RetouchPRO

Go Back   RetouchPRO > Technique > Photo Retouching
Register Blogs FAQ Site Nav Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


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

Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 01-09-2011, 05:09 PM
cyberphonics cyberphonics is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 20
Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

Greetings all! Just curious about opinions on this and I figured that retouchers would be more familiar with and have had more access to the Befores than the general public who typically only sees the Afters.
  1. When you (personally) say that someone is a great photographer, are you basing that more on what the images look like before retouching or after?
  2. Is your opinion affected if the final images the photographer is known for are all predominantly generated in editing (eg. all of their images are fantasy styled with tons of compositing and the like)?
  3. Is your opinion in either case affected if the photographer is also his/her own retoucher?
  4. And last, if you judge the photographer more by the Befores, what elements are you looking at most to arrive at your opinion?
As a filmmaker, my goal is always to do what you need to do for the image produced by the camera to be as close to the final image you want to see as possible rather than shooting with the notion that things can be fixed in post. For many of us, when it comes to the visual aspect, post production is more about doing what simply can't be done with a camera than it is about how to improve upon what was done.

I realized a while ago that I subconsciously brought that approach to my photography. I don't shoot thinking about retouchers. I shoot thinking that I want to be happy with the picture that my camera plops out. Retouching only enters my mind when I'm in a situation where I feel I can't do anything about what's in front of me and will have to do something about it later on.

Since I started befriending retouchers and watching them work and even just browsing around on the internet to see the Befores of a lot of published Afters, I constantly find myself having these "wtf" moments where I'm looking at the Befores from photographers that are being heralded as amazing and not understanding why anyone believes that.

Rather, I can see why people would think they're amazing based on the Afters if, like much of the public, that's all they've seen. What I don't get is how people who have seen the Befores and are familiar with just how much was done to get to the final images are still able to say with a straight face that they think the photographer is so incredible?

Because of the attitude I've rolled over from filmmaking, to me - not saying this is how anyone else "should" see it and I'm not here to debate it - if I would be ashamed for anyone other than my retoucher or someone in my field interested in learning something about the process to see my image as it came out of the camera, I didn't take a good picture.

I'm not saying that all of my images are prize winning material. I'm saying that when I look at them, I never think, "I can't let a client see this! They'd think I'm a horrible photographer!" Yet when I see a lot of the Befores of many "golden" photographers, that's exactly what I think. That if that was what came out of my camera, I'd hide it from anybody I wanted to hire me LOL

Anyway, I think I'm having such an adverse reaction to Before images because of the way I do things and that people are seeing something I don't see because they're looking at it from the perspective of elements I'm not giving enough credit for or putting too much emphasis on, so I was curious to know how you all form your opinions and on what?

Sorry this was so long, I wanted to make sure the question I was asking was as clear as possible by explaining how I arrived at it. I'm not providing any images because I want this to stay about how you each evaluate a photographer's work in general and not have it turn into an opinion fest on specific pictures.

Thanks ahead of time!
Reply With Quote top
  #2  
Old 01-09-2011, 05:32 PM
Godmother's Avatar
Godmother Godmother is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 814
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

I judge photographers by their vision and ability to make that into an image. Period.

X
Reply With Quote top
  #3  
Old 01-09-2011, 05:40 PM
cyberphonics cyberphonics is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 20
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

Thanks for the first reply! I'd love to hear others!
Reply With Quote top
  #4  
Old 01-09-2011, 07:56 PM
thehjj thehjj is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 39
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

Cyberphonics, I'm in the same boat as you.

I'm a photographer. I do my own retouching, but I try to get it as close to what I want in the camera and use photoshop to clean up little blemishes, adjust contrast, and do some color toning.

Like you, I not saying that I'm an amazing photographer (or retoucher) ... but I have standards of what I would show a client before it's been retouched.

So, I judge by both.

