I recently saw your portfolio and think your work is fantastic. I wanted to know if you have any availability coming up. If so, I have a set of 8 files that I will need a quote for and would like to potentially work with you.
They are going to be published in (entermagazinenamehere). I would like the files in 1 week if possible, as the deadline for submission is is about a week and a half out. I can either provide you a link to download the images, or if you have server space or a dropbox, I can upload them to you. Based on your hourly rate, I’d like to know what the quote would be. Also, I will be providing you with a few items to make it easier for you. These items include:
1) A list of details on what we would like done for each shot aside from skin work. I can provide these notes written, or marked up on a separate copy of the images.
2) A few references based on the color treatment I would like for the overall files.
3) A couple of before/after images of my own work for you to see in regards to the level of detail I like. That way there is no confusion.
Finally, I prefer my files returned to me in 8 bit, AdobeRGB(1998), flattened PSD please.
I look forward to your reply and I hope to continue working with you in the future should this work out well for us.
As you saw by the example, communication is imperative. I would immediately reach through the screen, buy him a drink, and explore the possibilities of getting him knighted, while high fiveing him and his future unborn son. This is a dream response, and my clients that I have today, understand these things.
You think this sounds elaborate, I’m guessing, but believe it or not this was an actual initial e-mail from a client of mine today! (sans the name, and silly details).
In general, most of the professionals I work with deliver on getting me the right information, and it really makes things much easier, not to mention a much lower rate! We spend half as much time working with someone who knows what they are talking about and knows what they want.
I would say that this is an epitome of a perfect first inquiry. However, even asking for a rate and showcasing the files you need as well as specific details on the job will be more than good enough.
And once the first job is done, we get a sense of what the photographer wants. And often, even details aren’t needed as we understand the photographer’s demands unless it’s something very specific. So it becomes fast, efficient, and very cheap for something high in quality. That trickle down effect through the rest of the client relationship because of one initial e-mail is powerful.
These days, the amount of competent professional retouchers vs the amount of working photographers who are looking for retouchers are not balanced. There are not enough of us. What that means is that we are usually in high demand. If there is a retoucher you want to work with, chances are there at least 100 other photographers who are feeling the same way and act on it. So, the initial approach is very important.
Limitation of Retouching
If you’re respectful to us, we will love you. If I feel like I am about to be undervalued based on lack of appreciation you have for retouching, then that’s a different story.
One thing to keep in mind with retouching, is that even though most retouchers are fantastic, there is a limitation to retouching, for God’s sakes (talk about putting it lightly).
Before contacting a retoucher, I implore you to understand how far you can go with retouching. We’re here primarily to work with you to perfect your images, not rescue them from the mouth of Satan.
Yo, how’s it going? I have these 5 shots I am attaching. Also, the last shot is a Dior shot that we referenced for the shoot. Can you make my shots look like there’s? As you can see, mine came out similar, it just needs a bit of retouching magic to really set it off! Like, mostly color work and some dodge and burn. I have a budget of $10 a file, I don’t think it takes that long so I need them all tomorrow if possible. THX.
Usually, when the entire team is off including the hair, makeup, lighting, clothing, and photography, don’t put it all on the retoucher to fix, there is a limit to retouching, and you have to understand that even we believe that it’s imperative to get it right in the camera as close as you can so we can build off a beautiful image and make it truly fantastic. Digital doesn’t give you an excuse to suck at photography. That is why so many film photographers who have transitioned into digital produce such fantastic imagery even without retouching.
And of course, we do understand fixing issues with makeup, hair, and such, that’s our job. But do not expect us to be there in replacement of an entire team! The cost you try and save up front, will then be paid in post production without a similar result. (Read that article here: Link)
Having great communication goes a long way, and also understanding the limitations of what digital can do. When I work with someone who gets it, I give them a steep discount because it’s a blessing working with great photographers who know what they want, and know what can be expected.
Other Bad Scenarios
I could end this here, but for the sake of humor, I asked a few of my colleagues to send some scenarios in which they felt occurred from time to time that killed their relationship, and here is what they said. I left them as anonymous, as requested.
Scenario: I will be asked a set of questions, in general. I will then write up a response in detail. As a follow up down the line, I get asked the same questions again because there was no time taken to read the entire response showing a lack of concern or attention. So like a BF who doesn’t ever listen to me, I ended it.
Scenario: Getting one line inquiries, like, “Hey, wut your rate??” Clearly, it’s not going to work out. Next.
Scenario: I ask a set of questions for clarification on my end, and in response I get something that doesn’t only ignore the question, but goes on another tangent all together, multiple times over and over again. Take some Adderall, will you, Ms. A.D.D.?
Scenario: Expressing a certain level of expectation of what is possible and what is isn’t (very clearly), only to have them come back later and demand that something has to be done when it was clearly defined that it cannot be done.
Scenario: I clearly tell them what my rate is, only to be asked if the job can be done 50% less than quoted. How about no? Oh, right, and I will let everyone know as well of how cheap you are. Don’t waste my time.
Scenario: I love it when I quote on a job and everything sounds fine. Then after everything is completed (or so I think!) they start throwing things in there that wasn’t agreed upon initially, like color work, and manipulation. Lol! Always be sure and add a clause for modifications in your quote!
Scenario: This is a kicker, sometimes they ask me for the most ridiculous things. “Please remove the wall.” And I want to reply with, and replace it with what? Do you know how Photoshop works? It would be nice to ask for things that actually make sense. Then I realized half my time was spent explaining that it wasn’t possible. And their reply, “You must not be a good retoucher then!”
