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

You guys who post a ton, hep me out with something

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  #1  
Old 03-04-2010, 11:03 AM
Caesium Caesium is offline
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You guys who post a ton, hep me out with something

Alright, this is not a dig as I really want your insight into this... It seems that in 90% of threads I read on here, the mentality is that an image needs 6 hours of D&B to be good.

I am a commercial photographer in a mid sized market doing primarily local and regional work with an occasional small national job (nothing cool). I have a couple of retouchers I send work off to when I am unable to do the work in house and when the job can afford it. Their day rates range from around $800 to $1200 and they will usually spend the majority of a day on a single image.

Now then, my shoots average between $2500 and $5000 (excluding talent) for the most part these days, and believe me, clients are asking me to find every possible way to cut out as much cost as possible in this economy. Seeing as I am generally delivering 4 or more images from these type shoots, post processing alone can easily double my invoice if I allow. My questions:

Are you guys who stand behind the "D&B or nothing" view of retouching just so blessed as to have $30,000 budgets for every job that comes your way? Do you have a middle ground (i.e. quick and dirty approach) that you use for the jobs that this level of work is simply not in the budget?

What about editorial? Unless its for Vogue (or another mag on a similar level) there is no way they are dropping this type of cash right now into retouching. I had start out using magazine shoots as a large part of my marketing plan, but the rates have dropped to nothing. Good publications are now down to $1500 or so for a cover and that gets split between hair, makeup, wardrobe, location, props, assistant(s), talent, post, and, as crazy as it sounds, I would kinda like to make enough to eat that day too.

Every day, industry blogs report what a sorry state of affairs commercial work is in right now, how tight the market is and how no one is paying what they used to. Spend 5 minutes on aphotoeditor.com if you have any doubt.

So, what are you guys doing? Is everyone really only doing 6 hours+ per image jobs or is there this huge "middle of the road" portion of your business you don't really want to talk about because it doesn't showcase your talent?

If you are cutting corners, what corners are they usually?

What are you doing for your editorial clients?


I love the look of a 10 hour dodge and burned image as much as the next guy, however, I know if I did it on all my work, I would retouch myself of out work and into a welfare check. I am anxious to hear about your situations.
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:35 PM
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Cuervo79 Cuervo79 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

Normally you do the retouch according to the necessity, D&B works plain and simple, do I use it for everything? Yes but with varying degrees.
I usually do a mix of: using the healing and clone tools to cleanup the skin first, then a bit of general D&B and last a bit of degrunge technique set a different values mostly 3 ( 12, 6, 3 ).
It depends on your necessity and what you can get away with. You can get away with more on a full body photo than on a closeup (at least on my 8mp camera I can).

Most of the time you don't have to do D&B to the pore level, so you just do it on the general one which is quite faster...
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:10 PM
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crazyfly1 crazyfly1 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

Cuervo79, I wonder about this too.
So it sounds as though you use other methods for tiny and small blemishes, pimples and such and then use db to even out large areas of skin tone. Maybe making the cheek on the left closer to the luminosity of the cheek on the right, for example.
Is that close to what you do?
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:54 PM
Kermy Kermy is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

If you're good you manage the amount of time that you as a client want me to spend per image. My last job I had 35 lifestyle shots to get done and I had a week and a half including the weekend. So I spent about 3-4hrs per image, some quicker than others. The cliend realised that they were not going to get vogue at that rate or price for that matter. For something like this i undertake a pretty detailed healing/cloning then follow up by a d&b but manage my time and not get too picky. You have to manage expections, not everyone wants vogue and not everyone is willing to pay for it. And also if you set the precedent of delivering vogue and charging way below what you actually spent on the job, you are doing a diservice to your client and yourself because you will not be able to consitently deliver on time and on budget...
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:30 PM
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Cuervo79 Cuervo79 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

@Crazyfly1 yes that's pretty much what I do normally, with the addition that I also use the degrunge technique in the mix with everything.
Even when doing "solely" D&B I always do a comprehensive cleaning with the healing and clone tools.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:56 PM
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crazyfly1 crazyfly1 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

Cool, makes sense. I have tried to use db at a pixel level and fix individual pores and it is not fun and ends up looking worse then when I started when I zoom out.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:51 AM
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Cuervo79 Cuervo79 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

If this is happening to you you need to review again how you do D&B. Normally when you're doing this at the pore level and then you zoom out, what you see that "looks worse" isn't that you're doing it wrong, but that you're uncovering "micro shadow patches" that where camouflaged because of the pore problems. These you then adjust with a more general scale D&B. So you not only work at pore level but zoom out to 50 and 25 percent. As I said D&B works.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:39 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

Apologies in advance for hijacking this thread, but could someone please point me in the direction of the 'de-grunge' technique?

Many thanks,
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:46 AM
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amica999 amica999 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

Quote:
Originally Posted by longside1 View Post
Apologies in advance for hijacking this thread, but could someone please point me in the direction of the 'de-grunge' technique?

Many thanks,
http://retouchpro.com/tutorials/?m=show&id=213
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:49 AM
longside1 longside1 is offline
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Re: You guys who post a ton, hep me out with somet

aha! Thanks for the link :-)
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