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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

High-end digital retoucher in NYC

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  #121  
Old 06-28-2006, 05:04 AM
Craig_H Craig_H is offline
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... and since everyone was talking about Dragan, instead of trying to duplicate what he and many others have done I decided to take the obvious techniques, combine them with my own techniques and workflow and produce my own finish:

http://members.iinet.net.au/~craighilton/author1.jpg
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  #122  
Old 07-08-2006, 08:19 PM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heyrad
On a side note, I must say that I'm beginning to feel like the bastard step child of the photography world.. I constantly see credits going out to stylists, hair, makeup and often times their assistants, but NEVER do you see credits to the retoucher. The retoucher NEVER gets the credit with the image rocks and is the first person to get shot when the image looks like crap(even when the original looked even worse). There are awards given out for exceptional design, for exceptional photography and the likes... However, we find ourselves sittingin dark rooms... making everyone from the model, to the photographer to the product itself look amazing and noone seems to know we exist...It's like we're little elves hiding in trees... Maybe I should start an association to address this issue. It seems to me that a photographer can take a really average picture, give it to me and have look like a totally different picture. YET.. He/She gets usage rights on an image that he/she only contributed 50% to. It's not right and we should really consider this issue.

Just some thinking out loud... Hope this either inspired some or angered a few enough to think.... Or try harder..

Out...

-conrad

Well, Conrad, I Know that you posted this a long time ago, and have since moved west, I presume, but I must respond to this concern of yours, because it is something I have observed in my career for many, many moons. Maybe I can start a debate anew.

I've thought about this a lot, and the ultimate solution is to just become a photographer. Rise up, photoshop slaves, this ain't too hard. Buy a camera, buy some lights, and just shoot. Mahurin does it, doesn't even have his own site, and is in control of his imagery. Loretta Lux may not be a commercial photog., but this is her "job", (unless her trust fund is ripe), and she does it all, I think, and does it well. How is it that we are so consumed by the buffunery of "working" photogs at the mediocre level who think the Porsche and trophy wife is given, (or maybe just a Miata and hot girlfiend), and we are at the controls of a fine image. We make it work. Not getting any respect? Stop whining. Or, if you feel you don't have the proper social skills to shoot and deal with creative directors, get tight with a photographer or two or three who does. Or find an employer who will work with you ( making you almost a salesman ) to do your best.

That's my plan.
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  #123  
Old 07-09-2006, 03:25 AM
stevek stevek is offline
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Benny,

I couldn't agree with you more.

In fact, I just took delivery of my first pro studio lighting kit.

SK
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  #124  
Old 07-09-2006, 06:44 PM
heyrad heyrad is offline
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Well kids.. I wish ya luck. I spent 12yrs gettign to where I am in the retouching industry and it's pretty niave to think that by picking up a camera one can immediately become Patrick Demarchelier and change the world. But what do I know.. knock yourselves out. It was just a thought.... a rant. I wasn't expecting anyone to solve my problems for me..

good luck
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  #125  
Old 07-09-2006, 07:24 PM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Hey, don't go away. Think of what's happening here with two maturing technologies - Photoshop on affordable small computers, and the internet. Kinda nullifys the last 12 years. Think of the next 12 years. We have people popping in here saying "Hi, I'm Zagbar from Iran, or India. I can do that for cheap and good!" Don't laugh at that stuff. That, like it or not, is the future. Even for the high end. Coffee table books and calenders and annual reports and catlogs are being produced 100% in India and China. And they look real good.
Mr. Denarchelier is pretty much old school, and has to adapt like everyone else, if his restaraunt business doesn't get in the way. Or maybe not, if the money keeps flowing into his bucket. But that isn't here or there for us little people. Too much time at stupid parties, too little time doing photography. Can't think about it. Just do it. Life is too short to be a chump.
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  #126  
Old 07-10-2006, 09:19 AM
stevek stevek is offline
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Y'know Heyrad, you’re quite right: I'm not suggesting for one minute that as soon as I pick up the camera I'll be producing staggering images of heartbreaking genius; and neither am I predicting instant commercial success and the critical adulation of a glittering, high-brow, worldwide audience. But that’s not really what I’m looking for.

In my 'real-world' job as an artistic director, I work very closely with photographers, lighting technicians, models, hair & makeup artists, etc. I know exactly what they do, how they work (geez - I'm the one who's creative vision constitutes our joint objective), and I'm the one who needs to know and understand the terminology and paradigm of their world in order to achieve the desired results in time, under budget and with everyone still remaining friends at the end of the day.

Ultimately - even without 'official' training - my knowledge of photography is sufficient to afford me the confidence to at least try it myself, and that's exactly what I intend to do.

In addition, in my other 'not-so-real-world' job as founder & creative director of an online magazine, my inbox is bombarded with submissions from artists all over the world, many of them photographers, many of them working in commercial fashion and beauty. Mostly their work is very good, sometimes exceptional, but sometimes it is truly awful. And when I look at a dodgy photographer’s dodgy portfolio (and then look at the list of his/her clients) it does two things:

1) Freaks me out that such a bad photographer could make such a good living.

