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Question for the pro retouchers

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  #1  
Old 10-04-2012, 02:40 PM
Jon10 Jon10 is offline
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Question for the pro retouchers

When we see tutorials for retouching, particularly from well known expert retouchers, the images that they are working with are nearly always very high quality raw files, which have been well shot with good lighting.

Would you say that this is the norm for most pro retouchers, or do you find that a good proportion of the images that you have to work with on a day-to-day basis aren't quite so good (either slightly lower res jpegs, or poorly lit etc) which makes achieving such stunning results more difficult?
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:52 PM
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oneredpanther oneredpanther is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

The images I receive from clients are always well-shot, from a technical standpoint.

The biggest problem (in my experience) though, is when I get a reference/inspiration image along with it from some totally unrelated shoot they found in Vogue, with a note "the art director wants it to look like this" - which invariably looks NOTHING like the actual thing they just sent me (shot in totally different light, usually).

Then you have to compromise between doing your best, and telling them that you can't photoshop a volkswagon beetle into the taj mahal. And certainly not by 9am monday.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:08 PM
Shoku Shoku is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

We receive images from both pros and non-pros, artists who know very little about photography. Sometimes the pro images are more of a headache than the amateur files because they sometimes do more damage to the file trying to make it look like they want before they send it to us. Overall about 60% of the files have minor issues that can be fixed in minutes, or even seconds. 20% take less than a half hour, and about 15% take longer. The next 3% can take more than an hour to get a compromise due to file limitations, with the remaining 2% going right to the trash bin with a request to the client to re-submit a better file.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:51 AM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

Most images I work with are very good to start with. However, retouching was a lot easier when pictures were scanned by a pro and a series of images would look like a coherent set. Now, photographers are tweaking their images and introducing new problems to solve; blown highlights, over-saturated colours etc. Enhancing images is great fun; putting right technical errors is a P in the A. Although I am a commercial retoucher I marvel at the magic produced by the photo restorers on this forum; they work with truly awful originals and what they output makes a difference to people.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:09 AM
Jon10 Jon10 is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneredpanther View Post
"the art director wants it to look like this" - which invariably looks NOTHING like the actual thing they just sent me (shot in totally different light, usually).
That answers my next question to some extent - how much direction do you receive regarding the finished image? Is it generally a reference to a different image, a verbal description of what is required, or a vague 'make it look better' request? I would imagine that some well-known retouchers are more likely to be asked to just 'work their magic' and are given more of a free reign to do whatever they like with the image, particularly from an overall colour/style perspective.

Do most of you get RAW files regularly or are jpegs the norm?
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:00 AM
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oneredpanther oneredpanther is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

It depends. A free-reign job will normally provide RAW. If they have a more proscribed idea, then often they'll have jpegged (well, TIFFed) it already after doing their own foundation colouring so that the look and feel is locked in.

I've always had to go back for further clarification from Art at various stages throughout a retouch. Say we budget a week for the job, commonly I might mail them my day's progress in the evening for comment, so make sure at all stages that we're going the right way.

The worst thing is to waste a day's work because you're on a divergent track from the AD's wishes.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:41 AM
ksparticus ksparticus is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

I always prefer to get raw files from my clients. The reason for this is even if the client has already processed the files to the *look* they desire a lot of the time they will clog the shadows or blow out the highlights. To avoid that headache I would also ask them to supply me with the capture setting this way I mimic what they did but pull back those problem areas before working on the files.

Also, upon completion of the job I will supply them with a print just so I can close the loop, what with people viewing the images on an uncalibrated screen or whatnot.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:26 AM
Jon10 Jon10 is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

Thanks for all the answers - but here's another question...if your retouch is for print, would you normally convert to cmyk early-on to avoid any unexpected colour shifts at a later stage? If you supply colour proof prints, what type of print would you go for?

As you might guess, I'm taking my first steps in retouching
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:08 PM
Shoku Shoku is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

Quote:
That answers my next question to some extent - how much direction do you receive regarding the finished image?
That depends on the client and the amount of work that needs to be done. We always recommend a printed sample of what they are expecting (mock-ups, swatches, etc.), but that is not always possible. Most of the time we discuss the job over the phone.

Quote:
Thanks for all the answers - but here's another question...if your retouch is for print, would you normally convert to cmyk early-on to avoid any unexpected colour shifts at a later stage? If you supply colour proof prints, what type of print would you go for?
We may need to use all ten channels (RGB, LAB, CMYK) during the retouch, but the final conversion is always to CMYK. We were supplying Epson prints, but we now use an HP digital press for our proofs.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:36 PM
Jon10 Jon10 is offline
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Re: Question for the pro retouchers

That's great - thanks for all the answers.
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