People argue that the finished product is all that matters. They're right. Does it matter that the raw file was underexposed, a little soft, with wonky composition? Well if it's right in the final product, then it doesn't really matter I guess. But, being a photographer, I like to have integrity for the craft of photography. So I will do the best I can to get my photos as close to how I want them in camera. There will always be people who "cheat" with retouching, we just have to get used to it.

Ps. I have huge amounts of respect for the pro retouchers out there. You guys can work some real miracles and I'm sure have saved many careers for slack photographers. I just ... like it in camera better.
Reply With Quote top
  #5  
Old 01-10-2011, 05:53 AM
creativeretouch creativeretouch is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London
Posts: 502
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

BTW nice question ...

As a photographer coming through a classic process where I use to develop, print & retouch my own pictures - I try to get the best result in the camera. This is my master file which I can retouch (with all techniques I am aware off) and then go for postprocessing. But I always keep my retouched muster file for the future.

The other question is how to get your muster file into your camera? In the old days the photographers should be aware off a zone system (developed by Ansel Adams) which gave you a way how to deal with the contrast of the captured scene. It affected both - the positive & negative process. I still have this on my mind and I am applying this on a digital file as well - if needed ... So if you see some of my files which came straight from my camera - you will ask a lot of questions

The most famous photographers are famous as they are able to bring original feeling to the photograph and for ability to deal with the technique as well as with the stress on the set (I mean commercial photographers). And if you watch The September Issue movie you will see how much power over the final result they have

Today we can se a lot of compositing. But if you want to create a good picture you have to have a good source.
Reply With Quote top
  #6  
Old 01-10-2011, 06:21 AM
fraiseap fraiseap is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 104
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

As a photographer who learned my trade in the era of film I agree with others about the "get it right in camera" mantra but only to a certain extent.

I have always regarded post processing as an essential part of photography, whether that is pushing film at the development stage or dodging and burning at the printing stage.

I therefore think there are some adjustments which are an essential part of the process - these include correcting color balance, cropping, dodging and burning. Cloning out blemishes comes in this category as well.

There are other processes that should not be used IMO. These mainly come under the heading of "rescuing bad shots" and include exposure adjustment, and disguising blown highlights or blocked shadows.

So I do judge by the after, as the artistic vision, accurate exposure and good focus cannot be created in PP. Most other enhancemants are a legitimate part of the process.

A final point - sharpening will never be able to rescue an out of focus shot. Sharpening is fine to improve the print quality of an already sharp image and can be used as a creative technique but cannot be used to rescue a bad shot.
Reply With Quote top
  #7  
Old 01-10-2011, 06:43 AM
Godmother's Avatar
Godmother Godmother is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 814
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

Btw a photographer with VISION doesn't fix the images in Photoshop

X
Reply With Quote top
  #8  
Old 01-10-2011, 08:25 AM
julianmarsalis julianmarsalis is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 333
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

The finished product period...
Reply With Quote top
  #9  
Old 01-10-2011, 08:39 AM
fraiseap fraiseap is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 104
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godmother View Post
Btw a photographer with VISION doesn't fix the images in Photoshop

X
That depends upon what you mean by "fix"
Reply With Quote top
  #10  
Old 01-10-2011, 01:29 PM
Godmother's Avatar
Godmother Godmother is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 814
Re: Do you judge by the befores or the afters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fraiseap View Post
That depends upon what you mean by "fix"
Resquing a bad shot

X
Reply With Quote top
Reply

  RetouchPRO > Technique > Photo Retouching


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Calvin Hollywoods Before and Afters rka81 Photo Retouching 0 11-11-2010 07:56 AM
few before and afters for your approval fstr21 Photo Retouching 6 07-02-2010 06:48 PM
Before and Afters... alisty Critiques 11 06-15-2009 12:29 PM
Just Saying Hi, Some Before and Afters Here... moleculeMike Photo Retouching 1 12-15-2008 08:39 AM
Can the masses judge quality? Ed_L Salon 6 03-04-2004 03:17 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
Copyright © 2016 Doug Nelson. All Rights Reserved