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Genres of Retouching

Lesson 3 from: The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

Lisa Carney, Simon Peter Raible

Genres of Retouching

Lesson 3 from: The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

Lisa Carney, Simon Peter Raible

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Lesson Info

3. Genres of Retouching

Next Lesson: Comp vs Finish


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Who Should Be a Retoucher?


Genres of Retouching


Comp vs Finish


Lisa's Path to Retouching


Simon's Path to Retouching


Establishing a Look


Who is The Client?


Lesson Info

Genres of Retouching

Great, so now we wanna move into taking about the genres. And why are we talking about this? It's because it's really important to know where you fit in the world of retouching, and there are things like fashion, beauty, food retouching, automotive retouching, product retouching, and then we're gonna go through some more. There is logo, 3D and I know there are 3D programs out there but you'd be amazed how much retouching is done in Photoshop, 3D logos, we do, I mean, good lord, we've done a ton of it, haven't we? 3D, yeah, there's a couple glitches that can happen, and it's easier to have us fix them. Yeah, I will tell you on a side note, a lot of the 3D logo work is very much like automotive work because you're fixing fragmentation and glitches that happen in 3D rendering. There's illustration, lots of work in illustration, and it's all Photoshop or retouching. In our business, you can be hired for either. They'll just say we want a retoucher in our business, and they might mean a...