We really take notice of great communication and appreciation, and although most of this was primarily out of humor, I hope the takeaway is a reflection on mostly what not to do when contacting a retoucher for the first time, and down the line in a client relationship in general. A healthy client relationship is very important.
Sometimes these things occur on accident, so this can serve as what you can do to better your chances on maintaining great ties, and possibly fantastic rates!
If you’re difficult, chances are you’ll be searching for a while. If you’re great at communicating, we love you.
Thanks to Gauri Sharma for sending this in to us, we think she’s awesome for it!
We’ve seen the awesome iPhone shoot (shamless plug), and we’ve seem things like instagram (just plain shameful - kidding!), but what other cool things can you do with your iPhone in regards to taking photos?
The right app - I’m currently using the Slow Shutter Cam app for iPhone. Sure there are other apps, but as of right now, this one’s by far the best. Easy to use. Great design.
A steady phone - Highly recommend the Glif tripod mount. You can also try balancing your phone on something solid, but it might limit your ability to frame the photo, let alone tap the screen without moving it.
Patience - Rocks excel at this. Girlfriends being attacked by gnats do not. Though, as you’ll see, she did a top notch job standing still considering the circumstances.
It may also take a bit of pride-swallowing while your dinky phone sits atop a huge tripod.
The great team at www.preptopost.com have come up with a really ingenious way to make a fantastic lighting globe from very cheap and affordable materials. Not only is it effective, but it is also very easy to make!
After watching the video, check out the fantastic results on their site:
As I work through Photoshop, there are always problems that come up that make me think, “I wish they had this!”
But often I feel like I may be alone. Either way, I’m going to verbally start writing out what I would like to see added on to Photoshop in the coming years in upcoming version.
The first thing that I would to see implemented has to do with precision liquifying. Liquifying is usually done by hand.
So the flaw in that is that you have to have steady hands, and a great eye, in order to get precise lines. For example, if you are shrinking in a model , you still want to be sure by the end of the procedure that her body lines are straight. And believe me, I have seen some terrible body lines and it becomes obvious when a lot of people do it.
Or say if you want to have perfectly lined lip work, you would have to eye it as far as how close you get it.
Now, there are obviously workarounds to it to get perfect lip lines (Want to know it? ;) ), but one ‘easy’ feature I would love to see implemented is an option in the pen tool that would be called “Liquify to line”
So essentially, you draw out the pen tool path, say on top of a crooked lip line, and you and you simply hit ‘liquify to line’ and the high area of contrast that the pen tool line is on gets matched up appropriately. Because for the most part, the area that you are trying to fix would be a line where there is high contrast (lip, eyes, makeup, body lines, clothing, etc).
A simpler alternative, even, would be to simply allow guidelines (which works like a pen tool) to place over the image in the liquify area. Much like the ruler tool and how it doesn’t interfere with the layers, but with the flexibility of the pen tool. So you know you’re lines are precise.
These are of course, random suggestions to get the liquify tool more precise, and we obviously have manual workarounds for absolute precision, but for people who don’t know, this would be great.
The tool needs an upgrade, and so do others, but I’ll write about them as they come up as problems in my workflow.
A question I get most often, which often my reply would want to be, “I don’t know, did you shoot it like him?”
The effect of a certain feel comes not only from post production, but primarily from shooting correctly to reflect the final effect when post production is applied.
Here’s a great behind the scenes look revealing some of the secrets in Paolo’s workflow on set. This is all in thanks to the person who I found this from, who would like to remain anonymous, but didn’t mind me sharing it. So, thank you, you know who you are!
Take a good look at this frame grab from the video. You can see the light source, very apparent, and you can also see the method in which he captures the moment through the reflection of the mirror. But most importantly, take a look at the tethered output from the previous frame, do you see it being indicative of his style, even before the retouching was done? The white balance for mood is pre-set.
Now, taking a look at some of the end results:
You can clearly deduct what was done from the capture to the post production. Once everything is set, the primarily emphasis now comes down to the fundamentals of clean retouching, from focus on the skin to shaping the light and detail.
This is why it’s important to emphasize getting it right IN the camera as much as possible if you want to come close to someone’s effect. Don’t be lazy and try to attempt it all in post, it will fail. You can’t put sprinkles on poop and try to pass it for a cupcake.
The devil is in the details, from the elaborate outfits, makeup, to the elegant flow of the model’s pose. You have to cast and prepare for everything. A particular effect starts before the post production begins, it’s not an afterthought.
This video showcases and takes you on set to one of the most sought after photographers, Roversi himself.
It is also a great point showcasing how getting it right in the camera, is a claim not just expressed by photographers, but also shared by retouchers.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed taking a look through Roversi’s eye and being on set with him, there’s something to take away by everyone, no matter what you do within the industry.
This is an interview I place high importance in, for all retouchers and photographers to see. Be sure you take the time out to sit down and watch this. The first few seconds are not in English, but it will commence thereafter.
She really does share the same sentiments many of us believe in, including myself. If you remember reading my previous article, making it as a professional retoucher, you will see the statements (and more) ring true.
I remember Natalia a few years ago when we met, during the discovery phase of retouching, things were simpler. She had already been in the business for a couple of years when I began. With her words, “Why aren’t u a full time retoucher? Your work is great,” she changed my thinking about making retouching a full time affair, which it now is.
I knew she was going to be big, because not only did she showcase amazing potential early on, but because she was very personable, honest, and very down to Earth. We immediately got along great and became good friends. She always takes the time to help someone that is need of it. No matter how big she gets in the future, she will always stay humble to high praise and warm regards.
