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Portrait Retouching Redefined

Lesson 1 of 10

Rethinking Retouching

Chris Orwig

Portrait Retouching Redefined

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

1. Rethinking Retouching


Lesson Info

Rethinking Retouching

What I want to dio is run through a few slides at first and then go through some work in photo shop and like so one of things before we even get to all of this stuff is really thinking about what is a portrait why'd a fortress matter, and then why do we try to try to work on them? A lot of times when you think of portrait retouch, at least for me, I think of a fashion model in a studio and retouching that space, but what I want to try to do is expand that a little bit because a lot of my photography is naturally lit. I'll do one studio kind of thing, but natural it and trying to get to some authenticity, so if it were an instrument it's less of an electric guitar, more of an acoustic guitar, you with me on that and so that's, what I want to try to say, how do we do that? Like I said, we'll do so do a studio project, but we'll also look at other pictures and try to ask our questions, the questions of what we need to do and wire why are we going to do those things? So again, just a few s...

lides, my good friend martin and his son and the goals are one just let's rethink re touching a little bit two let's work on details and look at how we can clean up and fix up details and then do some color in tone work and then do a workflow project so that's kind of the goal for we have for the class really those those four things all right before we begin a couple thoughts for you one is finding people who inspire you so I can't have this eclectic list jeff lipsky mark seliger erik comas peggy serotta and elizabeth messina all of these people I know and I love their work and they all retouch their portrait but no way you would never know on dso that's what's interesting to me and they do it in different ways but what we need to do I think to get good at this kind of work is have something that we're working towards versus well people say skin should be smooth so I'm going to smooth it but why? What kind of smoothing what's the contact what's the logic and part of that is also thinking about the genre of your photography so if it's more generalistic or fashion and idealism you know we're somewhere in between tools of the trade important walking tablets huge and just for the sensitivity and being able to be precise so when you get into people photography this is where like you kind of have to have this thing at least in my opinion a couple other things is color if you ever noticed in your digital photograph, skin tones are just all over the map, you know, sometimes a red or peachy or who knows what so using some tools like the ex right color check her passport a really important profile on your monitor is really important and these tools aren't as important if you're just going to use photo shop to do crazy wacky, zany colors that means said even then its good to start with neutral and build from that so I think we all know these things, but I kind of have to say that so let's begin and let me dig into dig into light room a lot of the stuff we're going to do here is in light room and what I want to do is just kind of make sure I'm I'm have my barons and I want to start with some stuff, which is really basic, so I'm going to start with some basics and then build up from there is that sound good? Some of the stuff that you'll know, but I can guarantee you that I'm going to sneak in some things that you don't know whether that short cuts or just a way of approaching or thinking or whatever it is so kind of be on the lookout for that all right? So this is a portrait of a friend and actually let me just do it this way let's go the belt mantra this a portrait of a friend in before even retouch it what I'm always thinking about is, well, what is the portrait mean? Why is the portrait matter? And I think that's a really good place to start I know that we all know this, but sometimes we forget it because we jump into light room or photo shop and we try to fix the problem right? And this particular friend denied and then she was getting remarried and asked me to photograph the wedding I don't photograph weddings about was like, heck, yeah, I'm going to do that because it's meaningful and so it's heard her daughter and with this kind of an image, the retouching that we're going to do isn't really correcting anything that's wrong it's more just bringing out color in tone and so sometimes we're going to do things like that and let me I realize I skipped some slides let me go back to a few slides before I get to that image because I want to get on this get this theme developed a little bit first so the slides I want to jump through our this idea of when do we retouch the support of jack johnson he's, a singer song writer? He was in santa barbara and he rolled up on his beach cruise already sitting on his beach cruiser and I just captured the image jack is like quintessential authenticity so if you don't know him just imagine is like the super cool, authentic amazing guy so retouching for portrait like this is very minimal, right? He's going to play the acoustic guitar I'm not gonna turn it into electric guitar just would be weird you know, if his skin got soft you with me on that so we'll do a little bit without image. Another guy this is von shin are the founder of the company called patagonia. The guy is so strong and he has this intense personality. Wrinkles I want mohr versus less right. I mean, I know these things are obvious, but we have to do that. What I would see my students do when I taught for for dozen years is they