Photoshop Retouching


Inside The Glamour Studio


Lesson Info

Photoshop Retouching

I thought long and hard about how to do this because I think in the last two months there's been so many amazing Photoshop workshops here at Creative Life, that teach Photoshop so much better than I do. And so I thought to myself how can I best give you Photoshop lesson that is going to actually help you down the track. All week, I've been trying to create a map, if you will, or a posing map or a guide for the flow of what I do so that you can really start to really increase your direction and really increase your posing with your clients. So, what I thought was, I got up last night. I couldn't sleep about 1 o'clock in the morning. I sat up, and I started to open the images that we were taking over the week and thought, "Oh, I'll show these images," and I would show them you know at the end of my final session. And as I started to look at them, I started to open them and retouch them. And, I realized at this moment, so you can go to the screen, and I'll just talk over it, that I was op...

ening my images in Raw, and I was picking the best couple of shots of each of the girls that I'd photographed. And I started to open them in the Raw window. So, I hit record on my screen because I can screen capture as I work, and I'm opening the images from Raw, and I started to open each one of them and do the corrections on them. And then I realized that it would probably be better over the next five days as I prepare each of the images for all of the girls that I photographed that I record the sessions on Photoshop so that you can download them and refer to them as well. Because the fastest way for me to show you is for you to be able to refer to every one of those images, and I will voice over them and make sure I'm telling you what I'm doing. So this is on silent so I can talk over it. What I did was I took the girls that I did the three ... The three girls that I did the manuals for, beautiful Kate, beautiful Alex and Rose, and beautiful Rose. And I opened them, and I started to retouch them. I tried very hard as I retouch always to stick to my two-minute rule. So the idea with me is that I'm always trying to create a Photoshop image for my client in under two minutes. If I'm showing 30 images, it stands to reason that I'm going to be working on my images for about 60 minutes. I have been a retoucher my whole life. I started out retouching when I was 18 years old before Photoshop was invented, and I actually used to retouch with a paint brush. So, I was in the lab working as an 18-year-old in a professional photographic lab learning how to retouch with a paintbrush and Kodak dye. As the industry changed, and we went from film to digital, I learned slowly how to retouch on Photoshop, and Photoshop became a total addiction for me. However, I am self-taught. So, I break a lot of rules in Photoshop, but the rule really I've found for me was that I found out, self-taught, how to create the fastest way to create a beautiful image in under two minutes so that I could create my images fast turnaround for my clients. I am really a full tool wonder. I use the Clone Stamp on every part of the skin. I use Imagenomic as a plugin so that I don't do any skin retouching on the body. I always clone at 20 to 30 percent. I keep it simple. I Dodge and Burn the eyes. I Dodge and Burn, and I use the Warp tool, not the Liquefy, to slim and post. I try and do as much of my slimming as I can and then what I do is after I retouch the face, I clone through the skin. I go to my Dodge and Burn. I always make sure I take that little pink bit off there, you know, just on the inside of the eye. Remember, I'm always creating images towards cold because I like them to look fashion and quite cold-looking. That's definitely my style. And then I move on to the next image. So, I've got a bank of images, so many images and every one of these videos we'll retouch, every one of the shots that you saw unfold, and I'll try and get them referenced in order so that you can reference them in order of the shots that you are looking at so that you can see how I finished them and then there'll also be a before and after because the posing guide that they've created for you that I shot live for you is in Raw format. Let's not pretend that what comes out of our camera is perfect because that is a filthy lie. You know it. I know it. I am the biggest embellisher on Photoshop that there ever lived because I'm a glamour photographer. So, you're better to look at the Raw posing guide as it came out of my camera that day, as it came up on the screen. Then, you can watch how I edit those images and then you can watch how they are finished so that you can see the final product and what makes it so good and what finishes it off. So, I really wanted to be able to archive that for you. I really wanted to be able to give you something to take home. So as that's playing up, I'll show you a few of my favorite tips. I'm always cloning through the skin, just I clone always at 20 to 30 percent in my flow. Okay, so if you look at the top of the screen, my flow is at 30 percent. I'm at 100 percent opacity and that little airbrush to the right of flow is depressed. That ... (laughs) It's depressed. So, that means that I've got a nice constant flow going through my clone. Clone Stamp is just something I use all the time. I just find it so easy to work with. And, I pretty much just go through ... I do the face first. I do the skin first. I