I remember when she asked me to do the official pre-release review on her high end retouching dvd (posted on the bottom of the link - which I also recommend you go buy asap!), she was so moved by everything I wrote about her, even though it was purely honest, that it made me so glad to see her get everything she sought after due to her appreciation of everything that was happening to her. Which is why I also sing high praises about her, not because of the work everyone knows of, but for the Natalia I know as a person.
Even now, when people ask her questions, she gives a helping hand with the utmost sincerity. She also stays active in the community helping others. It’s also apparent through her statement on sticking together in this industry, and she practices what she preaches.
Another point I really liked is her mentioning how she says yes, before saying no, in reference to requests clients give. Learning on the fly, with the pressure of deadlines coming up is the best way to learn and adapt.
I have to do the same, and sometimes it puts you in a bind, but being optimistic that you will be able to fix something, and then creating a solution out of nothing at times makes you extremely viable. The other plus side is you come out with new techniques through experimentation. It also gives you that competitive edge. Learning through pressure is key.
And not to mention, she pronounces ‘compo-sites’ in a very cute way – haha, sorry Natalia, I had to throw that in there. We love you.
So be sure to check out the interview, her words are invaluable!
Interview: Bermuda's Fashion Industry - Small Island, Big Talent
Just recently, I had the opportunity to visit and teach a retouching course on the beautiful islands that make up Bermuda, all thanks to photographer, Jevaughn Simons for making it happen. Take a look out the amazing experience here: (link)
What really struck me about Bermudians, is that not only are they incredibly hospitable, but they share an insatiable urge for knowledge and a showcased a level of talent that I did not expect. I was amazed at how many talented photographers there were on the island. Not only talented in photography, but also in retouching. When our course was over, I was amazed at how gifted out entire group was.
Jevaughn, surprisingly was the best student I ever had. He grasped and executed everything with complete precision. Color me impressed, he had the potential to hang with some of the World’s best. So this fascinated me to no end, considering I have been to many cities and have mentored many talented people. You really can’t always judge someone’s talent, from their perceived body of work, without seeing their work first hand, especially in retouching. And after seeing him work right in front of me, I knew I was looking at talent.
But with the small size of the island (only 21 square miles), I was curious on how they were differentiating themselves with such a limited clientele on the photography end.
On the end of our second day of teaching, I stood outside with a few of my newly found friends and colleagues, and began talking about progressing not only on the island but putting Bermuda on the map globally. I was inspired to interview Jevaughn and Ivan to give everyone an overview about the industry on the island and their plans for growing their name outside of it. They both had great plans.
Thus, commenced my interview with Jevaughn and Ivan.
What is primary source of revenue with photography?
- (Ivan) It would be with the local businesses to do commercial ad work, annual reports, and a few local magazines, then there is the weddings which have been for the most part done by more well known photographers marketing for just that genre. Due to the size of Bermuda and the fact that word of mouth is gold here, many people tend to stick with the photographer with the best reputation. Thus, getting that reputation is the biggest challenge for up and coming pro photographers. For me my
revenue is limited to portraits for identification programs. I do also do model portfolios but that rarely pays here in Bermuda. There are too many up and coming photographers that are doing it for free.
- (Jevaughn) For myself my primary source of revenue is commercial ad work a few local magazines and a wedding here and there. With myself being a young photographer like Ivan said you need to build a reputation and I am in the process of doing that right now.
What do you like to shoot primarily?
- (I) I primarily like the fashion and beauty photography, I am drawn to the creative looks and expressions of the models, and the concepts. I like to develop the concept and work through the kinks to see it through to finish. Learning about what to do better and refining the process. I occasionally do landscapes as well but find it harder to make photographs from locations that have not been shot before, and /or shooting those same locations from different perspectives. (We are only 21 miles long)
- (J) When I first started I would shoot any and everything but as time progressed on I refined my craft of shooting to just fashion and beauty photography. I have found that this is my calling even tho I still shoot other genres.
How is the fashion scene in Bermuda?
- (I,J) There is not much of one here, but we do try. Lately there has been good efforts to create one, with fashion shows and the few meet ups, and those same models posing for individual fashion shoots. But it is relatively small and the quality of both models, stylist and thus photographers in that area can do a lot to improve it. (myself included).
When did you both start photography?
- (I) I started photography in 2002, initially doing headshots for identification programs which I was installing within local businesses. In 2004 I decided to really make photography a major focus (as to not have a more experienced photographer take away part of my business that I was making for myself). I then started to host workshops whilst on my journey to becoming better and improving myself, and thought to help along other like-minded photographers. Previously the pro photographers that were/are here went to photography school (with the exception of a few), came back and started their photography business. They were for the most part not very forthcoming with passing on information to other photographers or even mentoring or allowing assistants. So I started hosting workshops. My first was with a friend of mine from Toronto named Glenn Specht, he was really passionate about light and photography. I learned a lot from him, which fueled my photographic
fire. I Have also learned from and hosted workshops here in Bermuda for Don Giannatti and Steven Eastwood. lately (the past two years) I have also focued on retouching. I have met (online) many really really good retouchers, Pratik, C. A. Lanenga, Krunoslav & Natalia Taffarel being the main one for inspiring me. She has been like a mentor to me and I was honored to host
a retouching workshop for her as well.
- (J) I started photography in Nov 2008 my insertion came from a picture that was taken of me wining my sec US National Championship the month before. When looking at that picture I thought to myself hey I can make something else look that good in hopes they would have the same feelings that I had. About a year and a half ago I decide I wanted to really get into Photoshop and learned the post production side of photography “retouching,” and it has been history from there.
Is there plenty of competition in Bermuda?
