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Lesson 12 from: Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

12. Retouching

Next Lesson: Shoot: Oily Skin

Lesson Info


let's talk about retouching so we just went through ten ways to ruin skin and at the end I'm going to do just a little rap up and hopefully guys can keep that checklist in your mind but a really easy way to mess up skin is retouching and it goes very very wrong um taking a look here retouching problems either the skin is too smooth it's not smooth enough the cloning or the retouching obvious or you're trying to fix freckles or something you're getting rid of what you don't intend to all right so one of the things that I would recommend everyone stay away from often is using retouching plug ins before you understand how to do it by hand because if you just use the retouching plug in you don't quite know how to back off when you need to back off and whatever the plug in gives you is what you go with so I definitely even though there are shortcuts and things that help out I start by making sure that I understand how to use the essential tools like clone stamp blend modes patch tool spot h...

ealing how and we will talk about something called frequency separation so to try to do a plug for day three frequency separation is what high end retouch jerseys and what it lets you do is that lets you separate the texture from the skin put it on a popular and then you can perfect and even out the shape in the smoothness and the color and the tone of the skin and then add the texture back in so when you're trying to smooth out blotchy nous or reduce the shadows and wrinkles or even out watching us and pimples all of that usually you're worried that you're going to be getting rid of the texture this particular thing that I'll share with you let's you fix all that in an add texture back in six any texture problems after and it looks real and it looks gorgeous s o the problems that people usually have are going going too far and using the retouching plug ins whatever they give you retesting pockets are fine but I would be a little bit wary also with this class I have a retouching checklist that I recommend that you take a look at it goes through all the things that I'm looking at for the skin so I want to show you looking at a couple photos kind of where my brain is going for what needs to be fixed and these you're more beauty photos I'm just giving you an idea you know so it's kind of hard from your judge on this screen but I was looking at her and she really didn't have that many flaws she really looked nice and for me I just thought shadows under her eyes were a little dark maybe I wanted to fill this in a little bit I added a tiny bit more contouring and just even it out a little bit in the cheeks but she doesn't need to go too far because she's already looking awesome one of the things that makes my job easier is I start with nice looking people and it makes it a little easier to retouch you know I'm maurine that case trying to do color correction and give enough contrast to her face over here the way that I lit it is kind of washed out so that's something I would be looking for all right so in this one this one I started off looking at the original file and some of the problems that I'm looking at is a it's a very dark and heavy here underneath her eyes so I know I would want to get rid of that I know I'd want to get rid of any well there's any imperfections like dead skin I intensified the contouring on her cheeks so can you see the highlights here that doesn't exist over here so that was done in photoshopped not done and with makeup so it's okay I want to give her face more dimension causes a little flatter I actually if you can see this I actually added highlights and shadows to her fingers to make the picture have more shape and dimension so that actually fits into my retouching retouching is beyond blemished removal it's beyond it giving skin that glow in dimension that you wanted to have so those are some of the things that will cover I also do a lot where I kind of tried to bring out the eyes I often kind of smooth out the contours of the jaws all that we'll talk about but this image I want to put up for the discussion of how far is too far trying to figure out what you're trying to achieve um this picture has a massive amount of retouching to it like a great deal this's using frequency separation so there's all the perfect texture in her skin even though I've completely re contoured and did everything in photos four portrait what I'm trying to do if it's a portrait is I'm trying to remove temporary imperfections so I'm trying to remove pimples or blotchy nous or readiness to the skin I'm also trying to remove anything that's not essential to who that person is so a little bit of shadow a little bit of you know darkness under the eyes that's not essential to what I look at that person and see so I'm okay removing things like that I'm also going to do things like lengthening the neck or things that I might do with makeup making the cheekbones a little bit higher now smoothing things out making it pop that's what I do with the portrait with fashion and beauty I go way over the top and make it as perfect as I need so I will tell you that I'm going to try my best to give you an idea of where the guidelines you know where you should cut things off but honest please you know this is on the border of too far but what happens if I wanted it to be so really perfect maybe that's ok I would not do anything like this for a portrait like at all this is definitely in the fashion room um in general for retouching for a quick retouch it really quick I just want to prove an image is going on facebook I usually only spend about ten minutes if it's going to be an image that I delivered to the client they're going to have that file or they're going to have that print I would say on average I'm spending between twenty and forty minutes it depends on how bad their skin is if it is going to be an insanely beautiful beauty advertisement than its thirty minutes to an hour that being said I really don't spend that much time it's practice makes perfect another question that I get a lot is all about do I do my own retouching or how much do I d'oh generally what I like to dio and I'm going to show you a lot about retouching what I like to dio now in my career is from a set of images I retouch one I retouch one to perfection exactly how I wanted to look and I have done my research and I have a siri's of re touches that I now work with as a fashion photographer where I can provide them that one image and say I want the others to look like this and so a lot of my re touches that I have used I found on model mayhem rita cher's