2) Strengthens my resolve.

Anyway, I know that by picking up a camera I’m not going to suddenly metamorphose into the next Demarchelier, Lachapelle, Newton or Aldridge, or any of those artists right at the very pinnacle of the industry. BUT… I do know that I can compete with the bulk of the industry AND, perhaps more importantly, achieve that final and total level of control over my images (plus a full credit and usage rights).

Incidentally, it is becoming more common for retouchers (or retouching studios) to get a credit. Often though, it will be listed as “printing” or “post production” (because we all know that ‘retouching’ is a dirty word in the world of fashion publishing). Even more relevant to your previous post, Rankin (famous British bad-boy photographer & publisher) actually created a retouching studio and called it (wait-for-it) “The Shoemakers Elves”.

Anyway, I guess when you get to the level of Pascal Dangin, the credit pales into insignificance next to the obscene amounts of money he gets paid to work his ‘magic’.
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  #127  
Old 07-10-2006, 03:18 PM
heyrad heyrad is offline
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I hear ya Steve... My only problem with the "if you don't like it, do it yourself" concept is that I'm very close friends with come amazing photographers who are having troulbe finding the great jobs. Their books are filled with editorial pages that they lost money on in hopes of getting that much covetted ad job. Hundreds of hours shooting for pennies, making their call cards, building their books and begging reps to manage their careers. Sometimes I think it would be easier to get in Cameron's next film than to be a successful advertising photographer these days. Hell, getting those same ad jobs for retouching can be just as difficult with all the amateurs out there with an iMac and an old version of Photoshop who think that slamming a woman's skin with the Gaussian blur filter is retouching and charging a tenth of what they should charge... My dear friend who shoots for a big hair care company charges a tenth of what he should charge because he, as a photographer, doesn't know the retouching business. He DOES, however, know how to retouch, so he does all the retouching himself and thinks he's making money when he's losing about $8000/image. It's just crazy out there is where I'm going with this... Pascal's got his wonderful little universe in his square, black building over on 14th street and he turns away work because it's "beneath" him... Good for him. I also know that he's in the process of trying to change the industry standards for usage by demanding rights on all of his images. And rightly so, too. In all fairness, the laws of copyright should extend to anyone manipulating an image beyond that images regular scope. But this board is not for that topic. That topic was brought up months ago on a silly rant and it managed to get about 150 threads here... Quite funny, actually.

I usually come here to discuss work and I've been fortunate enough to meet a few really great photographers and art directors who have used my services.. So all is well in the world. I moved out to LA recently and I'm enjoying the fact that I can drive my BMW down to the beach in February... That I can see the sky without the obstruction of so many high rises and have someone at the local convenience store greet me with a smile instead of a "tude". 40yrs in NYC is enough for me for a little while I'm sure I'll be back before too long(lol)

Now go, and work and be great at what you do and thank those who work for you and pay them well for their efforts... If that's what everyone did in this industry, the past 100 threads would not have even materialized...

-Conrad
http://conraddigital.com
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  #128  
Old 07-10-2006, 04:12 PM
limaze limaze is offline
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hello conrad, i would like to see your before/after pictures but your website seems to forbid that. why is that? showing the result, but not the startingpoint is only half that interesting

see you
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  #129  
Old 07-10-2006, 04:33 PM
heyrad heyrad is offline
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Yes, it is... but the content on my site consists of very high profile celebs and models shot by very high profile photographers who don't want me displaying their raw images to the world. Cappiche? I only provide those images to my clients as I have milliions of wanna be retouchers pilferring my work and displaying it on a mulititude of websites... very NOT cool! Gotta take my precautions...

Sorry

conrad
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  #130  
Old 07-14-2006, 02:41 PM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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OK, here's a clear cut example of what Conrad is complaining about. Well maybe not too clear, because I'm not aware of how this retouching is done - by the photographer himself, a staff retoucher, or a freelance retoucher hired by him, or a retoucher working with the agency.

This link : http://www.calumetphoto.com/grubman

No where in this promo like interview is retouching or manipulation mentioned, when it's obvious that some cute stuff has been done. And I suspect he din't do it, because, if he did, he would have at least nodded toward the many hours he spends staring at a screen. There's even talk of personal work shot on film, his work/family balance problems, but the word photoshop isn't uttered. And that cute Viper portrait wouldn't exist without it. So this guy is getting all this free publicity off the back of the retouching.
It's like the cinematographer getting all the credit for The Godfather or Raging Bull.
I'm not sure how this can be fixed, but market forces will determine the outcome. This isn't anything new, and, hell, some "serious" artists these days pride themselves in slapping their name on a craftman's work, like Jeff Koons. But they at least came up with the concept. I doubt Mr. Grubman thought up those images all on his own.
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