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Critique & Advice Please..

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Old 04-30-2009, 07:32 AM
markc78's Avatar
markc78 markc78 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 54
Question Critique & Advice Please..

firstly I appreciate any advice that can be offered ,

basically I've been studying retouching for the past 2 years through a range of courses & resources incl. this great site & have developed some strong skills

I am now really eager to get out there & make a career of it but it's slightly unclear to me how to do this when I've no previous work or refs etc aside from an in process portfolio of images acquired from the net etc such as the samples attached

I'd like to get some feedback on the work attached (1st I went for a standard retouch , 2nd a more subjective finish) here so I can really assess if I am ready for pro work & also to offer my services to any interested photographers etc in exchange for the reference & use of finished work in my personal portfolio, I can provide more samples if required .

I have shown portraits here but am happy to retouch pretty much anything..

Also if anyone can suggest any good resources for finding & contacting photographers etc that would be great.

Thanks , Mark
London , UK
Attached Images
File Type: jpg r3final.jpg (139.6 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg r3before.jpg (171.2 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg r2final.jpg (169.1 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg r2before.jpg (185.2 KB, 48 views)
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:45 AM
lucija lucija is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Croatia
Posts: 53
Re: Critique & Advice Please..

very nice work... maybe, on the first photo desaturate just a little bit the white in the eyes and saturate iris (or darken it... ) the skin is really nice and smooth :-)
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:53 PM
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markc78 markc78 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 54
Re: Critique & Advice Please..

thanks lucija , I suppose I err on the side of caution with eye whitening as it can easily go too far & flatten out the whole eye , also iris pointer noted , cheers
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:10 PM
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mikedimples mikedimples is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Hollywood, California
Posts: 238
Thumbs up Re: Critique & Advice Please..

I'd like to see full size number 1. I can't give a full critique because these are such small size images, but I can give you my initial thoughts.

#1. This is far too heavy for a basic retouch. Usually when you're looking at a model as heavily retouched as this, you're looking at a conceptual beauty ad. If the black levels were slightly darker, the skin wasn't the same saturation throughout, pops of color (eyes, not eye-shadow, unless it's an eyeshadow ad) and there was still some detail left in the cheeks, I could see this being a real beauty add. Your two years of study show, it's beautiful work -- just a bit too beautiful for basic retouch.

Work on smoothing skin without losing detail. It's obvious that's she's been retouched in the first picture; nobody has skin that smooth. Read through the forums about non-destructive skin smoothing. There's loads of different ways, and I'm sure you already know quite a few of them. I'd recommend going to and subscribing for one month, watching all of their retouching videos. What software do you use?

My attached version has the suggested corrections, which is moving the image towards conceptual beauty.

Usually basic retouch consists of blemish removal, spot lightenihg, color correction, curves, and teeth and eye desaturation (brightening in severe cases). That's being generous.

Picture #2

What did you mean when you said this one was subjective? The image is focusing on showing the subjects qualities? I'm going to be honest, this one doesn't really look retouched. If you wanted grungy, like she's a sexy model on the street, just the stray hairs aren't enough. It looks like an oversight, rather than intentional. The bright eyeshadow pulls our eye away from hers. Our eyes are attracted to saturation, so make saturated areas important ones.

Image #3

Close. I know what look you were going for. Why this image isn't working is because her eyes, lips, and nose lost their detail when you pumped up the exposure. Her eyes should be super sharp, the focal point of the image, followed by her mouth and nose.

Picture #4

When you brought up the middle tones in the image to give it that soft, low contrast feel, the stray hairs above her head were accentuated. They should be removed if you are going for a professional look (in this image at least). Looks like you applied some kind of soft blur, even over the mouth, eyes, and nose. Whenever you apply a blur, mask it out and then paint it in selectively.

Keep up the good work! As long as you are open to critique, keep posting stuff, and keep doing more retouches, I can see you becoming an amazing pro -- you're just not quite to that level yet.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg reretouch.jpg (94.8 KB, 12 views)
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Old 05-02-2009, 03:46 AM
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markc78 markc78 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: London
Posts: 54
Re: Critique & Advice Please..

cheers mike , just to clarify pics 2 & 4 from left are the untouched versions ,also pic 1 is a full beauty retouch but at the end I intended to simply keep it true to the originals intended style , but the 3rd pic I took it a few steps further & tried for a higher contrast edgier look etc (attached below is the retouch w/o these extra steps) but I take your point that I lost a bit too much detail around nose etc , Thx again ,Mark
Attached Images
File Type: jpg r1.jpg (190.4 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by markc78; 05-02-2009 at 04:50 AM.
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