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Retouching: Pinup - Longhand vs Actions

Lesson 26 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

Retouching: Pinup - Longhand vs Actions

Lesson 26 from: Boudoir Photography

Rachel Stephens

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Lesson Info

26. Retouching: Pinup - Longhand vs Actions

Lesson Info

Retouching: Pinup - Longhand vs Actions

This is Dana Deluxe. She's a modern pin up. She's a friend of mine. When I started shooting in L. A, she was one of the pin ups that, um I shot. We've been working together probably about seven years after I moved away from Portland. She had had two babies and, uh, she got throat cancer. So she had emailed me wanting to get back into modeling. And I was gonna be in Vegas where she was living, and she asked me if I would shoot her. She was feeling insecure and she couldn't think of anybody else. She would want Teoh get her back into it. So of course, said yes. After her shoot, she sent me this. She said, I've been a model for quite some time and rarely insecure in front of the camera after having both my boys not modeling for four years, added weight and cancer. Needless to say, I was scared to death to pose again. Rachel and her amazing way made me feel safe, comfortable and more than that made me feel beautiful again. It's been hard to deal with my changed body, but working with her h...

as given me courage to get through my insecurities. Thank you for all you've done, Rachel. You'll never understand what it meant to me. So I find that very powerful because we always think is as everyday regular women that models just like they don't have these kinds of insecurities. But we're all our women. All women have these insecurities. I wanted to talk about body image. All women struggle with body image, all of us, whether you're a model, whether you're 19 whether you're a mom or whatever walk of life you come from, we all struggle with our own body image, size, shaming. This is something that it's so prevalent in our society, and it's it's even. It's done in with derision. It's done to make a girlfriend feel better about another girl. Like, you know, if your if your if you break up with your boyfriend and you start seeing someone else, the first thing that we do is attack the other woman for how she looks to make our friend feel better. All this kind of all these kinds of things just contribute to this mentality of girl on girl crime, and it's something that I'm I get really, really upset about when I see on my fan page, it's usually always women doing this to other women, and it makes me so sad that we live in this kind of society where we're mawr quick to tear each other down than to lift each other up. So I was really excited about today because we got to see over the last couple days the curvy woman and we today we got to see thinner women and really got to see that we all struggle with the same things and we are all united and we're all connected. We really are all sisters, and I'm hoping that someday will be ableto uplift one another rather than tear each other down. So that's a message that I was hoping that I'd be able to get across to you guys today. So let's get into retouching. So I'm just gonna stand to start, I think. But if I knock this over sorry. So I'm going to start with this classic pin up, um, pose here. And like I said before, I'm gonna be ah, going back and forth from longhand and actions, so I just kind of go through and see which one I like kind of feeling and see kind of feeling that one more. And like I said, these are my personal presets that I just use. So it's not anything packaged to sell, so they're not perfect. They don't perfectly say what they're do what they say. They're gonna where they're labeled. Okay. All right, let's get out of here. It's open that guy up. Okay, so the first thing that I'm gonna dio is I am going. Teoh, take care of this little bit of paper that's at the bottom here. Okay? Just gonna grab my lasso tool copy, paste transform. I was gonna pull that down. Just make sure I didn't get any of her hair. And again, let's double check and make sure that our history yet we see the snapshot. They're perfect. Okay, so I'm just gonna go ahead and hit my perfect prep power house mixer. I always let love to start with this one. Kind of does a whole lot of different things. No level. The shadows clarity. Punch was with sharpen that neutralized the color would have an auto tone, curves, color toning and a recover mid tones. A lot of times I'll just play around with this. The group hope a city. So overall, I'm liking what's happening here. But you could go through here and adjust each little layer. So I'm just gonna make my brush a little bigger here. About 30%. And I'm just gonna bring back seven here, okay? It's like backwards day for me today. Normally, like I mentioned yesterday, I work on a PC at home, so I'm messing up my keys. So you guys please have some patients with me. Okay? So I'm again looking for what's distracting. This right here