- (I) Now there is starting to be. Before I took photography seriously there was only 10 in the yellow pages. Although now there are a few more, there is a large jump in photographers that are advanced amateurs or semi pro photographers. Meaning they do photography work at times, but they have a full time job (sometimes two), like myself. I am a graphic designer (http://www.eye-designz.com/web/?id=home ) and have injected my photography into my business model so I do more of it. I would love to do even more.
- (J) I would say that each genre has it own competition but with in each genre there is only a few. With fashion I do not find too much competition do to the fact that the fashion industry here is so small so the majority of us fly to different locations around the world to shoot.
How did you both meet?What brought you two together?
- (I,J) Bermuda is a small place. I have know his sister for years. I only recently met Jevaughn about a year ago. I believe we were shooting the same fashion show.
Tell me about the joint website you guys have?How did it come about and what is it about?
- (I,J) Jeavaughn and I quickly realized that we were on similar paths. And during a conversation the idea of a collaboration came about. It was while talking to Pratik right after his retouching workshop that the idea of the possibility of working together came about. We have the same ambition for both photography and retouching so it seemed only logical to link up and make a really good go at it. I think we both have bigger goals of getting out of Bermuda, without having to step on each other to do it.
Who else is a part of the team?
- (I,J) right now it is work in progress, as we build and map out the direction we are to go there are two other photographers that we work with Kenneth Fox Jr. and Steve Darrell.
What are you looking to change? (the fashion industry? or putting Bermuda on the map?)
- (I) I personally am hoping to change the mindset of local photographers (huge right…) The whole crab in a bucket mentality has really stifled the quality and opportunities for many, allowing only the select few to really prosper.
- (J) “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” this is what comes to mind when I think of how I would like to make a change. What I have noticed is that a lot of people here in Bermuda are stuck in there old ways which is really holding a lot of people back. I try not to get caught in that thought
process. With the drive that I have not to be apart of the norm has allowed me to reach out to many different photographer and retouchers from around the world. The knowledge that they have passed on to me has allowed me to keep away and see the world in a new light. Now with this new found
knowledge that I have I want to pass bring it to Bermuda and help bring up an industry that is hardly known here on the island.
Have there been any other famous Bermudian shooters that left the island?
(I) I do martial arts. I have a 2nd degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and Sanuces Jujitsu. I also hold belts in Arnis
(stick & knife fighting) and Capoeira. I also loved dance but gave that up after my son was born.
(J) Right now I am a motorcycle sales rep. I also work on motorcycles on the side for customers. Also on the weekends when I have the free time I go to the track and mentor some of the up and coming riders.
What is your ultimate goal with photography and retouching?
- (I) I would love to be making a good living off of my photography/retouching for international magazines and clients. I would love to hold an endorsement for a camera brand to shoot with very talented teams for large clients. I would love to be traveling to locations to make the shoots really come off well. I would really love to be involved with talented photographers, stylist, directors that really inspire me to create or be involved in the creation.
- (J) My final goal is to have high end clients from all over the world asking for assistance/work to be done for them by a team that has come from and island that is only 21sq miles. I have started this process as well as Ivan in meeting new people host workshops and trying to start something from nothing. Having the same drive I had in racing as I do now for photography and retouching has led me to meet some great people. Pratik has already opened up so many doors for me that I thank him each time I get the chance because he has help me a great deal in getting closer to my goal. So this I know will not be the last time I say it but Thank you.
- (I) I want to thank you Pratik for this opportunity, and can say that after meeting and talking to you I have been rejuvenated at the possibilities that lie ahead of me and the association/partnership with Jeavaughn.
Thank you to Jevaughn and Ivan for showcasing and giving us some insight on the island!
Post Processing: Advanced Composites With Puppet Warp
Tim Tadder (http://www.timtadder.com/) is an accomplished photographer, who focuses primarily on highly creative conceptual work, with such brands as Gatorade, Timex, Columbia, Playstation, Crafstman, Yamaha, Sony, and many more.
With an exclusive look with Adobe TV, he shares a couple of secrets on how he uses the puppet warp for his benefit when doing composite work.
Have content you would like to share? Send in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer is coming to an end, but the memories don’t have to. This visual short by Sebastien Montaz-Rosset explores those fantastic feeling captured from his own viewpoint.
What captivated me about this piece was the sheer emotion, being put in the forefront. I couldn’t stop watching, taking in every moment, wanting to see more. And when it was all over, those feelings lingered, even though summer itself does not.
editing: FCP7 lenses: Canon 45 TSE 2.8, 50 1.2, 14 2.8. cameras: canon 7D & 5Dm2 color grading Magic bullet looks Music by young talented composer Michael Denny. michaeldennymusic.com Editor, DP, grading: Sebastien Montaz-Rosset. More on my blog: sebmontaz.com
Beauty photographer, and accomplished model, Amy Dunn (www.amydunn.com), has finally posted an article regarding a How-To for macro beauty photography. It goes in depth, not only about execution, but also about expectancy of makeup, and much more. This comprehensive article is a fantastic read. Amy is an idol of mine when it comes to macro beauty, so be sure to check out her article!
New work with Eikona Photography, with model Alina Krevchenko.
What I really love about working with Eikona is that he is a master of lighting. With his vast experience, he brings something new to the table. It really allows me to focus on retouching clean without leaving a trace behind, as well as shifting light as needed. This shot not only focuses my retouching, but his brilliant photography.
City of Lakes: Reality Meets Fantasy (Hybrid Movie/Reality Video)
What I love about this, is that this was actually shot around a REAL wedding! Imagine having your wedding not only captured, but a staple of a whole movie. Now that is genius.
