The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

 

The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

 

Lesson Info

Demo Images from Shoot

Now I want to reiterate, We want to reiterate a bit of what was going on, on the photo shoot today and what you're looking for. So as I said, full length three quarter and tight. Really important. Make sure it's, make sure it's in focus. Lighting issues. There's things. Do you see the lighting fall off on his nose? You need to watch for that. That's your job. Well, it's not your job, it's your pain if you don't notice it 'cause you're gonna have to fix it. You wanna call attention to this, 'cause one step back, if he took one step back that would be, properly handled, or a slight turn. So you wanna keep an eye on things like that. Do you notice that, that toe? How cropped that is? Oh, can you imagine, catching how people are moving, and how things are happening, that foot's cut off in a minute, and then you're stripping. You gotta watch for these things. I know in a perfect world, the photographer would be looking for those things. But you're the, what was it? Third set of eyes? Thir...

d set of eyes. Third set of eyes. So this is all good opportunities, man, just to cover ya and look good. Yeah, did I mention the commercial for you to get further work, for the agency, when you're on set? I'm not sure, I'm gonna, I might repeat myself, I can't remember if I mentioned this. When you're on set and checking for all these things and you're comping on set, it is an advertisement for you to get alternative work. 'Cause as I said, the photographer hires you, but there's an ad agency, and then there's client direct there. More or not, and then when I say the ad agency, it's not one person, it's like five people. You wanna have business cards, you want to def. You know, you wanna be subtle and cool Smooth Smooth is the rule, yes. But it's an opportunity. Alright, different head positions really important and also quite important on this are eye positions 'cause I guarantee you this is not something often covered. Folks don't think to have them switch, even when he's standing looking one direction, switch your eyes. And I know you've seen it, when people switch people's eyes and it looks so goobery. 'Cause it just looks wrong. Just cover it. And I'm not a photographer, never did much photography. This is just stuff that jumps out at me as a retouch or later on down the line. And I'm always asking the photographer of this couple, I say, how come folks don't shoot for that all the time? And she's like it just cuts by 'em all. I was like, okay, well in our class let's bring that up. Yeah. Let's put that in the check list. So this is just comin' out of real life situations. Things like a retoucher. And I guarantee you the two most needed shots that are rarely got, the back three quarter and a back of the head. I know that sounds crackers crazy. Often, those are, without doubt the two bigger fails that happens on a photo shoot. Yeah 'cause no one, no one ever thinks to have 'em. The top of the head is just, you'll have someone who's kinda, their hairline's receding a bit. Can you just drop that. Yes, so now you gotta strait on, you gotta move all this down however you would do that. Or, you got your other shot and you just pick that whole thing up, drop it on there and paint in what you want. I'm gonna repeat that because I wanna make sure that did not go over people's heads. No pun intended. If you have someone, obviously this dude's got some hair, so it's not an issue in here. If you have someone with a receding hairline but they have hair in the back, if you tilt their head down and you shoot it, you can then strip that in without having to distort it. 'Cause imagine if you grab the top part and pull it, then it's wrapping and you're pulling pixels. You don't need to. And then that with some Photoshop brushes. Yeah all this stuff, just fill your shopping cart full of stuff you might need later. It's a second to shoot it. Ah, I do wanna reiterate another point that I think might have gotten glossed over in the earlier session. This takes a lot of time and with staff or not staff, excuse me, with talent, especially actors. Photographers may often not want to waste the time on it. But if they do the set ups with crew first, so they have everything locked down, and I mean everything, know which angle, then you can kinda get away with the timing because you've done your homework before talent gets on. And then sometimes your crew looks like the talent. Don't you find that to be true? Like, the crew looks just like the model? Today half the, half the guys in our, in our set look like our model. It's true, you know it's true. Oh I understand. So sometimes crew is a nice body part, hands and whatnot. Anyway, use what you can. Arm positions. You are so much better about this than I. I forget this. Well it's just because I always get bit, and I'm always, how this doesn't get shot as an insurance policy, in a photo shoot, it just goes beyond me. Yeah. And that's again, I haven't lived it so I was like how does this, how does this keep going on and on ever since photography's been invented for 140 years. Jazz hands, love that. So true that you need this. You'd be amazed at how often you need this kinda stuff. And then I kinda consider this the, I don't know what you call that. Is that the Dougie? I just ask, I ask them to push. I ask them to push up towards the 11 o'clock, seven o'clock and then pull from seven o'clock, and then do it from the other side. 