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

Master Retoucher

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2007, 08:21 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Master Retoucher

Looking at two recent threads:

http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/cla...on-junior.html
This is an old thread that has recently surfaced, but it was from Dexter looking for a junior retoucher. Looking at the qualifications he was seeking he was looking for someone "skilled" with skin, hair and color. He later went on and said he had not only hired the junior position, but also hired someone for a "senior position" - I'd like to know the expectation of this position. I then went and looked at his web site: www.dexterquinto.com. Wow! I really like the bright colors and crispness of detail of many of the pictures. To me the pictures "poped". I'm sure it is a combination of the photographer, camera, lights, and photoshop. How much photoshop and what exactly did the junior and senior retoucher above do to enhance these photos?

Then I look at superkoax's discussion on Dave Hill:
http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...-all-help.html
Gerry is asking for insight as how to achieve this technique. If you look at many of his previous posts he as also asked this of other photographers/retouchers who are often admired/discussed on this site.

So here's my question. Where are the skills of both the junior retoucher and the senior retoucher learned? Practice sure, but there are basics and techniques that are learned? Surely they haven't just read posts on forum like retouch pro.

I asked this question sometime ago and really didn't get answer. What is being learned today in fine art schools and universities. Are some of these artists, photographers and techniques studied?

For those who consider themselves a senior retoucher that would be hired by a Dexter or a Fiscus, where did you learn your skill/techique other than practice?

It's like golf, you've got to learn all the basics and tips of a pro and then practice. Practicing poor technique just give consistently poor results.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2007, 09:05 AM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Work your way up, perhaps? That's what I did.
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2007, 09:49 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Veed..as you said in one of your recent posts regarding liquifying mask: " can you be more specific"? "Work your way" up is not very informative. From your previous posts, you say you are working in NYC as a retoucher. What did you learn and how did you learn it before you got there and what are you learning now? Do you have "in house training"? Are you learning tips from other retouchers? What is different from the training and information you are learning "in house" different from what one would learn or have access to not working for an agency? Please provide some specifics.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:59 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I've been thinking about this subject a lot this morning (dangerous).

Veed (correct me if I am wrong). For you and other retouchers working for agencies, I would think that you signed a secrecy agreement upon being hired. All knowledge, training, discovery and creativity that you obtained or learned within the agency is propriatery. To be competitive you need to provide the "look" that will sell and you need to do it fast. So work flow is also important and propriatery. I am sure you and others don't want your services outsourced.

If this is true, let me rephrase what I am seeking. Where does one go to learn to be the best qualified person for the junior retouching job? Let's be specific. I'm not looking for the practice or work your way up answer.

If you were developing a training program, what would it include? What demonstrated skills would you be seeking? If the person had a gap in this skill where would you tell them to go to learn it? What tools would be necessary or helpful (computer, photoshop, wacom, etc...)? If I was the Dean of a FineArts college offering Retouching as a curriculum, I would surely find out from the experts of the field what training would need to be provided.
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2007, 11:40 AM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

You are asking for an essay, skydog.

It works differently for everyone. For me, I became very good at Photoshop (not just in retouching, but in all areas, namely comic-book coloring for me) and demonstrated a wide knowledge of it in my first portfolio. If your goal is to work for a retouching studio/agency, then they will take the time to teach you if you can show that you know Photoshop very well. If they see potential, they will invest in you.
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2007, 04:21 PM
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superkoax superkoax is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

the veed...wow! thanks! The investment thing meant sense to me...I've been really thinking about this for along time...so it does pay out to send out portfolios or links to your portfolio site?

Can you be our information center in this post? Caus eI have a lot of maybe dumb questions that needs to answered!

Gerry
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:01 PM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

WooHoo! I would not hire anyone without knowledge of photography. To be honest, I will not hire many people that have not had any background in the traditional methods of retouching and photocomping. Sounds drastic? Yeah, perhaps, but I have never picked a wrong un!
Also a full knowledge of colour theory and lighting.

I often get complaints from some retouchers out there, because I will not give them any of my overspill work. They get very uppety, when I show them why.

Sorry went off on one there... I learned my skills...

