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Portrait Retouching Redefined

Lesson 2 of 10

Basic Retouching Workflow in Lightroom

Chris Orwig

Portrait Retouching Redefined

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

2. Basic Retouching Workflow in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Basic Retouching Workflow in Lightroom

With this image, what I want to do is just really basic work for start really simple so we're in the developed module and in the developed module I'm going to do things like increased exposure, right? We kind of walked through our sliders here and some contrast maybe my highlights go down, shadows grow up and it's a typical sort of walk through your basic panel that we do gotta warm it up a little bit because they're nice, you know, beautiful people and see if we can get a zoom rate so we can see them a little bit better and really all that that is is just getting it to that place where it's that's matching your feeling remember I mention this is a really important event I wanted to have that feeling and with that what we tend to do is kind of wing it a little bit like this and then double check ourself in the double check is the j key, which turns on your clipping indicator. I'm sure some of you know this, but I want to show you a trick which I think most people don't, so the red is s...

howing me that I have some problems in there and that there is some overexposure in those areas we know that we can try to use like our highlight slider we could use the white slider, but in this case you know what, this exposure I'm not going to able to do that I have to drop my exposure down and then doom or to try to get rid of that highlight, so I want an image that looks good, but it's also printable you guys with me on that where I'm going with this so here's my little tip with this one first the first little little thought with totality tone curve, grab your white point or your black depending if you're clean up highlights or shadows and just and just bring it down a little bit, we actually click on it up there. Sorry, um, and I'm just going to drop that down just a nudge and I barely like I moved it this a little far, but can you see out fix my highlights? And sometimes what I've studied see my students do is they use this the highlight slider of the whites and the totality gets all weird in the skin looks all weird and everything I might just go to the black or white point white goes down, black goes up and you can save detail in those areas and so it's it's really helpful when it comes to people all right, let's do another another little one and let's go through a little bit of a workflow, so in this case, what I want to do with this image with kind of working on portrait's and making portrait's better that might be even a better title for this course like how do we make portrait's better is I need to crop the image in what we tend to dio you know when you see someone do retouching they like put red circles around things and everything which is a great strategy but we tend to forget about doing that with other elements besides like this it on the cheek or something else and so in this image I'm not going to draw on it but like the problem is the coat right here and there's too much white down here on the dress and there's a little too much headroom so our key for the crop toe in and this may sound silly but I'm I'm over I am silly um that cropping is a retouching tool and all I'm doing is cropping and I'm getting a little bit too tight for me but I'm getting closer to the subject I'm cleaning away my edges are cleaning up my edges by doing that I have one friend who's a phenomenal photographer and he says that half of his work flow is cropping and he does a lot of people work and I also have had a chance to sit down with some really famous photographers like crazy like world's best kind of thing and I've seen their unedited work and at first I was so surprised that it wasn't very good was kind of a relief I'm like oh, they shoot pictures that aren't good too but then what was so interesting was to see how much composition what comes into play so anyway just just kind of expanding that saying like you know what I say I'm going I'm going toe retouch this image and I'm thinking of my red circles or finding problems let's look at our edges if there's something bright on an edge the eye goes there there's some sort of hook on you know like I just get snagged on that it's like a little bramble or something so again looking at how we can fix it up the rest I think the image you're something like this is just style and play and fun and so maybe a little bit of shadow in contrast and I don't know probably warm it up a little bit you know? Nothing nothing over the top it's a natural nice simple moment I will get into more complex stuff so if you're out there and you're thinking chris, can you give me s'more you know, getting they're building up to it but what I want to do before I get there is talk about virtual copies and a lot of us know about this but just to reiterate when we're in light room we have our image which has a certain file size and it just has a small set of raw instructions. It's a little text file and you can actually open up the text file barely anything in it. And when we create virtual copies were just creating a new little text file. And every time we do that, it gives us flexibility of process or images in different ways. So so back to this image here to do that the shortcut which I think you should write down super important retouching is command, right command apostrophe that's on the mac it's control apostrophe on windows. And then what I can do with an image like this is go down somewhere else. I'll talk about navigating around here in a minute, and maybe I want to bring in some blues into my my shadows and perhaps a little yellows and into my highlights, maybe just a touch there and let me exaggerate it so we can kind of see our difference here. So we have these iterations of an image because what happens and people retouching is that it orations are probably the most important thing you khun dio because have you ever done this for you? Like you finish an image and you don't realize it's yellow or green until afterwards, but if you create another version you can kind of go back and forth and see ok, this is where I need to go so again command or control apostrophe gives us the ability to do that all right navigation in the developed module a few little shortcuts and this is true any module but most of our work isn't developed um in order to navigate to these if you press command or control zero through eight you can access the panel quickly so if we were one ad split toning we khun sake command for and we get there the great thing about these shortcuts is you don't have to memorize the numbers because you just memorize command and then you tap the number till you get the right one and let me show you what that looks like so we're back here on this photograph and I'm in the developed module and you can option or all clicked the little triangle icon to change it to solo mode which means only one panel will open at the time so you know if you open one the others close so when you have that if I'm going to go down to split tony I'm hitting my numbers command one two, three or four I'm not even really looking I don't even care and then I can get there and say, well, you know what blues a little too strong for that image will be scaled back go back to command one maybe a touch of clarity little more contrast and a little bit more light and the shadows on that side so again getting to have that narrative workflow and then jumping quickly between things and part of the reason why speed is so important and why I'm even including this is with people we want to kind of remain connected with the person what's the image trying to say what am I trying to communicate? What what does this matter to me and having those shortcuts help? Okay, let's do another one you guys good to go on. All right? This is my daughter annie and her best buddy out mammoth a week ago or so and in this image problem is exposure obviously they're under exposed so I'm just gonna bring bring them up a little bit, you know, so we can try to bring up a little bit of that we could try to bring up some exposure and then a lot of times we'll realize that we want to kind of bring maurin selectively and start to get to our selective adjustments. These shortcuts are are ones which are kind of crazy important um our crop to watch already talked about that c archy spot removal tool is q and then we have graduated filter and radio filter shift an adjustment brush okay, so with this kind of an image but we might try to do is maybe do a radio filter, and then from there, try to brighten up the shadows a little bit so it would require a couple tools, but let's, let's go there either by selecting the tool or by using a shortcut. Anyone remembers shortcut for me. You remember this one radio was amun and shift him. Those are those are friends, you know? So that's how you remember those two? All right, so what we have, we have that you'll give a little exposure, maybe some shadows or whatever, and I'm just gonna drag it over. My my people are mighty my daughter and her friend there. And what we have in this case is this sort of effect starting to to modify the middle of the frame. What happens a lot is that we'll get it wrong, right? Because you don't if you do this one uses to will you drag it out and we just exaggerate so we can see, like, oh, it's darkening them, but I wanted to darken the outside or whatever the effect is. So the shortcut for that is apostrophe key, another one, like, you gotta learn it, right? Because otherwise you're going down here, and you're clicking and losing a little bit of time, so I'm kind of encouraging you to say well hey what if we what if we learn that one and then just bringing a little shadow and then also I'm going to warm him up and nothing huge nothing over the top and I think the reason I'm saying that is to try to let you know that's okay because what happens with my students is this and I saw a lot of states hundreds and hundreds some of them went on to be famous photographers and different things they would show me the retouching work before and after and I would say okay tell me you know tell me a little bit about the after it was almost always worse especially you know as they were learning and I would say, well, what went wrong what you know what happened so I don't know and I said what do you see how this is worse and they would say yeah, but it took me eight hours and I would say but yeah it's not better but it took me eight hours and I was like yeah, but that doesn't matter how long it took you retouching isn't justified by its length of time and sometimes it's simple in straightforward also I should say if I'm actually working on my images I'm not talking to someone so I'm more slow and detail oriented so it's a little bit of a different rhythm which I think we all know