would take pictures like this and remove wrinkles. I was like you just, like took away the guy strength, you know, it's sort of like you removed the rest from the panel like the point is the rust you have to leave it there. This is a photograph of another friend jeff and this is with film, but what I love about that is the film was deteriorating and it was expired, so we have that that mistake there and I once had this chance or had this odd phone call from someone and I picked up my phone and on the other and the guy said hey chris, this is ceal unfortunately I didn't say hi seal this is flamingo or something because it was ceo it was sealed a singer song writer he was like can you come to my house and teach me light room and I was like sure you know why not get a good story out of it? You know? So I went to his house and when I walked up to his house his mansion in beverly hills he had two cars parked out front of minivan in the red ferrari and I was like what's with the two cars he's like house when I get the kids to school and I was like right, you know, you don't think about those things that you know, those kind of people have to deal but anyway we're sitting down talking about photography about film and digital and he said something really profound and he said, you know, when I shoot with digital I look for a mistake when I shoot with film I embrace it and this isn't so much about using one or the other but it's about bringing that sentiment that mistakes are ok that sometimes flaws make the frame and another way to think of it as food photography food harvey what's interesting have you ever seen someone do it? They style the food like the cake or the sandwich? And then they add crumbs actually add mistakes because it makes it more appetizing. And so it's the mistake or the flaw that actually makes the photograph work. If it's too perfect, it just isn't good. So what I want to try to get away from is, like, overly perfect, right? And see if we can't do that, you get the gist. This is a famous movie star is about lucas, and this is the photograph before and then this is the after and the retouching it was just a on one. Uh, I'm blanking on the plug in name right now, but it was one of the on one what's the one not perfect effect. No, it was even portrait was just a color effect anyway, but it was one of those and the photograph didn't need a lot and sometimes they don't need ijust wanted to crop it getting closer and have the color and the feeling in the mood. And so you want to think about those things as well. You know it very touching. Other times my daughter and a friend, you know, it's just about light. Sometimes retouching happens on camera. This is kelly slater, eleven time world champion. Surfer and while I was shooting this I didn't realise but another friend was taking a picture of me shooting it but I didn't like the background so I just said kelly hold up the surfboard you know and so we do that you're right and and so what we're trying to do is on camera retouching right and then also the fact to try to convey or communicate some idea I will get to tools so if you're like christ do something in a photo shop I'm getting there retouching happens in stages original image on the left light room in the middle photo shop on their right what tends to happen is most people do too much in light room and not enough in photoshopped photo shops the final ten percent most people can't tell the difference in their own work but I can because I worked with a lot of students I can tell you like use light room and that's it you know you're missing just that look you're missing the icing on the cake you know just a little teeny bit but it really is important so let me show you what that looks like with this image jumped a photo shop ben harper amazing musician you anyone knows his music or his work yeah yeah so think that you get a chance to photograph banning and just like so excited right now if this happens you know when you get these these photographs here's the original I look at it crushed missed it you know what happened and s o I try to retouch it and this was my stage one sort of like I you know, distressed it had tone and a lot times what I think in my own work clothes I think yeah finished but you're never finished when you think you are usually at least in my own experience and then this is sort of that final stage and so if we look at closer, you know, kind of the before and after you can kind of see just just some color and tone stuff but then also just that cleanup and that subtle cleanup it doesn't look like a retouched photo, right? Lise I hope and my goal in retouching is that when all my photo shop work is that someone will look at the picture and they'll be into the picture not the retouching or not the photo shop the day when someone says chris you're good at photo shop I failed that being said, well no if they're in a classroom hopefully they say that but not when they're looking at my photographs right? Uh so that's kind of insight into that workflow in process and then last night at least one more slide before we start get digging is my friend keith carter I mentioned this morning he believes that portrait is less about sub dick matter and more about intent. It's about what do you want to communicate and convey and get beneath the surface, and that he believes you can take a portrait of a tree? And I've embraced that myself, so I'm kind of widening portrait retouching. Not that we're gonna work on trees in here, but to begin to think about, you know, that portrait is a revealing image, it's telling about some someone or something. And so, I mean, part of that, I think, is just trying to get us into that.

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.