also would surprise a lot of people when they see me doing Photoshop when they realize how big my image is on the screen ... Oh, sorry. How small my image is on the screen. I have this rule. I have a 17-inch MacBook Pro when I travel, and I have this rule of thumb that the face is around the size of my fist when my fist is flat like that. And then I clone. The Clone Stamp is around the size of my thumbnail. So I see so many people blowing up their images and cloning way too close and you just don't need to. You know, I want to get in and get in quick. Because this is just portraiture. We need to be able to move our product through our studio as quickly as we can. Post-production gives you a significant look as to who you are as a photographer. I can retouch my images and do some of the most simple things, but the truth is it's how I finish that final treatment that makes mine look like mine. Okay, so I can teach you multiple poses. I can show you pretty much anything, any type of genre, but it's my final edit that makes me look like me. Now, here, I'll show you a classic warp for me. The back of Alex's dress is bunched up, and it looks like her waist is a lot thicker. So I create a copy and paste, I lasso, copy and paste, edit, warp. I bring the skirt in to where I want the skirt. Okay, so I'm not looking at her arm. I'm not making her arm slimmer. Her arm was perfect. What I'm doing is bringing the back line in so I use my Warp tool. I go back. I have another look. It looks good to me. I just see that. That's where I wanna go with the back line. I go to my erasing tool here, and I just feather back this line nice and soft. So my erasing tool right now is at 40 percent, and I erase down that line. And when I think that back line has come in good, then I make sure I feather that line beautifully and I flatten that image. I then go up to the eyes. Always finish with the eyes. Make sure that I put a Dodge and Burn in the eyes. I never notice, but Alex had some teary eyes as she was shooting so her eyelash lifted up on the right hand side so I just cloned that back, put a nice little Dodge and Burn in the eyes. Make sure I do that nice little green tone through the image. And so as I work through each image, it's exactly like my posing. It's such a repetitive process to me, but it's a process that I've refined. And it's one that I do as fast as possible. I used to in my early years want to spend hours and hours, days and days and days on Photoshop, and I did weeks and months and years, and years, and years and years, on Photoshop. I loved to create a final image from camera Raw. I just love that feeling that you Dodge, you Burn, you play, you add filters, actions, whatever it takes, and you create a final image that you have in your mind. Also, being that I'm not technically a very brilliant photographer, I correct a lot of my mistakes in Photoshop, fundamental mistakes that maybe other photographers don't do. I don't really care about that. I use Photoshop to correct backdrops, you know, to correct seams in backdrops, to clip backdrops, extend backdrops. It doesn't really bother me. I make sure I use every tool on Photoshop I can to improve my image and make sure that my final product looks the same, but I will say one thing that I really want you to focus on, I want you to consider that when you retouch an image, it is the consistency of the final look that makes you look like you have a brand. Now regardless of where those people were shot over what period of time, when you look at a group of images, you want them to look consistently the same. I look at a lot of photographers, and I don't see any consistency in their brand. You know, so if you're gonna go with one filter for a while, stick with it for a year or two, but start looking similar. And as soon as you can, get some consistency in your brand. Now I can photograph a baby, a woman and a baby. I can photograph a maternity shoot, a glamour shoot, a senior shoot and I still have the same, I still have the same sort of sort of look to my images. You still look at it and go that's a Sue Bryce because I've really worked at trying to create an even brand. I find when I look at websites, it's the consistent brands that get noticed more than the ones that are more all over the place or varied. And I'm sure some people would argue that, but that's just my opinion again and I own that. So I just know that whenever people look at my work, their first comment is I started to look at your images and then I realized every single one is the same. They just all wow, wow, wow. And I'm trying to always create that wow factor but that consistency in my brand. Okay, so this backlight shot of Alex just worked perfectly. We got to Rose here. Because I was moving so fast on the 100 poses, you'll see backdrops like that. You'll see these black lines in there, but I'm still retouching them. I'm still gonna show you how I've retouched them and how I finished them off. And even though there are a few fundamental mistakes in the 100 poses in terms of backdrops and speed, in which there's a couple of shots that are a little bit of motion in them where obviously my shutter speed got too slow or I was moving too fast or I was talking too fast, but you know, it was a speed challenge more than an accuracy challenge. So, I would like to do a slow version of that challenge over what period of time and film that over the next couple of months to put up for you just because I think when I slow it down, I nail it even