photo illustrator. They might mean a 3D logo designer. And as you're deciding your career, I think it's true, you'll probably find your niche. It doesn't mean you're limited to it. So for example, Simon for years was the 3D logo dude and the explosion and effects guy, that was it. You wanted that job, you went to him for that. So these are some areas, science, education illustration and pet photography. Now I will tell you, and tell me if you agree with this, that the pet photography isn't any different than beauty work. It's no different, it's the exact same. But for processes of hiring people or being known and getting jobs, being hired, it's good to identify, self-identify a little bit about where you're going. Would you agree? Yeah, and if you have that skillset down, then by all means, advertise for it. But you can look at it like, all right, I got hair down, so I can do these two, fashion and beauty and pets, and I got Beziers and pads and illustration down. So now I can do logos and special effects and spacey things in medical, so, it's good to know what you need to learn and then count yourself as being capable and hireable for that. So let's talk about this for a second because I'm sure there's some folks at home, maybe some of you in the room, who are thinking, well, I can do both of those. And absolutely, I'm not saying that you can't do both of these. If you look at fashion and beauty, this... We're not trying to pigeonhole you into a second, but if you can start identifying what kind of work you do, people will be able to find you. So if someone wants this kind of fashion work, they don't wanna look at your cars. If you show them a bunch of cars, they're not gonna be able to extrapolate that this, I'm gonna give you guys an example. I'm gonna talk a little bit about my background for a second, but I went to a photography school, and I have a degree of photography, I had literally, kid you not, I was called to shoot some potatoes on a seamless. And I'm not kidding, potatoes on a white sweep. I did not have any pictures of a potato on a white seamless in my portfolio, and the client who was interviewing me wasn't sure that I could do the job. I'm not kidding, so while I'd like to think that's not accurate out in the workforce, it is. So if you're leaning towards a section of work, you need to know who you're talking to, and they need to be able to identify you. Now, for fashion and beauty, someone who might, this is gonna sound really, I'm gonna do the vacuum story. It's gonna be weird. I love beauty, I'm kinda known as a beauty retoucher. I like to vacuum. Okay, this may sound a little weird, I like to vacuum. I love cleaning up and seeing the result and standing back and going, ooh, look at that. That's this! Windows too, but don't tell anyone. Anyway, so that's kind of a clue if some of y'all are trying to figure out, I kinda like this Photoshop thing. Where would I fit? If you like to vacuum, I'm gonna suggest, beauty retouching might exactly be down your alley. Yeah, stuff will call to you too. If you don't like horror stuff, if you're not a horror fan, probably not horror. You're not gonna be into horror images. If you like cute and cuddly, pets are probably for you. Yep, that's not bad. How'd that potato job go? I didn't get the potato job. You didn't get the potato job? I didn't get the potato job. All right, so wedding, lifestyle, and portraitures. So this kind of thing is kind of of a flavor. Again, it's, I wanna reiterate, you could do cars if you do this. You could do pet photography if you do this, but it's a way to identify yourself. So what are you saying if you like to do this kind of work? Okay, you're pretty good with fabric. You can clean up wrinkles and whatnot. Skin work, beauty work for sure, lighting, lighting correction? Maybe some special effects, perhaps some. Mood and vibe. You like smiles? You like smiles, yeah, smiles are good. But just again, to just kind of give you an idea what kind of stuff you like to work on and should I talk about the Dana thing? Please! Do you think that would be good to? Speaking of product and advertising, there's a photographer I worked with for years, and you know how the photography market kinda took that huge dip? Whew, some really big dips, and his business tanked. Absolutely 100% tanked. Happened to be a really good retoucher, and I thought, dude, you should be a retoucher. Let's go down this road, and the most fascinating thing happened, and he didn't realize it 'til a few years later. He never went done that road, he was really locked up, and what happened was he loved retouching his own stuff. Loved it, absolutely loved it. Good retoucher, right? Yeah, he is. Hated working on other people's files. Isn't that crazy? So he started working for me. I was farming him out work, and it was like just, what do you call that, bamboo under the fingernails? And he couldn't figure it out, what was it? And he was like oh, because I don't give a darn about these people's photos, I care about mine. So he didn't go down the retouching route. Now he does his own retouching, but he won't hire out for retouching. So that's something to think about. I never did food product retouching until about three or four years ago. It just didn't come my way. I did a lot of entertainment stuff. But once I got into it, and I was like, peace of cake, I can do it, what is there to it? And then there was a bit of a learning curve. It's just like, okay, that makes sense. I'll give you an example is that when you're given a shot, things will look slightly green, shellfish, noodles, anything that's like, right on the line between red and green, if they shift green, they look unappetizing. And that was part of the job, to shift it into warmer tones so it looked like something you would wanna purchase up, you would wanna eat, and that was, I found that intriguing. Then the next thing I really liked was how they set up the photography. Learning how they shoot food was also another skillset to learn. And you hear all these tricks about when they shoot ice cream, they have to have truck loads of ice cream because stuff's gonna melt. You put it under the lights, that one melts, and you get another one, and you just, these behind the scenes kinda thing kept me entertained. Then also, that also everything has to look nice and crispy and crystally and cold to be aesthetically pleasing for an ice cream shot. You just proud up a really good point. So if you are a food retoucher, there's a lot of stuff that your client's not gonna think to tell you. They're gonna presume you know it. And what's interesting about Simon's story, about the food retouching, he's an entertainment ad retoucher for the most part. The food he's doing is for food TV. It's entertainment, but it's a food job. And it's interesting and I would have thought, no disrespect to you, that doing that job, they would hire a food retoucher, but they don't because they live in the box called entertainment, so they called entertainment retouchers. They don't even call a food retoucher, but he needs to know how to do food. Who would have thought that? And you do know how to food because we did do food. Yeah, we did food! Product, that's pretty self-explanatory, I think. There is some reimagining when you're doing product work. It's not all fit and finished. Fit and finished. Fit and finished is when you have a product, and you're cleaning up the seams, taking out prototype mistakes, fit and finished. We do it on cars too, so