'Cause you're always looking for... Absolutely. Grabbing hands and from that. And then the other thing was open hands So this way, like, push me away and then pull me towards you and then like I'm gonna give you something. These are the ones that I'm always being asked to strip in from other stuff. Oh hey, we wanna take this guy, we got strip in these arms I was like man, if we had it from the original model it'd be a lot easier. So these are my own little personal ones that I've had to do over and over. Yeah, so hopefully you'll find this checklist handy. Now, the camera angle and position and these things are really tricky, and this is tricky to sort out for some folks, but, coverage wise. Shooting slightly from above, and then mid level, and then lower, and some of them don't look that different. Everything looks really kinda similar, but this is the stuff, when you put it in a comp it makes all the, and you just, again, you kinda don't know it's just got, you get that look on your face and you kinda go, something's kinda wrong. There's a, I don't wanna call out some stuff I've worked on 'cause I'd be embarrassed, even though I didn't shoot it. But on a lot, a lot, a lot of celebrity shows, like TV, posters, you will 100 percent see this problem. They just shot it with the wrong lens. And they had the comp. They had it. But some decisions were made and there's not coverage. So I'm gonna keep going on some of this sample, but more on this same thing. So do you remember when I said, do you have your comp available and your ready? So we're just gonna use this alleyway as an example of what we often have to do with entertainment or ad shots where we have to drop someone in. And if you look at the shots, well which angle is gonna work for you? And if you look at these on their own, they're kinda, kinda similar. I think the one on camera left, for you guys, would be the most obvious wrong shot. But it depends, and it depends on your mood. But if you're on set and you're dropping it in then you really can see. So, the point I'm trying to make here is when you're looking at a guy on a seamless, it's not so obvious, but when you drop him in on the set, then it becomes very obvious, very quickly. And this is, Simon was talking about this selecting mass, that was what, a 30 second mask job? Yeah. If, if that. Drop it in and see if you like it just to get the idea. And what I think is sometimes helpful, and we're gonna talk about this coming up in a few minutes, is having a bag of tricks of colors and effects because it also helps them see what's going on. Because it kinda smooshes everything down and you can see the composition. And then I think this one, personally, looked a little better. So I dropped it, again, 30 seconds, it's rough masking but it's enough to give everyone an idea. Do you like the lighting, is that gonna work for us? And it's, it's (snap) that much time And my day-rate, to get that done. But in the end, I would say, well worth it. 'Cause you can imagine, these photo shoots are expensive. You've got photographers, you've got assistants, you've got stage rentals, you've got stylists, you have props, you have talent and you have to pay for all of that. What's a little extra money to have some insurance to know, in a minute? If that's gonna work? I think that's worth it. A minute? Minute of your time? Perhaps? As opposed to 16 hours of retouching that's never gonna look right. Right, okay. And then again, I really wanna drive home this one 'cause this is the one that's probably the biggest pain I would say, overall for us, is hair coverage. Make sure you cover the hair pulled back, not pulled back. And aside from pulled back or not pulled back? Get it off. This is a night, can you imagine? Okay I have to fix that. And let's say it's the only shot they give me. 'Cause we live in a world where that will be the only shot. There's no, they don't give you the 75 other shots, they give you that one shot. What am I gonna do? Cut that arm and flip it? No, look the lighting. So. You gotta remember sometimes in the business world, your photography or photography that is done floats around outside the job and outside the rest of 'em. In entertainment, I'm gonna tell you something that's not so kosher, but, folks be afraid. If I have a job and I'm doing one sheet and I get, they're afraid to call the studio and say, Can I have the whole photo shoot so I can get body parts? They won't do it. They won't call. How hard is it? Call and ask for a shot. No, just fix it. More money for us, but is it gonna look as good? So to protect yourself, just get the shots covered as best you can when you have it. And so over the shoulder, not over the shoulder, and then here's one that gets by people all the time. Now chances are you don't want the ear showing. Not with the highlight hitting it, but cover it, have it. And you should have the ear on the other side showing. Hair on the ear, hair off the ear. On, off, on, off. Better to have it and not need it. Bingo. And then need it, and not have it. Can you say that 10 times fast? No? I only do one of those a day. So real quickly, we talked about the glasses bit, such a small thing, but so much money. Hairy chest, if you like it. Frequency separation's a nice way to get rid of it. This one I think is really important. This is that really subtle stuff that, again, I know I'm saying it a lot, but I think it bears repeating. How it looks on a white seamless when you're just looking at it on the set, Ah, that's great, we'll take it. And you know what folks don't look at? Well not all folks. It's not just the angle of this. It's the angle of the water. Such a subtle difference. Now you can illustrate that, if you need to. If you're an illustrator, if you're good at it. Or you can pay a retoucher but why not cover it. Why not cover both of 'em. You might wanna do crazy stuff, and take that angle but cheat that water in there. You might like that better. Might suit for the product. And at least you have it. Make ya hungry? Again