that have portfolios there and what I'll do is I'll give them a sample image I have the before and I have the after and I said make it look like this good or better and that's how they make my cut or not so at this point in my career I still do retouching but it tends to be one or two images for a segment whereas if it's creative I still all I do all the creative work any compositing any special color effects anything like that what will be talking about on day three is basic this's kind of the over a basic blemish removal smoothing out skin blending modes and different tools color correction to call their correcting by curves how to fix an image where there is a split light when there is a mixed like in the scene what to do if someone's face is a different color from their chest what do you do if there is a color cast to the image what do you do for an instance when there's couples of two different skin tones and they're not matching and you want to help bring that exposure in a little bit things like smart objects and so that is retouching but it's much more than that and it kind of his old bunch together so I would like to just do a summary of what we talked about today and then we're going to wrap up today and I'll take any other questions that we have that kind of wanted to bring this all back in and just hit the most important point because there's a lot of information and I don't want to like all mushed together so let's go to the most important point there are ten main areas that ruin skin can't ten main things that if you don't take control of and you don't know about you educated about a photographer the skin congee ruined instantly so the very very first one is white balance and just know the auto is not your friend and you need to find some type of solution if having beautiful skin tones is important to you you've got to do more than auto my recommendation was considering an expo disk or something like a color checker or I also had a data color spider cube so some solution to give you a neutral target in the scene so you can achieve white balance and post or setting a custom white balance in your camera so wrong white balance will mess up your color number two is going to be mixed lighting so mixed lady would be daylight balance and tungsten in a single room and so you'll get blue and yellow on the face so my first recommendation is to try your best to get rid of one of these light sources close the windows turn off the light do something so that there is just one lighting situation one color temperature in the room if you can't do that what you're going to do is pick the dominant light source so let's say the dominant light source in the room is tungsten you're going to set your white balance to match that dominant light source and you're going to gel your flash to match that dominant light source and try to overpower whatever that makes light is in the room you can overpower that other color that's going to give you a nice even skin tone and have instead of having mixed light okay the next one is color contamination and this is one that I would say I see the biggest problem with most kind of beginning photographers the professionals or not is unwanted color casts created by contaminating colors so what you want to do is you want to go to a scene and analyze it what could be adversely affecting the skin tones so things that would adversely affect the skin tones would be maybe your assistant has a bright colored shirt and a lot of times I don't have my own assistant it's mom or dad of the person I'm photographing and if they're wearing a bright colored shirt and they're holding reflector you will definitely have color cast in the skin so maybe it's asking them to wear solid colors or maybe it's just being more aware of that and also the subject maybe if they're wearing crazy colors having them tone it down keeping that in mind another problem for color contamination is also going to be in the environment taking a look at the environment analysing ok what is the actual light source and kind of look around what's light is hitting the subject's face so maybe there's a red wall right here and you don't think it's your light source because you've got the sun out but it's definitely hitting your subject and giving a red color cast so that's something you want to look out for the green hitting the graph so what you can do it you can either move your subject or you've got overpower the unwanted like so overpowering unwanted light could be popping a flash this could be studio strobe or speed light or going ahead and using a reflector to try to overpower the unwanted color and in the last part of color contamination that you want to stay away from it if you're shooting in the studio and you're getting ambient light meaning the fluorescent bulbs from your ceiling are showing up in the shadows or maybe the day light light from the windows is showing up so you want to shoot at a fasting speed or do something fast shutter speed near your sink speed do some things that when you take your trigger off and you take a picture without this trove that you don't see any light so those were the major ones for color contamination the next one would be camera files and also settings so just the super duper basics of it is you always want to shoot raw if you're not shooting raw you're not getting the best skin tones there's no no doubt about it you want to be shooting wrong when you're processing your files you want to be working in sixteen bit and you want to be at least working in adobe rgb maybe pro photos a good fit for you it depends on what your needs are but you need to go through and check along your entire workflow process that all the settings right so you need to make sure if you're in light room or adobe camera or exporting in light rum or the open as settings that it needs to be the correct color space and the correct bit depth sixteen bit and then opening as a tiff you want also keep in mind that you want to start with his much information is possible and I use the dress analogy because he wanted much information or is much fabric to work with as you manipulate your file and then your final product how you export them it's whatever the end result is going to be maybe it's for a monitor maybe it's for facebook or maybe it's a print well then you have after that is going to be color management so color management actually begins in camera getting the correct white balance with the next part is if you do nothing else at least calibrate your monitor so there are products by data color and x ray you want to make sure your monitor is calibrated and something that might help you out is investing in a better monitor really expensive monitor inexpensive monitors aren't going to show