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Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

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  #1  
Old 04-13-2012, 11:44 AM
FCP FCP is offline
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Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

Hello

I often scratch my head at head shot and portrait retouchers who say they retouch an image in 10-15 minutes or do 4 images an hour.

All head shot images (unless instructed my the client) should look natural and real. I work all images by hand. I don't use any filters,blurring,or actions of any kind. I go in 100% and much higher to carefully remove skin imperfections, fix, clothes, remove stray hairs and color correct when ask to by the client. Again, this is head shots so I often intentionally leave imperfections there. It's not beauty work and depending on the client I don't play with shadows, highlights or the over all feel or mood of the image. This all being said it takes me 30 minutes to an hour sometimes more to do an image.

I don't understand it when someone say they do retouching at a rate of 4 or 5 images an hour. I don't think there referring to retouching. Maybe it's quick editing and light retouching for events like weddings or something. Can someone explain this? Am I too old school and need to learn some new technique or something? I feel like my way is the right way, is there another way?
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2012, 12:44 PM
Mike Needham's Avatar
Mike Needham Mike Needham is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

Post your before and after if you want opinions. Without seeing your work it's going to be tough to call either way. A retouch can take as long or be as quick as you want, depending upon time constraints, results required and output.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:02 PM
FCP FCP is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

Thanks Mike

I wasn't really seeking opinions about my work. I want all my retouching to take 15 minutes but I can't have that. I guess my clients have certain expectations and some clients don't take proper precautionary measures when shooting. It can take 30 minutes just to clean up and fix hair or clothes if you want a natural realistic look.

I'm just curious of the people who say they do head shot retouching at 10-15 minutes per image. I don't see it possible unless they do very minimal work or I'm just slow as Sh*#
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:33 PM
julianmarsalis julianmarsalis is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

If that fast most are using short cuts actions/plug-ins or slight clean up a high end retouch can take many hours a fast blur lower opacity done minutes to seconds or just grab healing brush and go lol....

For many its a tradeoff time vs quality that equals good enough for client. If your doing work for hs seniors vs vogue magazine...

it takes me 15 minutes to just start marking up where I want to retouch and then plan my attack. That just covers quickly the big things that stands out mostly.

Last edited by julianmarsalis; 04-13-2012 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:02 PM
peter king peter king is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

I get paid per minute for my glamour retouching and believe me I do
everything from raw file adjustments, background cleanups, skin retouch,
liquify etc.

They have to look good or the customer won't accept them.

The point is not everyone gets paid to spend as long as they want on each
image.
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2012, 05:36 PM
julianmarsalis julianmarsalis is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

Its subjective what is good is in the eye of the beholder ie customer you get what you pay for in some cases yes and others nope lol.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:00 AM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

Quote:
Originally Posted by julianmarsalis View Post
If that fast most are using short cuts actions/plug-ins or slight clean up a high end retouch can take many hours a fast blur lower opacity done minutes to seconds or just grab healing brush and go lol....

For many its a tradeoff time vs quality that equals good enough for client. If your doing work for hs seniors vs vogue magazine...

it takes me 15 minutes to just start marking up where I want to retouch and then plan my attack. That just covers quickly the big things that stands out mostly.
There's no reason to blur anything. You just leave the skin as it is aside from major blemishes. You have to keep intention in mind as well as quality. Blurring really is pointless. Much of the time the people blurring it out still have capture sharpening left on, and it's asinine. People don't look so hideous that you must smooth out every section of their faces. With your vogue example, if you look at the images, the skin smoothing is a fraction of the work. They get the right balance of lighting with the background, the right lip color, the eye color, perfect clothing, etc. It's a narrative rather than a portrait. Prior to everything being digital, a lot of higher end portrait studios retouched this stuff by hand. They often overdid it, and it looked cheesy. I thought it looked cheesy then, and those same images would look cheesy today.

