular with boudoir. So we're going to do the duplicate the layer we're going to go filter, blur, gonna go ghazi and Blur. And we're gonna go way up here like, way up there. And then what I like to do is I like to go into image adjustments. Sorry. Like a 11 armed chicken Got a stretch? Um, Hue saturation were bringing this saturation back, back, back, back, back. And then I'm gonna go too soft light. In fact, I even want Teoh bring my hue saturation back even further. So see that it's like a nice glow. And if you wanted to, you could even go in here. And you can play around with your curves if you want. I do have another action called glamour glow, which does the opposite where it screens it. Um, but if you want to just do kind of both on one step with this technique and just go into your curves and pull up the highlights and that'll kind of make it give you both of best worlds in one step for there's before, So Like...

I said before, subtlety is key. And sometimes that my do stuff like here, this looks good. But then once I hit that action, this might be seeming a little bit. Teoh highlighted now, and that's a quick fix, Not a big deal. But since it's still a blurred layer, we want to just kind of dab over the details and make sure that, um things aren't blurry where we don't want them to be even a little bit. I always like my eyes and the lips and hair details to be in focus. And if they have, like, you know, you can hit the necklace and hit some of the lace in here. Oops. But the eyes at the mouth, some of the hair. And then again, I'm just gonna go down here into levels. Bring this down a mask it out. And I was gonna spot this. This guy right over here, maybe in here a little. Okay. Now I'm gonna go ahead and sharpens. So I, um I told you guys yesterday about the techniques that the two key ones was the frequency separation, and then the other one was the sharpening through channels. So work I'm going to demonstrate that for you right now. So we're gonna go ahead and duplicate the layer, and I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna convert it to a smart object. Just in case later, I want Teoh tone it anything down or make it more Add some, um I'm gonna go to image mode and I'm gonna goto lab color. And I am going to not Rast arise, and I'm going to not flatten. And then I'm gonna pop up my channels window here, and I'm going to grab my lightness channel and I'm going to do filter sharpen on sharp mask and let's go hear About 50 will do about a five on the radius. Okay? And I'm going to get rid of this guy. Gonna go back to my image mode RGB color and I'm going Teoh, not Rast Arise and I'm going to not flatten. Do you guys see that when you sharpen? Usually when you sharpen just on the layer, you know it gets too much so like the skin just starts looking terrible. So the memory areas where you want the Israel sharp, but you don't want the skin. So instead of having to go through a bunch of steps and then masking out, then just doing that little area and then doing another later doing sharpen again. Sharpening through channels does it for you. So it sharpens the dark details and leaves the lighter details alone. So since your lighter details are going to be the skin and in the eyes, it's absolutely perfect. So you can see here what a beautiful, gentle job it does and what you can tell here that it does touch the skin a bit. But I really love what it does because it doesn't get everything. All the pixels, you know, it's it's it's going through, and that's kind of like a blend. So you're getting some of the text, your sharp sharpened, and that just makes the image look provides more real nous. But what I do like to dio when I for my action for this, which is Karsh called Sharp Love. It's already set with a mass, so I'll just kind of go in, and I'll just start Teoh paint away over the areas where I don't want that sharpened. I never, ever want the whites of my eyes sharpened or their eyes sharpened and kind of like around the lips. Okay, so I'm gonna just really quick. While I was in there, I noticed a couple things. I want, um, show you guys real quick. So just in here, in the eyes of Bug and Mary, I'm just gonna fix this guy real quick and you can tell as we get closer, it gets a little more pixelated and like that. You know, that doesn't bother me with if I have a client, the very rare client than orders of 30 by 40 boudoir image of herself. Then if the image that big isn't gonna look good because it's a little bit because I shot it too soft, then I know because of the way that I've shot the whole thing. And we've got another image that will work really nicely. All of the images aren't like that. Some of the images are much more sharp, But typically you're not gonna have anybody order anything that large. I think the largest. My got my eight by 12 books. It's probably like the largest product other than, like a 16 by 20. And this would be great for a 16 by 20. Okay, So there's Do you guys want to see me retouch out those little imperfections that I'm saying that I would normally do? Or do you guys want me to wrap it up? I think one or two would be great to see. I don't think you need to do all of them, obviously, but I'm showing the technique would be fantastic. Okay, I'm like, basically done with this image, but what I do, once I get to the end like this, I'll go in and I'll want to kind of just kind of define the lips a little bit, especially if you have a client that has, like, red lips, red lip red lipstick bleeds out really easily. So this is This is how I address that really quickly. I'll grab my clone stamp tool now to get a little bit of a hard brush there, and I'll just kind of start dabbing around the lips. Oops, my bad stand by, and I don't want to remove it all because she has this beautiful curve in her top lip, so there will be some shadow, but I want to clean it up. Okay, so I'm cleaning it to this point I'm didn't go all the way cause I wanted to show you guys another technique to do it again. Our friend, the lasso tool. And one reason why this is great. Because, you know, when you're using, when you're using your clone stamp tool, it's really easy to make things Start looking smudgy. When you have the samples and you have the lasso tool, you can just pull texture right in from above from around. Okay, so it makes it nice and clean. And also always check Europe a city. Okay, you guys want to start See where we started? Yes. This is my favorite part. I'm just ok, stand by. There were no we'll use you then view fit on screen. Here we go. Here we go. Sure, I save that guy. Do you guys want me to go through the steps or do you want just to see before and after steps? You'll see Step ha. Okay, we'll go through steps. It could be a little bit boring before, after 10 steps. Perfect or the other way around. So if you look, it's her, we've just polished her As far as what we manipulated with her shape. We're not making her skinny. We're just taking away what's distracting. This is because her arm is pushed and because she had a