with the angles. I know, enough with the angles. Well this is, this is your very one with the noodle advertisement. You were on set and they were shooting the model and they had a styrofoam bowel full of noodles. And everyone was like yeah, that's the shot. And Lisa was like it doesn't match your layout of the advertisement. Look what's happenin'. You're not seeing the product. You went up and just tilted the whole thing in the models and that was it. Do half a, half an inch right there. Saves a day. Well and it's in. Or you gotta re-shoot stuff and strip it in later. And again, I say coverage. It's, some of this conversation has been to make a decision like, take a bunch of it so you can figure it out which one you want and then use it. On stuff like this it's not gonna move. You don't have to figure it out. Cover it. And I've been on a bunch of sets where, when I was an assistant, where the photographer spent so much time setting up the shot and getting the client to sign off it that literally a bowl of, some kinda food product, they shot 75 frames of the exact same thing. And maybe they moved a leaf? They never moved the camera angle. 'Cause it got locked, they go so like ah that's it. And then, you know, a week later you look at it and you're like, ah, I shoulda just come down one inch. One inch. So why not cover it. You've got the time. It's not moving. It's just sitting there. Ain't no thing. Kind of, yeah? Yeah. Alright. Here we go. Magic man. Yes. Also in products, when they get us to retouch and clean things up, clean it up like for real. In the physical world, get out a cleaner and a cleaning cloth and get to cleaning. Clean the product, clean the thing the product's sitting on, and clean behind the product. Just like your seamless. Everything can be polished up. The guy goes, here's your teapot. And then the guy goes, clink, thank you, boom. And now you got thumbprints. You got thumbprints from that shot, one, to shot 101 and then Lisa and I gotta take that out. And sometimes they can get a little tricky. So these foggy little thumbprints that are in there against all that complicated chrome and reflection, can get pretty dicey. I use a solar curve. And we'll get you this, in the, give 'em files to students. Yeah, in the bonus materials you will have an action for this. So we'll set up a solar curve. So in Photoshop you take a, we'll call it curves, and you just crank it up and down and it'll take your image and over adjust it and it really pulls out, you'll be able to see all your thumbprints. Also, well we were there, that looked pretty clean. And the table it was sitting on looked clean. But then you throw that solar adjustment in there and you can see all the little speckles and dust spots and scars. Now, if that was the shot and it was, you were just gonna print that tea kettle on the gray, the white table, that's fine. But in the advertisement, you're probably gonna add a bunch of multiplying layers, you're gonna color correct it, you're gonna add light leaks, and that's when all those little hidden things are gonna jump out at you. So the solar curve is a good insurance policy to find out what you're actually looking at on set. Gonna give you a little tip, on the estimating jobs. When you're estimating a job and they send you the, a shot to bid off of you put a solar curve on it. Because you'll see that and you just know, you're spotting. Look at the spots on the top upper section. You know your spotting cost just doubled. Now on a lot of the jobs we do, we do a lot of coffee, tea products, that kind of thing, beverages. And the set, it looks beautiful, on your screen, it's white, it looks gorgeous. We run a solar curve on it and we're like, oh, there's an hour of spotting. And, I didn't know that when I first started getting those. They looked good to me on the screen and it wasn't till I was mid way through the job and the solar curve went on and I hadn't estimated for that much spotting. So now I estimate with a solar curve. That's good. That is good. I'm smart, I'm a smart girl sometimes. Well, and then, I mean the teapot goes down and then all the little accutrements. You get a cheeseboard, you get charcuterie, you get fromage, you get the leaves and the little berries and flowers and stuff and all that just starts getting down on your table. Don't do that for free. Know what you're getting into. Yes. I will tell you also that when, my experience has been on the photo shoot everyone's concerned about the product, no one is looking at the table. So it's an easy thing to get missed. Again, it's okay. It's not the end of the world. They should be focusing on the product. You just don't want to be the one to pay the penalty for it by having to do more retouching and not getting paid for it.

Class Description

Create your own retouching business from the ground up. In this class, one of Hollywood¹s hottest retouchers reveals the secrets to designing your own business. Lisa Carney walks through the steps needed to start and run a smooth business while keeping your clients engaged and happy. Whether you’re looking to work with photographers, agencies or even bill for post production - you’re bound to find valuable insight into the world of photo retouching.

This class covers:

  • Defining the type of retoucher you want to be
  • Solutions for the problems you’ll encounter on shoots and in post production
  • Communication techniques for clients
  • Secrets for setting realistic expectations from markups through revisions
  • Pricing your services and handling billing issues
  • Emergency tips for when jobs go off the rails

Get the inside scoop from a true insider. You’ll finish this class knowing how to construct a profitable photo retouching business model AND develop the tools to sustain it.