you're putting anything and making sure all your angles are tight and together. This kind of work is actually incredibly detail oriented. Most people wouldn't know that. When you're doing product, it is minute. Threads, that kind of thing. Well it's the only thing sticking out. When you're sitting there and you're looking at a big picture of a lot of people, you can only pay attention to certain stuff, so if someone has a glass eye in a group shot of 60, you're not gonna see it, but if all there is is one tennis shoe up there, you're gonna just keep zooming in. You're gonna find every thread, every little highlight and every rivet that shouldn't be there, and it just becomes, that's the job. They're just gonna go, we got 10 hours to look at this, and they will find it. And when you like to vacuum, that's kind of a good job too. I'm gonna get in trouble for that. There's gonna be letters, I know it. Vacuuming is great! All right, welcome to the world of Simon Raible. This is Yay! senior compositor, yes, this is definitely his realm. Compositing is putting things together, lighting, environment, room. So can you imagine if you have whatever skillset you have, the person who produces this type of work isn't necessarily the one who's gonna wanna do those tennis shoes. Maybe it is, but maybe not, because different skillset. Okay, so I think it's really good to identify these kind of-- And for this stuff, you gotta look at the overall, and you have a really nice picture of this person, and really nice picture of this person. Standing alone, they're fantastic. Now put them together and you got some different challenges. Different lighting styles, different light directions, different colors, and then there's masking them together, and I do enjoy those challenges. Yeah, different lenses, if they're shot, he'll have to put people together who's shot with a 35 millimeter lens and someone shot with a portrait 85 lens. And the distortion's all different and he knows that, so he knows to look for that. So when he gets a job, I'm sorry. I'm speaking about you like you're not here. But when he gets a job, someone's not gonna say, hey, will you correct that guy and make sure he's shot with the same angle when he was shot, you know, four weeks later in a different studio with everything different. They're not gonna tell him to fix that. They're gonna presume he knows how to fix that. And I like the whole overall effects stuff at the end. So when things are... Explosion guy. Yeah, and color, it's just making it all cohesive. I really like that whole trick, to take stuff that was shot, that's the movie magic stuff that I really get a thrill out of. So it's putting something together that didn't exist. So it's the little magic trick part-- He's also known for big builds. He's the big build dude, that means lots of people. What's that movie, the dead people? Walking Dead. Yeah, that kinda thing, big ensemble TV show. I'm gonna tell you a little story about that. It's a little off-subject, but what the hell. I do do design work now and again because I love it, and I'll talk about that. So I was at an agency, and they were doing season two of that show, and there was no material. It was all top secret, when I say no material, they had a script, but they didn't have any pictures. No imagery, so I had to, I can't believe I'm telling you this story. I had to do a search on the internet to try to get material. So all I got were like dead babies and bombed limbs. I started crying, I literally, it was so horrifying, and I had to like go to the guy who hired me, who, dear friend, and I said, I am so sorry. Don't pay me for the day, I can't do this job. And it was really tough, it was really interesting. I was like, great, I'm not the horror, body parts, disfigured, Saw? They're never gonna call me to do a Saw film ever, and that's good, I know it, great. Vacuum, I'll vacuum. And I don't like horror films, but I got a reputation for doing horror movie posters somehow. I cannot sit down and watch any Jason movies, chainsaw movies, no, but here, make this look good. Sure, lay it on me. Yeah, it's kind of funny. All right, illustration, digital illustration. I would put this definitely more in your ballpark than mine. Yeah, well, we start, it's very precise. And it's a lot of start with nothing oftentimes. So retouching, where your level of expertise is starting with the photograph and vacuuming it and making it look pretty without any dead baby parts, that's you. But this stuff where it's like, okay here's nothing. Start from scratch, and then you gotta lay down base parts. A lot of Bezier pads, I lot of laying airbrushes down in those pads. A lot of gradients, special effect blending modes. I dig it, I just really get into it, and as soon as something magic happens, I'm like, ooh, that's good, let's do that some more. And this happens in illustration. It happens in logos too, so I really got into doing logos. So you just take a piece of type, here's a black letter A on a white background. Make something out of it, and then you start beveling and chroming and drop shadows and sparkles... Yeah, unicorns. I do wanna stress something he just said. I don't want it to go unheard. Starting with something, with nothing. Starting with nothing, and that is really astute that you discovered, I have a photo background. I'm a lousy renderer. I prefer to start with some material. You are definitely, like, invent from thin air. So that's something to think about too and look at is are you that kind of person? And I put some 3D pieces in here because one of the things, we're not really gonna touch upon it too much in this course, but it's about expanding your software knowledge. And anymore, these jobs are intermingled. So if you're gonna be a retoucher and you like this illustration world, then you might wanna consider some 3D software. What basic 3D software could you learn that would really help your process? So for example, Cinema 4D. I'm not a 3D girl at all. I find it really challenging, but Cinema 4D, I can wrap my head around. Maya, oh dear heavens, no, my head'll explode. So these are things to explore if you like this type of process because it'll add to your value as a retoucher. Adobe is also expanding their products, so Adobe Dimensions. I use that on jobs, Adobe Dimension will allow you to wrap logos and text and textures around pre-made 3D objects and change the lighting and then export it, I do it on jobs all the time now for product, product sheets, it's fantastic. Adobe Dimension, and then Fuse. Adobe Fuse will allow you to do character building, but it's for someone like me who couldn't, I can't build my way out of a 3D anything. It's like Poser, and so I now can build characters, dress them, I can make zombie firemen if I want to, and I can put them in positions. So when you do a movie poster for example, you know you got those hundreds of people in the back sometimes? I don't have to cut out from a photo. I can render them 3D in minutes with Fuse. Anyway, so that kinda wraps up the, some genres for retouching, and hopefully you guys'll find that helpful to self-identify, perhaps, or if you're in a hiring position, it is an opportunity for you to know, to look for very specific arenas, and if you're doing food, look at someone who's got food in their book because just because you can mask and composite, it doesn't mean you're gonna understand the nuances of food photography, for example.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