the correct color so how can you possibly see what your camera actually captured how can you possibly see we'll end up in the print so you do want to take a step to do that and then the final part of kind of managing your color and color calibration is doing something called the soft proof so finding a way to prove your colors to see how it's going to print or how your conversion from your color space from one color space to another what that's going to do to your file and we talked a little bit about rendering intense to take a look at that number six is exposure and the most important part of this is just to be smarter than your camera and whether you are meeting with a meter external to your camera or whether using a meeting mode just be aware of how they work and how to outsmart them so that is an important part for exposure okay number seven is quality of late quality light means how soft or how hard is the light and you're controlling that primarily by your light modifier choices harder modifiers are going to be harsher on the skin you see more texture you see more wrinkles they become more saturated harsher modifiers have more contrast so all the blemishes everything shows up more on the opposite and softer ones are more flattering to the skin the problem is maybe you want a little bit more crisp shadow baby you want a little bit more shape to face so you've got to kind of figure out based on what your goals are for that photo what modifier going to choose on the heart and you have things like the silver dishes then in the middle you have things like beauty dishes parabolic and breast umbrellas and then on really soft you have soft boxes and the bigger the light source in relationship to your subject the softer it's going to be the more diffuse it's going to be in the more flattering to the skin disclose more flattering to the skin doesn't necessarily mean it's the best for your photo depends on the look you're going for okay so number eight is going to be direction of light direction of light makes sitting difference to texture to the more you move your light off access up and down left and right you start to show more texture so the higher ups for example you raise a light you'll see more wrinkles or the more to the side as it reeks across you're going to see skin texture that you might not want so flat light kind of flat to the camera lower and centered gives you the least amount of texture but also gives you a really flat looking photo there isn't much dimension the more you move the light up maybe the more carves out the cheek bones and jaw line the more you move the light to the referee left or right it starts giving you drama start shaping the face so your job again is to figure out where that balances how much shape you want how much to mention you want but at what point is it going to create too much texture and at what point is that the look you want and you're just gonna have to retouch it and that's kind of part of choosing the modifiers and choosing the direction of life number nine is makeup my recommendation is to use a makeup artist when you can and if you can build your business around the idea that when they hire you there's a makeup artist built in it's going to make your job a lot easier we recommended some key products that you do want to purchase for your makeup kit to your essential photographers kit and this doesn't mean you have to become a makeup artist but instead it's things like blotting papers so someone has oily skin it's kind of hard to retouch is out especially if they go over exposed you're gonna be able to block out the blotting papers on the forehead or if someone has really dry or ashy skin having a really really great moisturizer to be able to have a soak up that dryness and it's going to make it easier for your retouching as well and I also recommended giving your clients some kind of guide some kind of guide saying okay don't wax a few days before your before your appointment try to figure out your true color tone for your skin and giving them some ways to educate themselves about makeup even if you can't hire and then also learning to communicate with your makeup artist so that they can help picon tauron shape the face and have makeup that actually works with your photography instead of just doing makeup like you would see every day you need to have more makeup than someone would wear on a typical day because the photographs actually eat it up and the very last one is retouching which will spend a lot of time on but for retouching your real goals are to get rid of temporary imperfections help someone look their best but keep skin tones don't make it keep skin texture don't make it look over retouched and also have correct color so that is what an entire day of day three we'll be going over so all of these these are the top ten things that ruin skin but I hope you can do is if there's something that you feel you have a weakness on maybe practice it but in any photograph when he seen take a look and make sure I have my white balance correct no mix light cave persons wearing a black shirt not contaminating my scene having your camera set right in photo shop and so kind of going through all these things and having that balance again for the lighting the texture in the mood

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Makeup Contour Reference
Retouching Checklist
Frequency Separation
Retouching Files
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Gear Guide
Skin Retouching Action File

Ratings and Reviews

Aliah Husain

Lindsay is an INCREDIBLE photographer and teacher, and also seems like a wonderful person! This class is great for beginners and more advanced photographers, as well. She goes into tons of detail on all the technical stuff like lighting and editing, and it is fascinating to see her interact with and shoot her models, work with her equipment, and photoshop like a pro. Huge amounts of information for what you pay for. If you are looking to improve your skills in photographing and retouching people, purchase this class!!

Kirsi Todd

Lindsay is probably my favourite instructor (and that is saying a lot, as there are many incredible instructors). She is so clear in her teaching and she also seems like such a nice and humble person despite her incredible success. This course is one of the best courses I have ever seen. Thank you Lindsay and Creative Live!

Andrew Lederman

Great course. Lindsay Adler is one of the best instructors for any creative live classes that I have seen. Simple and easy to understand, clear workflow, very friendly and non condescending like some other instructors. Could you put a link (maybe I just didn't see it) to where to download the actions used in this tutorial?

Student Work