Even fashion stuff, people get this stuff wrong all the time. You don't really need to go to town for hours on the skin. Much of the time things like skin look a lot rougher before you fix things like acne and stray facial hairs. Hair can take a long time. Basically anything that involves lots of little tiny cloning (stray hairs, small background marks, etc) can take a long time. With skin it's just so easy to overdo it. Spending hours burning and dodging it is basically asking for this. Beauty obviously takes longer as it reveals a lot of little stuff, but careful work and not overdoing it can just save you so much time. I can tell you I don't leave it looking rough. It's just that you can be a lot more competitive in time and quality by learning how not to go too far. You can pay attention to the topology of the skin itself rather than just staring at pixels. Deeper pores or lines in the skin tend to be a little off color, then the resulting rounded off portion leading into them produces specularity. On the ones that look rough, you should be able to gauge how rough relative to smoother pores which already look good and against the underlying muscle structure.

Sometimes it's bad and things can take longer. It's just much of the time, pore by pore smoothing by itself isn't going to consume many many hours. You often have a lot of other details to address like eyelashes, brows, hair, lips, background, lighting, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FCP View Post
Thanks Mike

I wasn't really seeking opinions about my work. I want all my retouching to take 15 minutes but I can't have that. I guess my clients have certain expectations and some clients don't take proper precautionary measures when shooting. It can take 30 minutes just to clean up and fix hair or clothes if you want a natural realistic look.

I'm just curious of the people who say they do head shot retouching at 10-15 minutes per image. I don't see it possible unless they do very minimal work or I'm just slow as Sh*#
The 15 minute stuff really should be quick fixes meaning you'll have to pace yourself. It's not just quality relative to fashion stuff. You probably are not going to be doing the same style. It should just be simple and very natural, but not natural in the sense of what magazines mean when they say natural. Headshots could mean a few things, but all of them that come to mind shouldn't be retouched very much at all, and you definitely shouldn't have to mark up the image for 15 minutes just to remove a few blemishes and stray hairs. I hate it when people want to healing brush everything whether it needs it or not.

Now let's say we're talking about a beauty image instead. Beauty images are shot for a different purpose. It's not a portrait at all, and if you retouch a portrait to the same degree and style as a beauty image, it's likely to just look weird. Anyway half an hour would probably be way more comfortable, but this sounds like low budget stuff. If you're able to show what you're doing, I'll see if I can provide any more useful comments.

Last edited by kav; 04-14-2012 at 01:23 AM.
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  #8  
Old 04-16-2012, 08:17 AM
julianmarsalis julianmarsalis is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

Well like I always say to each there own here is a great retouch by natalia aka godmother here took 5 - 6 hours:

Natalia_Taffarel wrote:
Final: http://www.nataliataffarel.com/MM_NINE_NRT_Final.jpg

Original: http://www.nataliataffarel.com/MM_NINE_NRT_Orig.jpg

Psd: http://www.nataliataffarel.com/PSDMM.zip

15 minutes gets you 15 minutes retouch.
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  #9  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:59 AM
eraanexact eraanexact is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

To the original poster, I think that 4 to 5 images per hour is doable if the photography is in a fairly stable, controllable environment. If the photographer is doing the headshots in a studio or on a location where they shoot all the time, then chances are they have the lighting nailed down to a point that minimizes the need for tons of post production work.
Also, the retoucher doing the post work probably does headshots all the time so that he or she knows exactly what to change, what to leave, and can do it all fairly quickly.
Repetition will make someone very adept and very fast.

I knew someone who worked at a portrait studio, and most of their post work was done with specific photoshop actions anyway. Not how I would do it, but to each their own!
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  #10  
Old 04-17-2012, 12:32 PM
julianmarsalis julianmarsalis is offline
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Re: Head Shot Retouching time...How much time

If you want something extremely fast but will never hit Nats quality a plug-in to look into is http://www.imagenomic.com/pt.aspx Portraiture is a Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture plugin that eliminates the tedious manual labor of selective masking and pixel-by- pixel treatments to help you achieve excellence in portrait retouching. It intelligently smoothens and removes imperfections while preserving skin texture and other important portrait details such as hair, eyebrows, eyelashes etc.

Portraiture features a powerful masking tool that enables selective smoothening only in the skin tone areas of the image. What makes Portraiture’s masking tool truly unique is its built-in Auto-Mask feature. It helps you quickly discover most of the skin tone range of the image automatically and, if preferred, you can manually fine-tune it to ensure optimal results, providing unmatched precision and productivity.

A good example use http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDwEx...Klg&lf=channel by Pro photographer Sean Armenta

Personally I am old school d&B learn it love it and nothing is to much of a challenge to fix but its not fast but gives meticulous control in a retouch.
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