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Getting Started on the Image

Lesson 2 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

Getting Started on the Image

Lesson 2 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

2. Getting Started on the Image

Lesson Info

Getting Started on the Image

So starting... how do you start? What kind of job is it? Where is it going? What's the destination? There're a lot of questions to ask and first and foremost is "how do you open your file?" Alright, so let's talk about process. Everybody has a different way of doing this and- I wanna be really careful here because once again there's no correct way of doing this and here are the determining factors. Are you a photographer? Are you the one who is processing this image and it's then gonna be handled only through you, you're gonna handle all the images? Or are you a retoucher, and you're doing a one-off? And that same file is gonna live somewhere else or a whole series of files. So this is Sarah, we're using an image of Sarah. This is not the image of Sarah we are using. We're actually using another one in the series. And it brings up a really important question about how do you open the file. I'm presuming you guys are using camera raw files, you might not be, but I'm gonna go ahead and p...

resume we're talking about camera raw. If you're using a regular TIFF of JPEG that's already been processed then this is a moot conversation, okay? So if you are processing camera raw files, who determines the setup? Who touches this? And I don't have an answer for you, this is setting up a question for you. So, as my job, if I were to get this file, I've gotta ask a question. Does the photographer have a DNG? Does the photographer already have something that they have done to the photo, a look, a color, a temperature that they have decided is good, that they and the client decided is good. Do you understand? There's a bigger conversation going here. So, if there has been no conversation, I'm not gonna touch this file, I'm gonna do it as shot, and that's because I don't know where I am in the food chain. I do not know where I am in the food chain. What that means is, if I mess with this and I change the temperature, the color temperature of the image, the exposure, the highlights, and I do it here in the raw setting, from that point I have to do all of my retouching. I'm committed to that color and that temperature. And then if they change their mind or they have some other plan, then I have to put it on top which makes it destructive and perhaps not exactly the same. So, what I would suggest for all of you to consider and especially if you gonna do practice on these images, start with the raw as shot. Again, for some people's workload this would not be how it is. I have a photographer I work with he's fantastic, and I know his files he always processes in his particular way and he does it on set with the client. Why that's important for me to know is if I accidentally get the job without those DNGs without those XMP files, I know to ask. I know to say, "Hey, missing something here." You start. Yeah, I do have a question. Excellent. So by that same token you wouldn't work off a smart object layer in Photoshop either? Before you start your retouching? That is an excellent question, thank you for that. Yes, I do. But I'd leave it as shot. So- excellent question, thank you for asking that. Alright, when I start a file and I open it up, so this is a file you guys will be given and this is file you start with yes I do work as a smart object but I don't change these settings. I take the settings, this is how the settings came to me I leave them exactly as they are. That is an excellent question. Yeah, I like to go back to zero. And I mean zero, like to be able to go back to when it was shot. However, what you will see is and in all the files I have you will see that I convert that file into a regular layer, and I start. This is very important, please do not miss this point. The minute I open up the smart object file I then create a copy of it, and I start working on top of that. That locks in all the corrections but means everything is set but let's say I wanted to go back to the original and I really need to pull out some detail in her clothing. I can actually change this and reopen it. And I'll have detail. But if I've done that uh-oh, I've lost my original settings unless I've saved them. So I'm very, very, very careful about that. How I would do that, by the way, I hope this is not out of synch but let's give it a go here I would pull that smart object out into a new document. Needed for detail. I then open it up, and actually I'm gonna do the shadows here. I do this all the time, by the way. I use this function for pulling out detail in the shadows or for darkening up the highlights when they're blown up. I do this all the time. And then I'll say okay, I like that. This is kinda for the retouching section but I'd like to cover it now while you're asking your question. And there you go. I've got the original and I've got the needed for shadows. And I label it in such a way so I know I can go back.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brunette RAW Practice Image
Blonde RAW Practice Image
Portrait Retouching Workbook
Lisa Carney PSD Practice Image
Layered Hair Color Change Example PSD File

Bonus Materials

Outline Cards

Ratings and Reviews


If you were like me and had no idea on where to start and feared that the editing process would be too destructive and would have to start all over again if the client didn't like your completed work - then this is the class for you. I watch this class often for review and to make sure that I maintain these good habits Lisa suggests to do. If you follow all of her helpful commentary on her how's and why's you will end up in a far better place when that time comes that you have to re-edit your edit. I cannot say enough great things about her work flow and how it not only enhanced my images to the result I was looking for but also decreased my editing time(bonus!!!!). I also on a whim sent her a email through her personal site and she replied with a massive helpful technique for enhancing freckles on a job I was working on. She is amazing! She is a true teacher who is there to show you how to use photoshop for you to find and gain your own editing style. Far too often i find myself in retouching classes that only demonstrate how to make your images look like who is teaching the class... Workflow and Style are very different, you can have the same workflow but your style is determined by your taste. Her workflow is solid and delivers time and time again. This class should be in everyone's dashboard hands down.

Kristine Pye

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and take us through your "delivery" process, I found that extremely helpful. I have purchased two of Lisa's classes immediately after the live stream during Photoshop Week 2017 and was very excited to stream another set of lectures from Seattle. I will be purchasing the last two courses of Lisa's within the next 24 hours as I did just over a month ago. I find her classes to be absolutely brimming over with useful information--everything from the technique, her process, what other professionals in her work are doing, and **why** she chooses the methods she does in retouching. She is relatable and genuine, and her knowledge of the program and how to maximize efficiency while "skipping the actions" really reinforces the educational part of her courses. There are "easy way outs", but she emphasizes that you should understand the ways in which any adjustment effect the entire photo. These courses have helped me to move forward in my education, helping me to realize that with enough practice and good habit formation--such as naming every single layer every time-- that it is not irrational for me to make an effort in building a portfolio and a Master's degree with little-to-no- previous experience with the software. I am very appreciate. I hope to see more from Lisa in the future, but I have plenty to practice with for now! Thanks again, Kristine Pye

Jeff Robinson

Lisa Carney is amazing! She has a depth of knowledge of Photoshop, retouching techniques, and compositing that she shares in a fast, but straightforward, easy to follow, step by step manner. No matter what your level of expertise, you'll find gems, shortcuts, and methods in her teaching that you can practice and put to use to make your work stronger, faster, and cleaner. And with the bonus materials she graciously provides, including workbooks with her detailed steps, practice files of the images she uses in class, and before and after comparisons, you'll be on your way to improving your skills immediately. She's an accomplished retoucher and gifted teacher. If you have the opportunity to take one of her classes, take advantage of it!

Student Work