better than that. So, also, you know, I'm in the corner of a warehouse that I don't shoot in all the time. When I'm in my space, I shoot at an even higher rate. I find when I'm on location, I shoot a lot more, and I have definitely a higher hit rate. So, it doesn't matter anyway, like I said to Celeste, I don't need to really prove that I can make anybody move. I can just make people move. Some people take longer to move, and I would've panicked if she had had really bad movement, but I would've just kept pushing her and pushing her and pushing her until she could because that's the most important part. And so, just like that, I went through those images. It was about two in the morning at this stage. I saved it off, and I thought to myself, This would be the easiest way for me to give you further education on my version of Photoshop, and you can see it on the images that I took. Any questions about Photoshop or post-production or finishing or ... Just thank you (laughs). Yeah. That's cool. Well, I have to do the retouching anyway so the only difference is I'll be recording it while I retouch it. And I'll just have to remember not to talk to myself or sing because it records sound as well. Oh, that would be nice anyways. (laughter) You're gonna do one of your film noir ones in that? Maybe. Yes, I will. I've got a couple of beautiful ones for that so you can watch me paint with the light Dodge tool. And also, I've got a couple of ... I'll drop in a couple of shout outs in there and a few subliminal messages. Maybe like I'll be retouching there, and I'll be like get to your marketing plan by three o'clock this afternoon. (laughter) All right. If you're waiting for a sign, this is it. (laughter) Okay, I'm ... Could you say get up and go eat something? (laughter) Bonnie, get up and go and eat something. (laughter) I'll throw in some subliminal messaging for you. So, just to add, last night I did three, two-minute videos like that so 30 minutes with the retouching and obviously I probably have about two or three hours left because I've got lots of images to get through. I promised every one of the models that I would provide a beautiful portrait for them so that you'll get to see what I choose for each one and how I finish it off, and then they went to a lot of effort for me, so, a lot of effort for me. And you know what, everybody keeps telling me how generous I am, but the truth is is everybody just bends over backwards for me, and I just ... Blows me away. So, just to ... Oh, Stephen has a question, but just to be sure so everyone understands out there, these will be included in the paid ... Yes. Downloads. As part of the course. Yes. Cool. Awesome. That's incredible. What a brilliant idea. Stephen? When do you run Portraiture? Immediately. I didn't on these. Okay. Because I didn't have to. A lot of them don't have a lot of skin showing. Alex has beautiful skin. She didn't need it on her arms and so did Kate. Kate had that very porcelain. She only had a little bit of sort of discoloration under the arm I cleaned very quickly. Only when I need to, but I open the image, I run it, I mask around the face because I like to come back and do the face myself. I don't like to use portrait software on the face. I like to have control over that. So, you don't use it on the face at all? No. It's just for body? Yes. Okay. Yeah, just because I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to cleaning around the face. I feel like the makeup has been a big part of what I do, and I just you know, I want that sharpness through the face, through the eyes, through the hairline, and I don't want it to be compromised at all with portrait software, and I want to be able to Dodge and Burn the eyes, sharpen and burn in that black line on the tip lid. I want to be able to add eyelashes if I can. If I can, I'll find a way to show you maybe record the eyelash plugin that I told you about. It gives you about 20 sets of eyelashes that you can drop on. They look real. It also does lips as well and eyebrows, but I would never change somebody's lips or eyebrows, but I would add eyelashes to make an image better if I had to, or, yeah. I have a question. Yes. What's your turnaround time for delivery? Well, this is the thing. My turnaround time has changed significantly since I started bouncing all around the world. And when I was in my studio, I always say that the biggest hindrance to me getting referrals and more work was having a slow turnaround time. So, I preach to people, to photographers up your turnaround time and your delivery service, and your referral rate quadruples. I'm still trying to work that out myself. Every single time in my business for the last 20 years that I have had ... You know when you get a bottleneck of work or a bottleneck of money, when all of a sudden you realize you haven't had any income for a week, and you're like, hmm, there's no flow. And then I look at the bottleneck of work behind me. Two things happen with that bottleneck. You stop pleasing your clients, and if they've paid you in any way, shape or form, they get angry at you. So, for me, the most significant thing that I can do is turn my attention towards my clients. I am really guilty at the moment of traveling too much, and I've got a bottleneck now, and I will take a week off to solidly book myself doing retouching. You see you book yourself doing shoots, but you don't think to stop and book yourself to do the retouching and the ordering, and you must book out that time. That is