course. It on that is makes you awkward. When you're posing, it buckles. It pushes things up, pushes up up here, which is great but also pushes things back up here, which is not great. And then just here, where this is distracting, distracting. That's all we did. We're staying true to who she is, what she looks like. She's in a look at this and she's probably gonna cry. She'll be so happy because you know the little things that you see that you don't like to be able to see yourself and you don't see those things, and then you go and you're You're in that position where you're looking at an image of yourself and there's nothing you're not tearing yourself down. It's in a moment where you can fall in love with yourself. And that's a incredible thing. As a boudoir photographer to be able to give women. It's really humbling and incredibly empowering. I feel empowered by it. It's it's beautiful, Um, step by step. Are you guys cool? You guys want to see, she wants to see. Let's do it real quick. I not Here we go. And you can see as I'm going through the steps, some of you may be going. Nothing's happening that something's happening. We're just doing little subtle things through the whole image. And there we go. You mentioned for us to remind you about the book. The black and white. Yes. I'm gonna go with that. You know, um, I might have to run the action first. That's why because I don't remember how to do it. I mean, I know how to do it, but I'm the one might go to one. I'm not sure that I remember. If you run it, then we can look at what the steps are within. All right? Sure. Yeah. Me. Just really quickly. Well, I'll do that later. Okay? I'm gonna just save this one as the color one, just in case I do something I don't want to say. I don't want to lose the color and save the black and white on top, so I'm just gonna say this as okay, All right. So let me run this guy real quick, and let's see, we have here nor the one that I normally run. My is my black and white power mixer, and I'll show you what it does. So it converts the image to black and white, and I put a diffused glow on it. Just a really little one just to kind of, like, bring some highlights up. I do a shadows highlight on it to kind of bring those those highlights knows tones to kind of like attention. If I am a little bit and then Photoshopped freezes Okay, so you can see here. So I've I've converted a duplicate layer into black and white, and then I've duplicated that layer and I made a, um I converted the smart filter, too. Smart object. And under here, you can see all the different filters that I used on it. I do want to add I'm gonna open him up so you guys can see what I did. Even better. Yeah. So on here I added noise. I set mine at six. And smart sharpen is set amount 50 radius 500.7. Diffuse glow. I've got brainiest want graining. A great I've got the top one said it 10 glow and I've got it all the way to 20 unclear amount. And then I've got shadow highlights here, so you can see here under color correction, I always pull mind the left a little bit between, like, negative 10 and negative 15. Here it's negative. 12. In my mid tone contrast, I pop up and then here I've got different things that I use to kind of punch it up and then if you want to put a haze on it, I've got Hayes. I've got a mat. I mean, these air, these air just I love I love mats. I might just keep in mind that there and then I have tents and toners that I like to play with. My favorite one is the silver in motion. We'll bring it to, like about there. Let me turn all of these off except the black and white. So that's just a straight black and white conversion. And then with the other things that we did here, this looks really good on my monitor. So a lot of times, with the way that I convert black and whites, I don't know if this is for everybody. What I find is when I converted into black and white than some of the imperfections in the skin come back. So I have to deal with that. Um So let me show you how I do that. Let me go ahead really quickly and save. This is black and white. So I'm gonna go down here again. We'll do this. Longhand, um, toe levels. And I'll just bring this down here a little bit and then mask that out, and I'll just kind of hit the areas that are little saving a little too bright for me. I don't want I don't want to bring it down too much. Some images look cool when when you you kind of bring that down and kind of make it a little more muddy looking. But not today. Do you? Can I view is an action for the skin. So far, I like that you keep asking us the the principal. Well, I just I want I mean, I'm here to show people how I do what I dio and I'm relies so heavily on actions that I don't want anyone to feel short changed. I really want everyone to learn so well, thank you. We appreciate that people are loving this. I'm going to go ahead and I'm gonna dio this one the skin spot smoother. And I'm like, at hope a city on my brush. Okay, it's gonna go around. And really, I think what does this the most is the shadow highlights filter. But for me, it's a It's a fair trade off because I really love what it does. Two for the image. So having to go back and smooth skin for me is really not that big of a deal, So I don't have much time. Normally, I wouldn't do the body and the face at the same time, but I have to wrap it up. So I'm just doing this real quick for you guys. Scenario fantastic. What you guys think over in our studio audience. All right, let's go for it. When you on your editing the pictures, do you try and keep with consistency, or do you try and keep this You? Do You keep the say the color tone in the color version on guy? No, you've got various tones that you can have in your black and whites. Do you keep the same consistency throughout their session or do. You just kind of go by the look and feel of each individual image? I have my camera settings set a base setting. Every time I shoot. I really don't derail from because I'm too focused on everything else for me. I try to keep things really, really simple so that my attention can be on my client in our connection. I feel like that's the most important thing and the settings that I find that that facilitate that for me. I shoot raw, I shoot manual, I should've k and I shoot 3 20 I s o I shoot wide open, usually at 1.2 and I only adjust my shutter speed unless I put a lens on. That's like 2.8. Then I have to go higher on my I s o soas faras color. I know that I'm gonna be getting orange or whatever, so I know that I can fix it in light room. So I don't worry about that when I'm shooting right. Well, like when you were editing and you were showing that you've got this kind of a silvertone to the black and white, would you keep that if you chose that when you were editing, would you keep that throughout their entire gallery of images that you complete? If you do so, they don't see the toning and all that stuff. That something I reserve artistic right Teoh, when I'm working the orders.

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!

Student Work