In the fall of 2009, Melissa & Samir embarked on an incredible journey to Udaipur, India, to fulfill a lifelong dream of having their wedding in the country of their ancestry. This transcendent place, affectionately called the “CITY OF LAKES,” located in the breathtaking region of Rajasthan, would be the setting for their extravagant, three-day marriage celebration, and the backdrop of our unprecedented film production - shot entirely on-location. We believe this to be the first ever live event/scripted concept production ‘hybrid’ film ever produced on this scale. It was shot entirely on DSLRs, the Canon 5D Mark2 and 7D.
Here is the full feature presentation released for those of you who are interested:
Pacific Pictures presents “CITY OF LAKES” Starring Melissa Kumar, Samir Shah, Anubhab Saha, Sharon Chawda & Rushad Rana Written & Directed by Kevin Shahinian Produced by Kevin Shahinian & Patrick Moreau Line Producer Pravin Thakur Director of Photography Patrick Moreau 2nd Unit Director Joe Simon 2nd Unit Steadicam Casey Warren Film Editor Kevin Shahinian Jib Operator Chris Geiger Set Photographer Amish Solanki
This fantastic submission comes from Zubair Parkar, thanks for sending this in!
Have you heard of the Under Water Realm project? If not, take a look.
“The team here at Realm Pictures have always been about pushing the envelope – and this project is testing that attitude to breaking point.
We aim to make a highly produced short film set entirely underwater that will force the world to sit up and take notice. We are attempting something that has never been done before – and we are attempting it with a very small budget. The film will use a variety of techniques from underwater photography to wire-rigs, digital clothing and set extensions. This blog will follow us on our journey as we struggle with the challenge of pre-production. It will be on set with us every day during production, and it will keep you up to date with all the hard work and rewards of post-production.
I hope you enjoy following us on our journey, your support is the reason we do all this and more importantly, the reason we CAN do this. And we CAN do it.”
Not only are they going to be producing such a fantastic product in the end, it’s all being documented in each stage as it goes along. What’s fantastic about this is they discuss and showcase all the technical detail sand equipment that go into it, so there is a lot to learn for the technically inclined and willing!
You can follow their progress here with weekly video blog updates:
The Collective - By the Community, for the Community.
Blogging is a great outlet that allows me to share what I know about the retouching industry along with findings that span throughout our entire industry as a whole. But in the big picture, it’s beneficial to many in limited amounts, as retouching is relatively niche in our huge fashion/beauty/celebrity/video/etc… universe. And also because it’s limited to what I know and find. I have noticed people have started to take a great interest in the articles I have written and the content being found.
With the recent growth in viewer and audience feedback, I decided to expand our blog to include not just my own knowledge and findings, but to enlist help from my own network of talented colleagues in this collective industry of ours. This will allow us to provide content that will benefit everyone in the industry.
As of now, Solstice Blog will have be a network of talent, writing articles and sharing their knowledge collectively to benefit the entire industry as a whole. I want to bring the idea of sharing to a new platform.
It will be a strong collective, sharing, and feeding off questions people want to know more about, and supplying them from the personal experience of everyone involved.
The content will be showcased and supplied by the industry leaders in photography, modeling, directing, editing, videography, makeup, stylists, and other artists recognized for their distinguished talents, dedication, and accomplishments.
I have also asked the help of talented up and coming artists who are going through their trials and tribulations of the industry to make for interesting writing in every field.
But we’re always looking for more people to write. If you feel that you would like to provide some content, send me an e-mail (email@example.com) and introduce yourself, we’d love to have you! I want this to be a joint effort in providing new and interesting content that may not be found anywhere else.
With all the talent we have enlisted, what we really want to know is:
What Would YOU Like To Know?
It can span into anything, as specific or as general as you want. Here’s your chance to get information regarding anything you want to know more about, on a personal level! So submit your questions, as many topics as you like, either to my e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the comment section below. It can be directed to any facet of our fashion/beauty industry and much more, in any area from photography to modeling, everything is fair game. We will have talent answer your questions from their respective fields.
We can’t wait to provide some interesting and new material that everyone can benefit from. How successful this is, will be based on your input and feedback.
Two recent films I found that really puts a new perspective to the way we see both memories, and real life.
Be sure to watch these in FULL screen, they are quite magnificent.
This first video, MOTALKO, really plays on memories. 3d movement on a 2d plane makes for an interesting feel for this feature.
Cute Creta, is a video which gives a perspective from a tilt-shift lens. This is how God looks at us if he does look down at us. The best parts are on the beach, where you can see the tadpole like humans wading in the pool like they have no worry in the world.
Good friend of mine, Krunoslav Stifter, is taking healm of the third series in the High End Retouching series. This will focus, in great detail, on the elegant dodge and burn process which has eluded many for so long. I will be providing an official pre-release review before it launches, so stay tuned. This is merely a heads up to sign up for updates.
Go to their site and check out the DVD Trailer on the top left of the 4 presented to see how much he has packed into this DVD.
"People don’t to want to die, but everyone wants to go to Heaven."
A quote uttered in college Algebra years ago by my professor. It was hot inside the class and no one was really paying attention. We all, of course just laughed it off as random garble. I could still remember looking around the room seeing everyone laugh, assuming he was joking like he always does. He was trying to invigorate us to study for our final. He was insisting that we had to pay our dues before we reached where we wanted. That moment I realized he wasn’t joking anymore.
For some reason, what he said that day in class stuck in my mind. In fact, I could argue that, that was the most memorable line that I remember any of my professors say. The fact that it was probably dismissed and forgotten by everyone else, makes me wonder who else may have remembered that.
