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

Photo Advice Please

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Old 01-08-2007, 09:03 PM
dontbugme dontbugme is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 10
Re: Photo Advice Please

Unfortunately, the owner of this site doesn't allow you to upload a photo at a decent resolution. Had you been able to, this would be much easier to retouch.

As for most of you throwing in your two cents and giving it a go, I have a few suggestions:
  • Retouching is subjective. Just because someone has a double-chin and acne doesn't mean it should be removed. As a photographer/retoucher you should think about the purpose for each photo and retouch it accordingly.
  • Don't use blur. If you're not lazy and you want it a photo to look good, there are VERY few cases where you should actually use a blur filter (never the blur tool).
  • Just because you learned how you can add a border/gradient/vignetting to a photo doesn't mean that you should. Again, VERY rarely does it work with a photo.
  • Calibrate your monitor. Get a gray card. Get a spyder. Get an iMac or MacBook. Do whatever you need to do to get your monitor to display decent color.
  • Keep some photos with good color handy for reference. Use them as a reference when you adjust color on a shot.
  • Don't brighten/whiten/dodge eyes until they look like they belong in a porcelain doll. It's not very attractive, let alone realistic.

I'm sure I could go on for hours, but I'll keep it short to allow you to let those suggestions sink in.

Assuming that this photo is going to end up in the hands of their children, it shouldn't be retouched like it was going to be on the cover of Glamour magazine. Wrinkles, double-chins, and the background should all be left alone. Color correction, removing the distracting orange thing in the background, slight removal of redness in the eyes, curves adjustment, and removing the pimple from the man's chin is all that should be done to this photo-otherwise you're taking away from the preservation of the memory of these two people.

This is what it should look like, ideally: Link

PS: I've retouched thousands of portraits through various positions in photography studios, as well as my own retouching company.

Last edited by dontbugme; 01-08-2007 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:02 PM
Duffy Pratt Duffy Pratt is offline
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Re: Photo Advice Please

Retouching is subjective
This is what it should look like, ideally
Anyone else think these two statements are a little contradictory?

I agree with almost everything dontbugme says, but I sort of wish that I didn't, because s/he sounds so utterly arrogant. That said, I think the retouch job dontbugme did is quite good, even if it is a bit dark for my taste, and kills too much of the background (again for my taste).

I think dontbugme's version has aspects that are superior to my own correction. But I also think it's debatable whether dbm's version is "ideally" better than the attached, which is 54% my version, and 46% dbm's. What's best is something that reasonable minds can differ on.

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File Type: jpg grjl2.jpg (97.6 KB, 23 views)

Last edited by Duffy Pratt; 01-08-2007 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:46 AM
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sunfly sunfly is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 54
Re: Photo Advice Please

Wow! Hearty congrats to your grand parents... :-) I love grandparents.... they are diamonds.

Elements: Duped, level adjust, colour curve adjust, cloning and healing, tooth whitening and brights removed, grampa's eyes brightened, background blurred and blended in, final colour adjusting and overlay, flattened and cropped.


Last edited by sunfly; 05-08-2007 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:23 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Photo Advice Please

ah, the differences. i agree with dontbugme on most points also. and i would call his retouch a stage 1 or stage 2 retouch. very clean, very well done. however, some clients dont want to remember people as they are/were; they want the fantasy. they dont want to remember the wrinkles and age and hollow eyes. they want the ideal. and as mike pointed out, things like "the hand that is growing out of the side of his face." can also be handled. and so, i would temper dontbugme's advices with "unless the client asks for it".
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:15 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Photo Advice Please

I'm not sure if there is a correct answer. As I said before, it all depends on what the client or you personally want. One nice thing about this site is that one can learn many techniques and then try what one desires to the photo. With regards to dontbugme I like what was done with the color but I still feel the photo is "flat"...but that it just my opinion and what my eyes see.
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Old 01-16-2007, 07:45 PM
dontbugme dontbugme is offline
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Re: Photo Advice Please is a bit contradictory when you separate it out like that Duffy, but I'm sure you got what I meant when it was in-context (subjectivity applies to the purpose).

Yeah everybody will have a different opinion on the final photo, but I had to show what I meant by leaving the memory alone. Sure you can brighten the background, but it isn't exactly a glorious background so I wouldn't want to draw attention to it any.

Skydog, as far as feeling the photo is flat, if you are talking about the lighting, then you'd have to talk to the photographer on that one. Retouching is also called touch-up. When you do a touch-up on something, you don't overhaul the whole thing and start from scratch. If you wanted to render different lighting on a photo you would need to either A) do ALL shadows and highlights by hand or B) overlay the pixel data onto a 3D object and then cast light onto the 3D objects, then get your angle right and flatten it down to 2-dimensions.

however, some clients dont want to remember people as they are/were; they want the fantasy. they dont want to remember the wrinkles and age and hollow eyes. they want the ideal.
You're right, some clients don't want that. But having worked in retouching for years I can tell you with confidence that the majority, by a large degree, of adult children do not wish to have their elderly parents smoothed out to look like porcelain dolls.
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Old 01-16-2007, 08:03 PM
maureeno maureeno is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 214
Re: Photo Advice Please

Originally Posted by Gary Richardson
Not got time to give too much detail, but did the following.

Extracted figures and sharpened them.
Blurred background with GB and applied graduated mask.
Desaturated reds to man's face, also added a touch of yellow with Color Balance to man's face, upped lighting and contrast on man's face.

Adjusted overall levels.

My opinion, your version is spot on! Perfect, the eyes are lively, colours are splendid and the couple have the stage!

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