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'GLITZ' and Retouching - My thoughts

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Old 06-02-2010, 07:24 PM
0lBaldy's Avatar
0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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'GLITZ' and Retouching - My thoughts

Sometimes it is difficult to understand why some things cost so much for stuff that’s done on a computer using software that seems to do all the work?! After all, you shouldn’t have to pay for stuff that you could do yourself, especially if you have the resources at home. Maybe an alternate solution would be to have your 'Glitz' Pageant Photographer and 'Glitz' Retoucher show you how they do it so you can do it on your own next time. All you need is a subject, camera, and editing software..
Heck, if you have a camera you probably got editing software with it so you could probably do everything yourself for free. It wouldn't take very long, maybe a couple hours. Shucks, if you own a camera.. you are a photographer... all you really need to know is how to push the button (shutter release) to get the picture. If you have software... you are a Retoucher... it is simply a matter of pushing the right buttons or clicking the button on the mouse. Everyone knows how to push buttons and if it starts to look too unrealistic, just add a little more reality?

Now to get serious…. Here is some REALITY…

Hopefully the following will explain why there are inherent costs.

If you really serious about 'Glitz' Pageant Photos... your going to have to have excellent 'Glitz' pics. There is no other way to put it, ….unless your a Professional Photographer and a Professional Retoucher yourself….. then in all likely-hood your going to have to pay for excellence.

Look at the detail involved in these pictures, look at the work involved. Some of this work is fantastic. I appreciate the work that goes into them.

Samples of 'Glitz' pics:

'Glitz' from before and afters

pageant Glitz photos” Google search

In order to get the Professional, Full 'Glitz' photos the majority of Glitz/Pageant contestants hire professional photographers that specialize in 'Glitz' Pageant photography and retouching . In order to get competitive results, you need to know the ins and outs of Photography and have mastered the learning curve of the photo manipulation software (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, Microsoft Paint, Etc..) that you have available to you,... preferably knowledge at a Professional level and knowledge of what the judges want to see.

IF you are going to do "'Glitz'" pageant photography... study the poses, hair styles, wardrobes, lighting, etc... for the particular pageant and category they are competing in and what they prefer...look and study the fine details from the past winners in the category you are shooting for........ (This is where "Google" might be your friend). For pageant competitions it usually means ‘porcelain-finish’ skin, the color of the skin must be uniform w/out extreme lights or darks, oversized eyes, sophisticated eye-lashes, esoteric catch lights, glossy lips, lots of hair, cute costumes and the like. The technical work that goes into the 'Glitz' Photo is quite impressive, there is a lot of talent in that level of transformation.

The key is to start with a good 'Glitz' photo with a great pose, suitable for the "look" - with the eyes wide open. A photo that will need minimal fixing up... A starting photo that’s an immaculate picture where everything is in focus and sharp (with emphasis on the eyes), has good lighting (facial contouring), makeup (the application of eyeliners and eye lashes, glossy lips) , costuming/clothes, hats and props, background, hair pieces (falls/curls/extensions), teeth flippers (if needed), jewelry, shoes, etc.. Which is all done prior to snapping the shutter at a professional photo shoot. The pictures should be "flawless" or close to it. You will still have a chances to flex those retouching and creative abilities to make a porcelain doll out of a child using your favorite photo editor in post. If any post work is necessary, it should be minimal…. but It's all about the fine details and is very exacting work...

It's difficult if not impossible for anyone (let alone a beginning retoucher) to "fix" their child's poor photos or to retouch poor photographs and turn them into 'Glitz' photos, with good results. Retouching should be just that, touching up the photo. Otherwise, you'll pull your own hair out. (did you notice this is an old BALD guy writing this)

For example, to retouch a normal photo into a 'Glitz' pic would require one to:

Use and arrange lots and lots of layers
using lots of masks on those layers
many hue/saturation and curves tweaks utilizing the masks attached to the adjustment layers
paint, desaturate and use selective color
Makeup cleaned up or added, facial powder, blush, lipstick fixed, mascara, eye shadow(or not) and liner
color correct
Sometimes extract the person from the original background and put into a new one.
Improve brightness, contrast, skin color, overall color adjustments.
lighting corrected using different lighting effects
Facial sculpting.
Skin freshened, blended, smoothed
Blur the skin to look doll-like.
Blemishes removed, Dark Circles lightened
Eyes brightened, sharpened, color enhanced, enlarged, replace iris and/or pupils, Lashes enhanced/ added
Brows shaped/ cleaned up
Remove stray hairs and add volume/curls.
Change lips, replace teeth.
Add catchlights to eyes/lips/hair.
French Manicure added to nail tips
Create hair/clothing ornaments (beads/bows/other decor) to match the child's clothing.
Head gear (hat/feather/bows) replacement/addition.
Crop and rotate photo or head
Special graphics, scenery or props added
Background replacement.

These are just of few of the skills that one would use to obtain a 'Glitz' photo.

Simply stated, one can't just read one tutorial and learn how to do the 'Glitz' look.
It really comes down to your skills, not the software.

There are no special tutorials for 'Glitz'.. a good working knowledge of all the tools available in Photoshop (which has a steep learning curve), a good working knowledge of what the judges are looking for, skills in Illustration, compositing, color correction, extractions, applying digital makeup, eye enhancements, adding hair - eyelashes - props - backgrounds - etc to the photo are just a few of the skills that need to be mastered.
All these things are covered in a combination of the many tutorials available here at RetouchPRO and on the Internet. There might be a tip or two amongst the vast range of tutorials that will help you in your quest. So, start out by having a look at the tutorials section in the RetouchPRO tutorial portion of the forum. You'll find guides on how to retouch just about anything. You'll find tutorials (for example for skin and eyes) that will get you on the road to glamour. Learn about layers, blend modes and masks, learn to airbrush or paint over a copy of the original. Hone your skills and practice cubed. You can head to a nearby bookstore/library and pick up some retouching books, they will help a lot. Also, there are a lot of threads floating around on here that do a good job of showing you how to achieve the look you want.

You can learn how to fix or retouch just about anything. you can learn techniques and effects, but applying them to each photo in a way to make them look good can't be taught. It takes time, patience, experience, practice, and an artist's eye.

Best of luck, you'll get it.

Some resources:

Youtube is a good source.. Use the search function to look at Extreme makeover, Photoshop, basic tutorials on tools, layers, masks, etc. or your particular interest,

You can also go to to see video tutorials for each.

Photoshopmama's makeover tutorial is good to learn the basics. Click the glamour makeover series.

Creating Quick Masks with Photoshop
Learn masking

Porcelain Skin/Dior Look

How to draw eyelashes:
Use the "freeform pen tool" to draw your own lashes (click here) Drawing on a new softlight layer

Eyelash brushes: Use brushes either black or the color of the natural lashes @100% opacity (to be adjusted later) each on a new softlight layer then use the transform tool to move and shape the brush to the eye then lower opacity to taste

Making a eyelash brush ( 4 free eyelash pic. included) (Click here)
Deviant Art Eyelash Brushes

Good Luck in your ventures!

Last edited by 0lBaldy; 03-13-2012 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:39 PM
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Cuervo79 Cuervo79 is offline
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Re: 'GLITZ' and Retouching - My thoughts

You should sticky this for the parents and people that come here asking on how to do it...
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