File Naming Convention Sample
Estimate Worksheet Form
Finishing Delivery Example
File Naming Convention Explanation
Worksheet & Billing Checklist
Solar Curves Action

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor
Alien Skin Software Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews

Bill Buckley

I'm a photographer who wants to be as good at Photoshop as possible. In my field few retouchers get hired, so it's all on me. Plus my creative vision cannot be accomplished by photography alone. Not to mention that in the field, as a photographer I can't always be perfect. Photoshop to the rescue. This is possibly THE best class I've purchased on Creative Live, and they've all been good. Great insight, entertaining, well taught Lisa and Simon were awesome. Bought more LC tutorials based on this course.

Kari A. Youkey

This course just opened my world. I started ( back in the Jurassic era) as an illustrator/drafter ( pen and ink), then CAD programmer, then GIS analyst with photoshop just coming onto the scene pregnant and unplugged focusing on parenting and my inner artist. I was gifted an IPad 6 years ago in the mist of my Taxi Mom years. My favorite ‘hobby’ became manipulating images and an addiction to Adobe apps. Now, In my new empty nest status, I have been trying to figure out my next direction in life....and CreativeLive has been a wonderful resource to explore different creative opportunities, feeling somewhere between photography and graphic design, I wanted to ‘paint’ photos with my tool of choice the tablet, not the camera. ...but it wasn’t until this course that I clicked with an Aha! I don’t have to become an photographer? I could get paid to retouch? Other people’s photos?.....and, I have a work history skill set that backs it up! Thank you so much for this course! Loved the instructors and how they shared their experiences and knowledge. You two have just provided a wonderful map and whole new path to explore and inspired a much needed creative spark to get back to work❤️. Thank You!

a Creativelive Student

Lisa knocked it out of the ball park again! Amazing work Lisa and Simon! I just can't find the many words that express how much I gain with each and every course she teaches. Once again, a wealth of information that was given in a down to earth manner. I absolutely love her teaching style! Amazing course Lisa and Simon, awesome job!

Student Work