not ... That is not I'm available because I don't have shoots this week. That is solid four days of editing, catch-up order. Please your clients. It comes back to them, and they will turn back to you very fast if you don't provide that, and I'm the one that's telling everybody to do that so I have to practice what I preach, and I block out editing time now. And I have to adhere to it. And so sometimes I get tempted with a shoot where people are ringing me for shoots and somebody drops a goody in my lap and says, "Look, I'm right here." Some people ring me and go, "I'll give you $5,000." And I go, "I can't. I'm fully booked." and I know I have booked an editing day, and they'll go, "I'll give you $6,000." And it's like you can't bribe me with money. If I don't look after these clients over here, I don't get more. So I have to be really rigid with that now because before I used to just take the money, take the work, take the work, take the work. It doesn't help you. It doesn't help your business. Service helps your business more than anything in the world. Service helps your business. We have a number of Photoshop questions, but I don't know that we're gonna ... Just hit me with a couple of ... Get to all those. Good ones. Some folks were asking about the green cast. Oh yes. I did that on my last Creative Life. Right. So, it's a brush. It's a lime green cast at one percent. I'll talk through it on the voiceover. Cool. So that you can see it and you can do it. It's easy to do. I would probably horrify a lot of Photoshop teachers, and I don't care. Mesquite Photo is wondering how you feel about moles and freckles, if you leave them? Um, yes, because they're not my moles or freckles. And this comes up a lot so I'll just ask it. Sure. (laughs) From West PhD, who a couple of days ago, when you were talking about images on Facebook and giving that surprise, you talked about not watermarking the entice image, but what about the digital files that you put on the CD, the ones that are purchased? What is your feeling about watermarks in general? Anybody who follows me on Photoshop will know that I've had my website ripped off twice in the last month. Yes. I don't watermark my images. And yes, a couple of people help themselves to my entire gallery and then open their own website and pass it off as their own. Unfortunately for them, I have a strong following so of course, people notice my images immediately and emailed me and you know we got it rectified. Stealing images is just pointless. It's stupid. You're gonna get found out. The internet is a small world, but yes, that probably happened because I don't watermark my images. I found two things ... Two things that really significantly stand out to me. I noticed on Facebook when I joined Facebook I was a very reluctant Facebook user. I didn't want to use it to advertise my business. I was very reluctant to use it all. I used to call it Fastbook. I was a late, what do you call it, a late, there's the early innovator and then the later majority. I was like the trailing late majority on Facebook. Now I just advocate it as one of the best tools in marketing in the world, but anyway. I was really, really headstrong on that one. So stupid. And I kind of decided that when I looked at other people's Facebook pages, I didn't like seeing watermarked images because I kind of thought it's, it's ... I don't know. I just didn't like it, and I thought, well I'm not gonna watermark my images. And I also didn't like it when people asked me to like their page. I felt like it was like hit over and like me, and I kind of thought ... It has that vibe in the playground where you walk up and go you know, "Will you be my friend?" Or, "Can you play with me?" I just didn't like it. I just thought, ugh. So, I never asked anybody to like my page. I figured if you want people to like you, you should just be likable and do things on your page that draw people to you as opposed to, you know, trying to get people to just go ahead and tick a button that they don't even, you know, support. And how awkward is it when somebody you know asks you to like their page, and you don't like their page. (laughter) Because you kind of think, ugh, that means I have to say I like it, and I don't really like it and it's all really awkward for you. (laughs) So, I don't know watermarking, Facebook. It all sort of came to a head for me, and I just made the decision not to watermark. I decided that I wanted people to watermark underneath by tagging me and saying I've been Sue Bryce'd, than I did saying I'm Sue Bryce, but you must protect yourself legally. You must protect yourself as a business and a photographer. You'd be stupid not to. So make sure you're signing a model release, and make sure nobody's helping themselves to your images. So a safe watermark can easily be cropped out unless it goes right across the middle, and that defeats the purpose. It's gonna happen to everyone at some stage. Move on. You know, I didn't cry about it. I just went, eh. What do sit in? How do you protect your back and you know your health as far as like ... Bonnie will sit down all day long. "Come eat, Bonnie. We need to go and run. Come run with me. Come walk with me." And she just ... She's so intense, and she gets up and she's crying about her back, and she's wondering why. Well ... How do you do it? Posture. I sit in a chair as straight and backed as I can. I don't have a back support. I sit forward. I sit on a Swiss ball if I can. You know engage your abdominals. Stay