Class Description

Good portrait retouching requires more than just removing wrinkles and whitening teeth. Get ready to expand your retouching abilities and apply them to any type of images.

Chris Orwig will guide you through a 15-step process for improving all of your photographs of people, whether in the studio or outdoors. You’ll learn how to combine the powers of Lightroom and Photoshop to get the best retouching results. You’ll learn about making retouching look natural and clean, burning and dodging, changing backgrounds, selective sharpening, improving light, and enhancing color. You’ll also learn how to brighten eyes, fix teeth, improve makeup, cover up skin issues, and much more.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2


brad in glenwood

Not sure where all the criticism is coming from. It is a good source for a basic workflow to create realistic portrait retouching. Probably not for the advanced Photoshop user, but I consider myself an intermediate and picked up some very good tips that I will consider and definitely add some to my workflow.I think Chris gave some good philosophy for retouching in the short amount of time. If you want a more involved course with more info then I would recommend Lindsay adler's portrait retouching, but even then her course is given over THREE days! In under 1.5 hours for this lecture, did you really expect more for $19-29? By the way if you look in the upper left hand corner of Lightroom it says Adobe PHOTOSHOP Lightroom, so if you want to be technical he was using Photoshop for all of his retouching! Would you have felt better if he was in Camera Raw? It's the same thing!

Rebecca George

Chris is an amazing teacher -- and he's all about efficiency, which I LOVE. He knows ALL the shortcuts and he's so skilled at smoothly working in repetition as he's teaching, so by the end of the class I found that I had effortlessly learned so many important shortcuts and had shifted my editing into warp speed! Such a great class, as are all his classes


Lots of good information here. I just wish there would have been more of a walkthrough with the main image that is used for this lesson. It would be useful to see how he manipulated the color in the portrait of his friend for a beginner like me. I like the side by side comparison, but would like to know what else was changed in that photo besides getting rid of shine and softening skin.