When I first began in my career, I would learn first hand what it took to make it. I knew it was sacrifice and dedication, but after a while, those cliche statements tend to become watered down in their true potency of how much effort they require.
The main question people still ask me is how I became a retoucher, and what does it entail? People don’t realize that it’s more than sheer skill.
Although I have not made it to my ultimate goal, I can say that I have gone through enough to realize what it takes to become a successful retoucher. I wanted to briefly share with you regarding some traits I feel are absolutely necessary. This is not only to educate, but also shed a light on what you need to posses to make it.
Keep in mind, all of this is based on personal reflections and opinions. All everything is, is opinion, really. Everyone has a different viewpoint of the truth and what is accurate. Take it for what you will.
Business and Marketing Personality Photography Anatomy Drawing Manipulation Talent Education
Business and Marketing
This is the most important aspect about being a retoucher, it trumps skillset and everything that follows. In the beginning, there is only you. You without help, just an idea of where you want to go in your mind. You won’t have an agent or business partner, at least for the most of us. Being able to understand that you will play many roles, primarily that of a salesman and a marketer. You will have go out there and make sales and market yourself.
The one major advantage I have found from people who do not make it to the ones that do, is that the ones that make it are agressive with their business and know how to market themselves. This is why these two go hand in hand. If you cannot maintain a presence, and book jobs, you will be cut out by people who do. Now, with the internet, remember that anyone can pick up retouching - it costs nothing. You have to not only get jobs, but market yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the rest of the crowd. Having a business plan, and executing it step by step is the vitality in your business.
As Joel Grimes said, if you cannot pick up the phone, and make cold calls, you just won’t make it. Now, in this day, cold calls are probably equivalent to cold e-mails.
I consider this a subset of marketing. In this day, it’s absolutely vital to establish an online presence. The most succesful up and coming people are engaged in networking to a degree that made me realize how serious it was. Blogging and social networking has given people a way to be found. You can’t expect people to know you exist unless you let them know you’re here! Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, Tumblr, Google+, and these other sites are here so we can take full advantage of them. Having and making connections is the key. It’s often who you know that can really get you to new heights.
Think of everyone you admire, look up to, or is succesful. They are all characters. They have something about them that really makes them stand out. My friend, Natalia Taffarel for example, has a unique and distinct personality about her. If you know her and see what she posts or writes about, you can clearly make out how she differs from the rest. She is not just a person, she has become a brand. And part of a brand, is personality. Yes, even though you’re behind a screen, part of your personality seeps into the the online realm as they get to know you.
The other aspect of personality, is in regards to how well you get along with your clients and maintain relationships. When you work with your clients, it helps to have a great personality when working with them, one that reflects commitment, enthusiasm, and professionalism. No one wants to work with someone who is always negative and possesses terrible traits. You have to be approachable and personable.
When you’re working with photographers, it helps to know photography and lighting. Why? Let’s say you receive a set of files for a shoot, and you want to reshape lighting slightly in post. It helps to understand how it would look in real life before you guess at it. Another exmaple, you’re retouching a set for a submission and your client tells you that the file is not as sharp as you intended. You can look at the exif and see that one of the reasons is that they were not on the sweet spot of the lens they were using, or perhaps that their SS was too low. These are very negligable examples, of course, and it can go on forever. A lot of the times, when you can communicate in lingo and understand exactly what the photographer is saying, and actually tell him how to save money in post production just based on lighting suggestions or what to do on set physically, it really puts an added advantage to you. Also, many retoucher (I know I do) help on set, I can now double as an assistant and setup and tear down as needed. I can also help on set showing the photographer a few things on how to cut down time in post. You instantely become more valuable. There are countless examples, really. You should be able to think of many more.
It really helps to understand how a body should look based on the way it bends, because you will know exactly what is going too far.
Drawing and Art
The principles of art and drawing become a staple of talented retouchers. Their awareness of how light should be shaped, and how to execute the retouching process becomes vital. Studying art, allows you to get a grasp of studying the execution of retouching. In art, you’re forced to draw shadow and light around complex forms, and learn color values and how color and light differ and relate to each other. You study more than that, of course, but this is primarily a mere example. Many of us have a background in fine art or some form of education on the basic principles of drawing and form. Shifting color and light is essentially what retouching is.
Now, more than ever, retouchers are not only expected to perfect skin and hair, but also manipulate images to an entirely new level which requires an advanced range of Photoshop skills. If you do not posess at least a basic understanding of Photoshop manipulation, you will lose jobs especially when they request for you to do basic things like adjust clothing or remove items all the way to compositing faces and new expressions from other files. It can get pretty intense, and more involved than described.
The word in itself is so abstract, defining the ability of aptitute or skill.
Of course, learning everything means nothing, without the ability to execute your knowledge in the real world. Everything I have described till now has been just characteristics of knowledge, primarily. in the end you have to have talent. I consider talent to be the level of detail in which you execute the knowledge given (by studying or by nature) to the task at hand. You must have some talent to make it. Even if it is a little. I say this, because I have seen people who are talent-less with a great business and marketing sense make it. On tht other side, I have seem people with all the talent in the world and no business sense make it. But usually those that make it are people with more business skills coupled with at least a little bit of talent.
Education and Innovation
Aside from knowing how to retouch, you need to constantly set aside time to educate what new tools and techniques are available on the market to help you stay ahead of the compeition. You also need to be innovative and use these tools to come up with your own unique solutions that no one else knows. Setting yourself ahead of the competition in one way or another is key.