is distracting me a little bit, so I'm just gonna get rid of it. Grab my last. So it's already said it 25. There you go. Messing up the commands again, just looking and pulling away because I'm looking for the original curve and I want I want Teoh. I want to keep that original curve there with it. Okay, so I just got to clean that up a little bit right here. I'm gonna go in a little closer. Just make sure that the skin looks OK. And then I'm gonna go ahead and I'm just gonna clean that up right over here. I'm just clone stamping to clean it up. I was gonna get a little bit of a harder brush right here on these edges here. Really easy fix. And now there's not that distraction. And again, these air, um, you know, just preference. Personal preference of what you find distracting. It's the way I do it, not V way to do it. So keep that in mind. I'm just gonna smooth the lines here. Which often happens with stockings. They don't make stockings anymore without the elastic in there in the in the part on the top of the thigh, which always pinches, which bums me out because I love old school stockings. Without that elastic, they're very difficult to find these days. I'm just gonna kind of smooth this out a little bit here, kind of pushing here. The brawl. Okay, so now I'm just gonna hit perfect base, and it's just gonna kind of level things out for me and see where it's kind of like a fill light. So I'm just gonna go ahead and hit this just kind of dab where I want it. Just my brushes accordingly. Definitely want some more in here and I'm just gonna go back and kind of take a little bit away around the cleavage here and then just kind of where the collar bones or beautifully defined. We want to preserve that as well. Okay. All right, I'm gonna go ahead here, and I'm going to show you the longhand way to do this. But I love this image. It's so like just everything is clean from the beginning, Like the way that it's lit the way that the pose works. And she is this new, right to get that kind of like, pop of highlight in the background that gives the definition to the legs. Okay, so what I would hit here is I would hit my, um, shadows and highlights, but I'm gonna go ahead and write longhand for you guys. I want to go up here to adjustments, shadows, highlights. And I might play with the color correction here and even kind of, um, pop the color a bit. I kind of see where I like this here. You just kind of play around and see where you like it. And I'm not looking for the overall effect of the image. I'm kind of looking at certain areas. I'm looking in here and in their hair. So there you go. I know there was a question earlier about the light and shadows. So when I'm shooting and admit the light may not be exactly where I want, I know that imposed I can come in and I can address those issues so I don't I don't stress about it while I'm shooting something. Go ahead and mask that out. And I'm gonna just bring some of that back in here where I liked it, Hit the clothing. I kind of really like it up there. I think we go hard on that one. Okay, so let me Should be as meticulous as I never really would be. This has just distracted me a little bit, so I'm gonna get rid of this guy. Says we're working with a smaller space. I'm gonna use about 10 pixels here. I'll get it, guys. And that's just a copy. Paste transform is what you're doing, right? Yes. I keep thinking I keep doing the PC one. All right. All right. This is not being nice to me, so I'm gonna delete this. I'm gonna paste it again, and that happens with photo shop. Sometimes you do think that do something 1000 times and then just one time, it just won't work. And now it worked. I'm just gonna get rid of this right in here. Kind of cut off the Yeah, that's okay, though. Yeah, that works fine. I'm just gonna go ahead and get my clone stamp again. It's gonna get rid of that in there when it in a little. And now I don't have that bothering me. Okay, We're gonna go in and we're going. Teoh, I'll look at that face. Look at that happy face. So we're just gonna go in, clean some teeth? I should I didn't show. You know what? I didn't show you cleaning teeth yesterday, right? Did I show you that yesterday? All right, let's do this guy longhand. Okay, so we're gonna duplicate the image, the layer, and we're gonna go to image adjustments, Hue, saturation. I bring this guy down to about 30. Let's go up on the lightness just a little. And then we're going. Teoh, hide this mask. Bring it in about 40% of pay city on my brush, and then I'm just gonna go in there real gently. You want to be careful not to get into the gums and you will be careful not to get into the lips. Can you see that? It's really subtle. If you look right here, it's really settle. You want it to be really settled? You don't want to turn their face into a flashlight. Okay, so I zoomed back full, full screen just to see if overall it doesn't look too weird. And then I go back up close because up close, it could look fine. Then you zoom back. You're like, Whoa, that's too much. So I showed you guys eyes