forward. Remember you get 20 minutes before the lymphatic system starts draining so you should get up and move and stretch every 20 minutes. It's like anybody with an office job. These Danish guys invented a treadmill now that walks at one mile per hour or two miles per hour that you can actually type, walk, talk on a phone and be completely active on it. It looks absolutely amazing. They trialed it in an office and all of the office workers lost on average of about eight pounds a month. And all they were doing was just ... And it's such a slow walking, you barely notice that you're walking, but it's just that constant movement through the body. I need that. Don't get stuck on Photoshop. You are better to do two-hour Photoshop power sessions and go for a walk and then open your Photoshop the next morning or the next night than you are to trying to knock out a day's worth of work. If you are bottlenecking on Photoshop, you are doing too much Photoshop. I want you to try and get to two minutes an image and then let it go. I don't need to remove that crease on the back of that shot in order to sell it to Rose. I only need to remove the shadows under her eyes. You know, you only need to remove what you need to remove to sell the image to the girl. You don't need to remove the rest of it until she decides she's gonna buy it. And that crease in the back will not stop her from buying that image so don't over Photoshop and get up and move. You just gotta get up and move. Don't get stuck there. Too many people are getting stuck on Photoshop, not marketing, not shooting, not selling, not making money, wasting time. A question from Dee Reagan. I think you went over this yesterday, but regarding the seams on the backgrounds when you shoot with them, will you be able to go over a little bit about like Photoshopping ... Yeah, well ... The crease. I'll be Photoshopping all of the image. So, I'll talk through seams. I'll show them healing tool, cut and paste, and clone which is the three things I would use to remove a seam because I'm always shooting into a corner, and if the corner comes up off the back of the head, I'm gonna remove it. Thank you. Yeah. One small question. Do you finish your image with sharpening or no sharpening? No. No sharpening. No, no. Not usually. Yeah. More Photoshop questions or? Yeah, sure. All right. Let's see anymore in the audience while I grab another one? Laura, do you have one? I just clicked myself out of the chat room. It seems like what else can we ask of you. I mean besides you know getting us all on a plane and letting us into your house and hanging out with you. I mean that's ... I wish this was my house (laughing). Right. You've given everything, and it's amazing to watch. There's very few, I think, masters of the industry that do that. And they're threatened. They feel something that maybe they'll lose out at some point. And you're fearless. You're not gonna lose out on anything. You're just ready for everyone to do what you are doing. You know what? That's awesome. That's awesome. I challenge someone in this audience, either here or in their home right now. I challenge you to be better than me. I think I might. Like just kick my butt. Go for it. If you're gonna be that person, I'll take you up the front there and go, "Hey, check this out." Because if I could teach you that, like if I could honestly say that I helped in that process, I mean, hey, I get it. You do the work, but if I could honestly help with that and say that I produced that for you. If I could produce an income for you that made your family life amazing, if I could help you to do that, that would be the coolest thing I could ever experience as a human being because nobody ever gave me that. I just couldn't think of anything I'd like to see more. Well, thank you already. (laughs) Yeah. Thank you already. So just kick butt. Just go for it. I can't believe I'm this kept secret. I just didn't even think I had anything to share. I didn't know. I'm just a portrait photographer from Poke Kauai (laughs). You're a special person. Oh, come ... We're all special. Yeah, but you're brave enough to go out and say this is what it's about. I'm gonna share. And not too many people share. They don't have the ability. Sure, we're all special, but you're making us all better in saying, "Hey it's okay to share." Like I said earlier, Creative Life is a new way of learning, and for those who are not paying attention, they're gonna be left behind. You've made all of us better. Well, I think you make yourself better. But you've given us the tools. Cool. Thank you. Look, I ... I 100 percent I take it, and I 100 percent gratitude. I feel that. Like that is just so. That's a really beautiful thing to say, and I really, really understand that, you know, nobody changes anything until you make the decision to stand up and do it.

Class Description

Women want to feel as beautiful as Sue Bryce makes them look in her portraits. Join this award winning photographer as she teaches you the tools of the trade for modern glamour photography. Watch real shoots as Sue shows you step-by-step how to celebrate the timeless beauty of women.

this course will cover:

  • Posing for all body types
  • Marketing and sales
  • Photoshop® retouching

You might also be interested in Working with Hair and Makeup.

Sue will show you how she built a small photography business in her garage to $20k a week in sales. And more importantly, how you can use her techniques to grow your own photography business.