Started as a dupe trannie colour corrector, and also trannie cut and butt, and strip ins. Working for a company called Creative Colour, back in 1973.

Then went to a Company called Colour processing labs, here I learned colour theory, also how to do real nice hand C type prints. Then 3 years at College training as a photographer.

Then went to Combined Graphic services.... Still doing traditional retouching as well as photocomposition.

Few jobs in between, then started at Colour Unlimited... Photocomposition and traditional retouching.

I was then headhunted and worked in NY for a year teaching a few Americans our way.

Back to the UK, and started my own company called First base. In 1989 I started looking at Digital retouching. 1990 I was in charge of one of the first digital retouching companies in London.. KIT COST? £350,000!! That had 1.3 gig of hard drive, extra 1.3 cost £15,000!

In 1995 teamed up with a photographer and started RGB Ltd, in south London, had some great fun there, we really got some great work done between us!

2000 Joined FTP Creative as a partner, still there, and we still look back at our past with great fondness.

That is how I got to where I am today. What is next?

Moving to Canada, doing a little more retouching, but going back into airbrushing, so will eventually give up retouching and photography....

Last edited by ftp-Jeff; 07-11-2007 at 07:16 PM.
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2007, 11:26 AM
matthiasab matthiasab is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

This a good thread for starting retouchers, as I was in the same boat when I started. Retouching is such a catch-22 to get started in because it's so competetive, and most retouchers (unfortunately) don't want to share their secrets/techniques. Most agencies and studios want you to have retouching experience, but how does one gain it if no one is willing to offer it? I think the Veed had it right when he said sometimes a company will take a chance and invest in you. Once you're in, that's where you learn the professional workflows, build your book, and finally gain the experience you need to start your retouching career.

For me, I was always interested in photography, and especially digital photography when it started breaking out in the mid 90's for consumers with the sony mavica. This is where I started getting my hands dirty with photoshop, and I've been using it since high school. However, it wasn't until after college, around 2003, that I wanted to start retouching professionally. I studied photo in college, and I love, love, love magazines, which helped develop my eye for how an image should look if it's to be used editorially or commercially. I definitely retouched on my own all I could, trying to make "perfect skin" using ramshackle techniques i made up to emulate what i saw in magazines. No one would share they're prof. techniques, so it was definitely hard to progress to a "professional" level in retouching. Like veed, my book showed that I had a solid understanding of photoshop, and a good eye, and I was very lucky and fortunate for a boutique studio to hire me as a junior and invest in me.

Someone once described retouching to me as secret society- and how retouching, in a sense, is a dark art- meaning everyone's tight lipped about it's secrets, and how it should be mostly undetectable in images. Kinda a good analogy, i think. The stone masons of retouching. Once you're in, it's like the doors are unlocked and you re-learn everything on a professional level. You'll find that your ramshackle techniques weren't quite as far off as maybe what the professionals are doing, and that a lot of things are much simpler than you may have thought. It was as a junior that I learned the most and became more confident in my abilities, and eventually became a senior. I sent out countless resumes and emails just to get an interview, and I got a lucky break and was taken in.

Anyrate, keep working on your book, learn as much as you can from these forums (I learned a ton from here), and send out as many emails as it takes. Don't be cocky- if you think you know a technique, the studio you're interviewing for might think otherwise- but if you show promise, skill, and a desire to grow, they'll have no problem taking you in and teaching you professional workflows, and investing in you as one of their own...
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2007, 11:33 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

QUOTE.
Someone once described retouching to me as secret society- and how retouching, in a sense, is a dark art- meaning everyone's tight lipped about it's secrets.

It was, before it went digital.

The computer is a great leveller.... At the beginning There was some great work! and some bad work... now it is mostly ordainary work.
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2007, 11:46 AM
matthiasab matthiasab is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I agree, I think that the computer is a great leveler, and that work is very ordinary. So if you can make your book stand out from tons that studios see, you're chances are better. We definitely see a lot of work on a daily basis, and sadly the majority of it is seriously laughable. There are still those few that stand out though. Although it may seem that the industry is saturated with retouchers, good retouchers are still very hard to come by- most work we see is very mediocre, or very amateur. Good work stands out like a need in a haystack.
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