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

Where do I start.....

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  #1  
Old 12-31-2010, 12:15 PM
delene delene is offline
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Where do I start.....

Hi there.

I joined RetouchPro a couple of weeks ago, and have found the amount of available information almost overwhelming.

A bit about me - I am a photographer, but really want to learn how to retouch PROPERLY. I can clone, sharpen, and use other basic Lightroom/Photoshop processes but I have generally picked these skills up from other forums. I have bought the Calvenize videos, and am waiting for Natalia's dvds to be delivered, and I have attended the recent online session on sharpening with Andrew Rodney.

But I wonder if anyone (especially those who are self-taught) can tell me how they managed their learning? At the moment I feel that I am grabbing at what looks good to me but with little knowledge of what it is I am aiming for.

Thanks.

Delene
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2010, 09:43 PM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

Hi delene: Welcome to RP... Dodge and Burn is the way to go. You already got the cloning thing going on. It takes a while to learn and apply D&B technique, "practice and patience" are the key words. But split frequencies, and sharpen in my opinion takes an important part in the process. Everyone has its own way of retouching, and there are no shortcuts in this technique, but there's a plug-in that if you learn (not to difficult) how to use it well it can help you cutting time on your works, being that D&B is very time consuming (still the best technique tho...) The plug in name is Smooth Skin, you can find it here: http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...smoothing.html

Note: "Maybe I wrote too soon, but I understand that you are talking about "beauty retouching" since you mention Calvenize videos and Natalia's DVDs."

Hope this helps !

Last edited by Boneappetit; 01-01-2011 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:59 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

hi delene. might as well try to target our suggestions to your needs. what sort of photography do you do?
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:21 AM
spotter spotter is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

I found the challenges on this site very helpful because you can go away and work on an image,then upload it and compare it with what everyone else did. It helped me to organise my workflow because I needed to be able to describe what I had done to my image and I could read through others descriptions . There are so many different ways to reach the same end image. I also did one or two free retouches just to feel like I was really doing work for someone else and that helped too because when working on an image of your own, it is easy to think, 'oh that will do!' but when doing it for another person, you want to do the absolute best job possible.
Hope that is helpful
Spotter
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:46 AM
delene delene is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

Thanks Boneappetit. Will take a look at the Smooth Skin plug in.

Flashtones - My photography is mainly portrait - children and babies, and pregnancy.

I suppose I am looking for an idea of what it is I MUST know to cover everything, and Boneappetit has highlighted D&B and split frequencies which is something I must read up on. So, if I had a portrait in front of me, and it was one which needed a bit of everything, is there a general workflow that people use to get from raw file to finished product? (I generally use Lightroom to import the photos.)
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:17 AM
delene delene is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

Hi Spotter. Thanks for that. I will take a look at the challenges. I think watching and learning how other people work is just what I am looking for.

I have just been playing with the Smooth Skin plug in and it looks great as a start.
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:57 AM
RetWannabe RetWannabe is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

Hi Delene, for what its worth, my two cents... I am self taught as well and like you a newb at retouching. The best thing is to get a tutorial DVD done by some one whose style of retouching you really like. The next best thing, I signed up to a webinar on here and the retoucher was Amy Dresser. I found this info invaluable and am anxiously awaiting the next one and hopefully they'll do one on Product retouching for product photography soon. ( And so, I think you are on the right track so far). I used to watch some tutorials on Youtube before I knew anything about dodging and burning - all that surface blur and gaussian blur stuff, Oh how I ruined so many images. I am still new and do want to get it right. All I can tell you from my experiences is you will need to invest several, several hours a day just for one image if you want to achieve high end results. The image I am working on has taken me two days and a bit to retouoch, I will be posting it soon in another thread and I know it will still be less than perfect. Post your retouches and ask the members here to critique them.

Regards
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:56 AM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by delene View Post
Thanks Boneappetit. Will take a look at the Smooth Skin plug in.

Flashtones - My photography is mainly portrait - children and babies, and pregnancy.

I suppose I am looking for an idea of what it is I MUST know to cover everything, and Boneappetit has highlighted D&B and split frequencies which is something I must read up on. So, if I had a portrait in front of me, and it was one which needed a bit of everything, is there a general workflow that people use to get from raw file to finished product? (I generally use Lightroom to import the photos.)
Delene: you can have a look at this short but nice tutorial by Omar Josef (Flexmanta) about Frequency separation. He has a more in depth one, but it is in Spanish. I'm just assuming you don't speak Spanish, but if you do let me know and I'll post the link for it. Hope it helps.

http://hiendworkshops.com/2010/08/18...y-separation-2
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:45 AM
delene delene is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

Thanks RetWannabe. So now I need to decide, do I want to spend two days on one image and get perfection, or do I want to do the best I can in the time available. Or both. Probably both, dependent on the image/aim.

So the next question is what processes would you consider essential to get the best possible if you had, say, 50 images and only had a very limited amount of time for each one? Going back to Boneappetit's reply, I would say sharpening, cloning and d&b (still got to understand split frequencies so can't add that in here). Am I right?

Edit - just seen your latest reply Boneappetit - thanks for that but I don't speak Spanish unfortunately.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:41 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: Where do I start.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by delene View Post

Flashtones - My photography is mainly portrait - children and babies, and pregnancy.
Okay, don't get me wrong, Calvin, Natalia, Freq sep, dodge and burn are all excellent hi-end tools/techniques. They will all worthwhile and serve you well.

But you asked where you (a portraitist) should begin, and I would not start you there.

I would recommend you begin with more basic approaches, and I think the best value for that is found on Lynda.

Not sure what version of PS you have, but here's a listing of their PS titles. Anything by Chris Orwig is good for people photography, and anything by Deke is good for a general overview.

http://www.lynda.com/software/279-photoshop

You can get a 7 day free trial from Orwig:

http://www.chrisorwig.com/retouching/lynda.php

Then go month by month if you like it - it's really an incredible value. After you get that under your belt Calvin and Natalia's approaches will make more sense and come easier to you. (Though they still might not be as directly applicable to what you do.)

Also, if you're in the USA, RetouchPro Live on youtube (and live broadcasts too, of course) are also incredible values.
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