yesterday, so I'm going to short cut it again. I'm getting in the car right now. I'm gonna drive there instead of walk and we're going. Teoh, do the eyes strategy Enza I'm like the worst person in the world naming actions, but they're very simplistic. The name of the action tells you what it does. They are grouped in a group that tells you what it does. So exposure and color and then all these tell you what it does within that they're very easy to follow. And I did that more for myself than anybody else. And we're gonna clean the whites of the eyes here. I'm gonna go to here and I'm gonna pop the highlights in a kind of dab in the color here, just a little bit get darken edges and just kind of go around here, go around me. Eyeliner. Little kind of hit the eyebrows just a teensy bit pop highlights again. So it doesn't really seem like you're doing anything but again, subtle changes. So when you have a client upside down like that and they're looking up at you there a lot of times gonna they're gonna, um I call it squint. If that a word, they're going to squints their forehead. I've just made the word if it's not a word, Uh, so we're gonna take care of that real quick with the patch tool. I'm just gonna grab some big areas before we clean the skin. We're just gonna take care of this. And I always take care of this area with the, um my patch tool. I always do little areas and you blend Europay City down just like blending paints for to paint on your canvas. Flatten, make another layer you just go in little steps and it seems tedious. But as you get comfortable with the technique and as you get comfortable in photo shop, this goes by fast. If I could just sit here and work this image without talking and I'm just using my actions, I could have this done in less than 10 minutes. So it's, you know, photo shop is labor intensive intensive, But this is tender loving care that you're giving to your client you know, you're polishing is as you get better with your technique and as you get more comfortable with it what I hope what you're learning for me, you'll be able to apply it to your own workflow your own way so that it can speed up your workflow like this is just how I retouch. And, um, I would never tell anybody else how they should reattach their own work. So pin up is typically a very, um, you always see the pin ups. When I think about pin up, I think about the painted images and re creating that in photos. So I'm not gonna go that far with treatments today, but we are gonna kind of do some of the more D saturation and who might throw a, uh without putting overlay texture layer over it for fun. We'll see as we get there. So because I'm smoothing this out so much to get the and I'm working just a little bit faster right now, um, I'm gonna go ahead and put some texture in back over this skin. So I'm just letting you know now that I'm keeping that in mind for later that when you have someone when they when they arch back like that and they do get the creases in the forehead. Ah, lot of times it's gonna look really smooth like this, and we do want texture and that you can put texture back, and I'll just I'll demonstrate that for your real quick. But as we smooth skin and stuff, I may need to go back and do it again as well. Okay, so here we've got under retouching. We've got skin texture riser. Just gonna hit this guy. We'll put some texture back in here. It's magic. So now it looks like skin again, and we will continue to clean. So what I don't want to do is I don't want to take away all these lovely laugh lines, But I don't want to take away here. I mean, we don't want to make someone look 20 years younger than they are. We just want them to tow look fresh and polished. So I'm gonna go down to here. Did you guys want me to demo the, um, high frequency longhand one more time? Or do you think we covered enough yesterday and have a baby? Stepping through it vocally would be nice, but I know that we need to go through the whole step because we did do that several times yesterday. Okay, so what we did, if you remember, we do the layer twice. So then we named the top layer texture. We named the bottom layer color. And then we What did we dio then on the color layer, you're gonna go ahead and you're going, Teoh do a gauzy and blurred about 13 ish on the, um, texture layer. You're gonna go to image, apply image, subtract your make sure your color layer is selected, and then scale to an offset 1 28 They're gonna put the whole thing on linear light and your group um because, you know, you don't want to mess with Theo Pacey on either layer. You group. Um And then you play with Europay City on that group layer. Okay, so let's go in here and let's start cleaning up the skin so it's gonna clean up down the bridge of the nose here, Seen enough around here. I'm gonna bring some of the color over here to the side of her nose. Just a little bit. I've been here a little bit. I grabbed my texture layer. And again, I'm still just working right around the same area. We're just going to smooth this down a bit and then