There is also a lot more included that are subsets of these items, such as accounting, time management, organization, cost of equipment, customer service, and so forth. You are essentially an entire office in one. There is a lot that meets the eye, spend time in doing more than honing your skills, but honing your business.
And finally, keep in mind that this is all based on personal opinion and what I felt was important. You may agree, disagree, or feel there is even more, and that is completely fine. As long as you’re prepared, that is the most important part of all.
Wacom is on a roll, with another new product! The Wacom Cintiq24HD is the flagship model. It supports a 92% AdobeRGB color gamut and features a fantastic resolution. You can find rest of the details here:
A lawsuit against the nation’s second largest operator of for-profit colleges has cast a spotlight on the company’s recruitment practices and ethics, including those of a chain called The Art Institutes, which offers degree programs in photography and more than 55 other creative fields at more than 45 locations around the country.
Earlier this month, the US Department of Justice sued Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corporation, which is 41 percent owned by investment bank Goldman Sachs. The government has charged the company with fraudulently collecting $11 billion dollars in state and federal student financial aid between July of 2003 to June of 2011. EDMC allegedly collected $2.2 billion of that money in 2010 alone. That amounted to almost 90 percent of the company’s 2010 revenues.
The government says EDMC violated federal rules against paying recruiters based on the number of students enrolled. Those rules are designed to prevent colleges from recruiting unqualified students just to collect student aid money.
EDMC operates more than 100 schools under the names Art Institute, Brown Mackie College, South University, and Argosy University. According to former recruiters and photography students contacted by PDN, many Art Institute graduates leave with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and insufficient professional qualifications or job prospects to pay the money back.
What is quite interesting about this article, is that I do know quite a lot of people who go to the Art Institute and have dropped out with sufficient debt and a lack of real work qualifications. However, on the same token, just because I have not met people on the other end of things, does not mean they don’t exist.
It also begs, how much are they really getting out of it? As they say, you only get out of it, what you put in.
11.01.11 Update: The results have now been posted here: Link
It has been just a little over a year since I started teaching retouching. After I teamed up with Lee Morris and Patrick Hall at www.fstoppers.com for their iPhone shoot as their retoucher for the project, I received tons of e-mails asking for advice, work, and also inquires on whether or not I taught retouching. The video has now been seen by millions, and appeared on most tech sites across the world.
That got me thinking, I always enjoyed helping others, and it would be great to start teaching what I knew, especially as people wanted to learn. I never had the opportunity to learn from anyone when I first started, so I felt I wanted to offer what was missing when I began. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is a quote I strive to follow. This is something I want to see, therefore I am doing this. So please help me spread the word so the person who really deserves this, gets it!
The original iPhone video that started it all.
After creating a course, I taught my first session and it went so fantastic, that I decided to continue to offer that service. Now looking back on this year and meeting the most amazing people and seeing the most beautiful locations in the world, I want to give back.
So What Am I Doing?
I will be giving away a free 2 day retouching session at NO COST to you! I fly to you, I teach you everything I have learned about retouching, on your own setup at your own leisure, all covered in 2 full days.
This is a $1,700 value.
Read about all the details of what I am giving away under benefits:
Also, be sure to read the testimonials section on what you can expect.
Why Am I Doing This?
Over the past year, I have found that there have been so many people who have really wanted what I offered, but couldn’t afford it at the time.
I want to teach someone who really deserves this. Someone who really needs this and someone I feel has the most potential to grow from what I have to show. Nothing gives me a better feeling than seeing someone take what I teach them, and really evolve their careers. It happens time and time again, which is why I will continue to teach and why I chose to do this. I was given a chance in the beginning with fstoppers, and it’s my turn to give back to someone else. Be the change you want to see in the world, remember?
Eligibility and How To Enter
It’s simple, write in the comment section below or to my e-mail at email@example.com and tell me WHY you deserve this, make it compelling and detailed! Convey to me what you want to express.
Also, there has to be a minimum of 75 entries, so I am sure to pick among a wide audience. So help spread the word to better your own chances. Also, the earlier you enter, the better your own chances as it shows me how much you want this!
There is only only entry allowed per person, so make it count. There is no word limit on your submission, as long as you give me a solid fully detailed reason, a couple of paragraphs should suffice, but don’t hold back - tell me your story.
Who Can Enter
You don’t have to be a photographer! As long as you have the passion to learn retouching. I have taught makeup artists, stylists, other retouchers, models and people who have never even used Photoshop! I have a course for everyone!
Contestants must be in the United States (anywhere in these great 50 states!)
The deadline for submitting your reason is November 1st, 2011! The earlier you enter, the better your chances are as it really showcases your eagerness and how much you want this. Also, keep in mind that we must reach 75 entries for this to happen, so spread the word to better your own chances!
The winner will be determined by a panel of judges, and the winner will be announced publicly after the deadline.
Get to it! If you have questions, just e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Put down whatever it is that you are doing, hit play, in full screen and HD, and watch intently for the next few minutes. You’re about to immersed in roughly 3 minutes of the best thing you’ll see this week.
Love at first sight, what does it really mean? Nuit Blanche explores the emotion that comes at a moment’s notice. It’s made in a way which uses the old world as a canvas, reminiscent in the true days of romanticism, combined with new age CGI.
"Nuit Blanche explores a fleeting moment between two strangers, revealing their brief connection in a hyper real fantasy."
Well, it looks like Adobe launches a new product, Carousel.
No, not that kind of Carousel (sorry you can’t relive your secret dreams of sitting on a bobbing pony. I won’t tell anyone, promise).
Adobe decided to launch a program (yes, this time the real Carousel) which allows you to access your images everywhere. If you’re one of those people who has images sprinkled through all your devices, then this may bring some sort of uniformity to everything.
