Blogging or writing in particular is not difficult but what is difficult is coming up with the idea to share or to express. I am often asked to how or what I do to images once out of the camera. I guess we all want to know how much work or if any at all goes into changing or manipulating the photographs we publish. It used to be that magazine and publication photography reserved this the right to be the only field in use of photo-manipulation. But with the advent of the smartphone and the so many apps I tend to see many way to many photos being retouched and the skin smooth out to almost resemble a crude sense of fake. I to used the infamous surface blur under the filters list in the graceful photoshop. This method although fast and simple leaves the undesired mentioned effect of the fake plastic ceramic skin. Why fake? Well skin has pores, thousands on every square inch and very visible in a face to face view of any human being. So yes pores, That was the first thing I learned when I actually learned anything about photo retouching. DON’T MESS WITH THE PORES!
So I alway employ KISS, keep it simple stupid, and I don’t really over do my photos to much lately. I have a 3 (maybe 4 sometimes) step process to just enhance what the camera captured.
First I take a look at the image and see if it has any white balance issues. Is it to yellow to blue? Then correct appropriately.
Then I do a technique that I learned very recently called “Frequency Layer Separator” It separates the texture from the color so you can edit independently (remember pores? yea they are on a separate layer so no harm to the pores) here I take care of major problems we all get a nasty pimple or flake every now and then so here I remove those. Once finished I flatten and take it into Nick Color Efex pro where I have tons of recipes built for different scenarios. Sometimes the skin needs further clean up and Nick has a great dynamic skin softener that can do wonders and leave alone our beloved pores <3.
Once this is complete the final and last step (prior to sharpening you always want to do a bit of sharpening at the end) is to do some good old dodging and burning I basically make the areas of the photo that are dark a bit darker and what is bright a bit brighter using some curves layers.
I didn’t go into great detail because you can easily google these terms and find tons of tutorials you tube and I don’t want to be redundant. So that is it 3 stages of the photo. :-)
A special thank you to the amazing Migneris Montalvo, whom I've had the pleasure of collaborating and working together, plus she gracefully helped me in school projects when I desperately needed a model to complete assignments. Thank you Migneris you are amazing ^_^
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It is simple but at the same time yes its very time consuming ^_^
The most time consuming step is actually not even the retouching of the photos but the import, sorting and cataloging of images. I have to offload massive Gigabytes of data to my storage hard drive and then carefully and meticulously review every photo to delete the bad ones (yes yes I take bad photos LOL) There will be several closed eyes or bad poses, wrong exposures. Those go to the graveyard immediately. Then sadly but breaking my heart so do any photo that is out of focus :-( I immediately delete those and don’t get attached. It may be an amazing pose but if its blurry its a mediocre photo and I no longer get clients see those otherwise they get emotionally attached.
This step requires hours and is a one time per shoot. So lets say this has been done and I am just going to edit one photo its great and has been selected to fame ^_^. The initial color and exposure tweaks take 5 minutes at most. The skin retouching can range from 30 minutes to an hour, its not indicative of anyone having the worst skin its just again as I mentioned you want to remove the bad stuff but make it look as natural as possible (them pores ^_^ Looove your pores)
Then comes the agonizing part. Once I’ve imported into Nick Color Efex and selected my adjustments the dreaded OK button, once I click that sucker the computer has to yes “compute” the adjustments on the photograph and apply them so it becomes a staring game, I stare at the screen for a little load bar to complete. It can take two minutes or it can take 20 and in waiting time it feels like an eternity. This step is entirely dependent on computer power so if anyone wants to donate a 12 core machine I’d love you forever LOL.
So generally speaking the process of retouching a single photo can range from as little as 30 minutes (rarely) up to 2 hours. Especially if I am doing major retouching like removing objects or other needed manipulations. Mostly I stick with the basics and don’t overkill the photos. :-)
Yo u make it seem so simple but about how long each step takes?
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