we're gonna hit our pay city. There's where we were. Here's where we are with nothing. Gonna go about right there. That's lovely. It's gonna run it again on the color layer. It's gonna cleaning here a little bit on texture later. Now to clean, I'm a 40% both on my hope a city and both on my flow. It's gonna smooth this out right here, tiny bit. And it's okay to kind of go hard because you know that you can dialled back Europay City when you're done making those adjustments. All right? I'm good right there. Her lipsticks. Perfect. I'm just gonna do one quick thing. I just want her eyes to pop a little more. I want to bring my exposure way up. I'm just gonna go in here with my brash at about 60%. I'm gonna hit the catch lights, and then I'm gonna bring my Pacey down to about 20%. I'm just gonna dab in here in the color just to kind of give it a little bit more pop. Here we go. We're okay with makeup. I'm gonna bypass all that. Go. Let me go ahead into a couple things longhand for you guys. You guys remember the hair pop we did? I'm going to show you another way to do that. A lot of times I'll go into here and kind of bring up the color of it, and I'm gonna mask that out. I'm gonna bring it back in, just kind of like over where I want it to pop like this. That I'm gonna grab my Dodge tool and I'm gonna set it about down to 15. I'm gonna put on highlights. Oops. My bad. I'm just gonna go over the areas on the actual layer, not the mask. Just on the little areas that I've masked in. I'm gonna go back just a little bit. See, that just kind of makes it pop a little more. And it kind of lends to that painted look a little bit more. Okay, so she has gorgeous skin. I'm by low. I'm loving all her freckles. I'm just seeing a little bit of indentations here from her jeans or whatever she was wearing. So I'm gonna hit skin skin clean again, and I'm just gonna grab the texture layer about 60%. And I'm just gonna clean that up right here. Sorry that I know you guys need to see that. Just really annoying. Okay, there we go. And just kind of over the knuckles a little bit just to soften those, Maybe soften up here in the hand. A little Andi just moving around, See where else? I just kind of want to soften just a little bit and just kind of, like, toned that down a little there. So I'm super happy with that. Go there, and then we're just gonna do a quick, powdery skin, and I know that I'm not going to do this very heavy. I'm really happy with where Her faces right now. Now what I'm looking at is I want to kind of bring that kind of softness on her body to match her face. So I got my brush tool. It's gonna bring these guys up and just start to kind of spot. Soften, Okay? And you can tell I'm really steering clear of edges. It's gonna look into the nylon. Kind of soften that a bit. Look at the feet. Maybe even add a little bit of glow here and see what that does. Oops. Oh, easy killer. Getting a little Cray on that one so you can tell for pin up. I really like the really exposed look, which does kind of differ from some of the other stuff that I do with in my boudoir portraiture. And then I'm just gonna go down and I'm going. Teoh do that Nice digital hug with Give me depth. You guys remember that one? See that? How? It just hugs the image. This is one of my favorite actions. I just love this one so much, I use it on every single image. Ideo Absolutely love it. It changed my life. I was gonna kind of spot away just a little bit where I'd like it to be a little less drama. And I go ahead and sharpen this really quick before we dio um, the glow. I may not even want the glow on this. So just gonna sharpen it. And again, we're sharpening through channels. You can see that in a flattened that I love it. So here, I'm seeing some marks on the floor and quickly just take care of that. Using our whom just made me feel softer brush. Going to take care of that with the clone stamp tool. Just kind of clean that guy up a little bit. Think bigger brushed for to blend looks good. And then let's go ahead and run the skin clean real quick. I can show you how you can use that also to take care of your backgrounds, but grab my brush about 40%. I'm gonna grab color here. This isn't kind of clean about a little That looks good to me. I just want to make sure that I don't get it on her skin Was gonna kind of Go over the edge is here and let's do one last thing. Let's have a look and see what the glow. I didn't do the glamour glow for you guys. I did wanna show it to you. Here it is. So see what makes it really brightened Soft. It's the exact same technique as the dreamy glow that we did when we did the duplicate layer and we went ahead and did the Gazi and blur on it. And we did the soft light. This is the same thing. It's just on screen, so I'm super happy with it there. Okay, I'm just gonna quickly show you guys before and after Young. So there is our before and we'll goes. Let me just let's go straight to our after so you can see there nice and subtle. Everything really pops

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