The Adobe® Carousel app is the only photography solution that gives you access to your entire photo library from all your iPads, iPhones, and Macs — no storage issues, no manual syncing hassles. Enjoy your photos anywhere you are, and make them look terrific using the same powerful photo-processing technology as Adobe Photoshop® Lightroom® software.
So if you’re like that sad little creature (is that supposed to be a bear?), and you need a solution to obtain your files regardless of your location, then this is probably a tool that would be beneficial in some way.
Oh that’s right, except if you don’t own any Apple products! Thanks Adobe!
But seriously (yeah, who uses Android and Windows, right?), I can see the value in this.
How many times have you heard, “You have got to see that shot, too bad it’s at home.” This comes up anywhere, at a shoot, social function, with friends, or even at meetings where you’re talking about a storyboard and you have sample reference images you’d like to share.
So, it’s a pretty nice way, or an attempt, at Adobe trying to get everything streamlined for you without having to try and sync every device together. Which could make it really simplified, as you will stop syncing your devices together and rely on Carousel entirely.
Video: Travel Through Art - By Christopher Konecki
This wonderful art piece/stop motion like video comes suggested through amazing friend, and photographer, Paul Burlingame.
It shows a story of a painting, and it’s connecting factor in his travels to Paris. Starting out with him painting in San Diego, and ending with the painting in the destination depicted, in Paris, near Montemartre, where his GF lives.
How wonderful is it that art can be a connecting link in a story.
I can’t begin to express the epicosity (common Websters, let’s get that in the dictionary) of what I am about to show you.
Meet Eric Schwabel, wait, in fact don’t meet him just yet. Do you know what Burning Man is?
First of all, before you proceed any further, please familiarize yourself to the event that is, Burning Man.
Skip through it, just let it sink in.
The grounds this year.
But what is it?
Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert (also known as “the playa”) to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever.
Even considering going to Burning Man for the first time can be daunting. And while it’s true that Burning Man is not for the faint of heart, with some research, preparation, and planning, an experience — and opportunity — beyond your wildest dreams awaits you. In Black Rock City, you’re guaranteed not to be the weirdest kid in the classroom. And you’ll become a part of the growing community of Burners who are active year-round, around the world … ensuring that the fire of Burning Man culture never goes out.
Basically, it’s an event that is a physical adaptation of your strangest dream. It’s all things art, and everything that is unreal. It can’t be explained in words other than seeing it. It is also an area without monetary transactions, only in the form of gift giving (this alone, is mind boggling).
He created a one man portable studio to take through the desert.
"When acclaimed studio photographer Eric Schwabel goes to Burning Man he doesn’t leave his passion behind. In 2010 he took a clever hand built “light suit” to the massive festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert and captured the plethora of beautiful, colorful revelers in engaging detail. Below we catch up with Schwabel for an exclusive interview about his experiences on the dusty playa."- Source: Visual News
Check out his work and journey in the video, it tells his whole story.
Something amazing has just happened. We reached our 100th follower!
When I first started posting on my blog, it was primarily to share my own work. But soon enough, I began to realize that there is a wealth of information, imagery, and fantastic material within our industry, and those industries that are in tangent to ours in the entire art universe, that I had to share it with everyone. Not only that, but also by creating my own unique content inspired by the questions I receive from everyone.
Solstice Blog is in it’s infancy, but starting to evolve rapidly. Just within the past 2 weeks, it jumped from a 17 followers to 100! This is not including the amount that have subscribed by an RSS feed. I have received fantastic feedback, and participating from everyone.
I hear what you guys are saying, and I will be sure to make this an amazing site to follow for everything relating to not just retouching, but photoshop as a whole, and extend outward into photography, the fashion industry, art, and all things relating to it.
I look forward to hearing from you, and if you have any comments at all on what you would like to see going forward, please write to me! I do take notice. I am very reachable:
The guys over at SLR Lounge put together a portrait retouching tutorial series.
Here is the first part, just released recently. What I enjoy about Pye, is he teaches very clearly and slowly, so it’s quite easy to follow along with what he does and how he does it. It’s great to see the different ways people retouch.
Check out their first part below:
You can also follow along by downloading the stock file through their website under exercise download link:
Did you see Photoshop’s photobomb feature? Instantely ruin any photo in minutes. A surefire way to add that special touch to any of your clients wedding pictures. You know, for the bridezillas, of course!
Most people don’t know I do any photography at all, after progressing my career in retouching, I almost stopped shooting for the most part. However, a couple of weeks ago my good friend Minson got in touch with me. We had worked on a commercial shoot for a big chain hotel a couple of years back. With that going well, I decided to go forward and do this.
Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with crawfish, they’re in the lobster family, almost like baby lobster. They’re pretty popular down south.
The great thing about Minson, is that after getting to know him in college, I knew what kind of drive he had with business. Everything he sets his mind to, he does well and is very competitive, including his business. So I was more than happy to work with him this time.
The restaurant is like a typical wing place in terms of atmosphere, casual BYOB with great food and no nonsense. And all their recipe’s are home made.
Not only do they sell crawfish, but they’ve also expanded their menu to more than that. They also serve fresh seafood, wings, soups, and Phở. So with his expanded menu, we decided to get some shots for a big collage for the entrance as well as his menu and website.
Here are some of the shots below, we kept it very simple, and in detail, just like he wanted. Keep in mind, there were many more and this is just a small taste of the menu (literally).
Our seafood were all agency represented, and yes we got out release forms from them, due to the nudity involved. They really knew how to pose and give us some spectacular expressions, not to mention their flawless shells! Lol.