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Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

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  #1  
Old 08-03-2009, 02:58 AM
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theautochthon theautochthon is offline
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Newbie Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

So...I recently graduated (from SVA) with a bfa in photography. I'm a fine art photographer with a boatload of 'student retouching' experience; took the Photoshop classes, can composite nearly anything (but I didn't say quickly), can successfully beauty retouch, regularly use Photoshop with my own images, have a working knowledge of color management, know how to use a colorimeter...you get the idea. So, here I am, unemployed and actively working on my retouching skills, hoping to gain some confidence and ultimately land a retouching job/internship/something related (that pays). I'm in the midst of my first freelance gig and really enjoying it. However, I've noticed my workflow really isn't up to speed a lot of the time, and I'm pretty sure I could be doing most tasks in less time/steps through a more efficient and better informed use of Photoshop. Also, I'm starting to realize (naturally) that I don't know quite as much as I thought I did. For instance, I'm still a bit mystified about the practical use of some layer blending modes...
Anyway, I would truly appreciate any advice as far as good resources for improving speed and efficiency, or any careering/professional advice for a New Yorker who understands the competitive nature of the field, and isn't quite sure where to begin. Thank you!
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:51 AM
Quantum3Studio Quantum3Studio is offline
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Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

Well... it's clear you need the experience.
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  #3  
Old 08-04-2009, 04:37 PM
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theautochthon theautochthon is offline
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Lightbulb Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

Thank you, Captain Obvious...
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:00 PM
eraanexact eraanexact is offline
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Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

I was a photo major as well, took all the photoshop classes, etc. I can say this though; I learned more in two weeks of experience in a real-world retouching studio than I ever did in art school. What made going to school for photography worth it was that I caught the attention of a teacher who knew of an opening in a retouching studio, and I've been doing it ever since.
The key to getting faster and more efficient is to just do that work over and over and over again. Nine years in and it's all second nature to me. There's no substitute for extensive, everyday practice
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:32 PM
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theautochthon theautochthon is offline
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Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

Eraanexact- Thanks so much.

I really like your website. I've thought about using Squarespace, how do you like it?
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:44 PM
eraanexact eraanexact is offline
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Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

No problem!

I'm a big fan of Squarespace, my girlfriend is Senior Designer there and she does fantastic work. Mine is custom, but there's a lot of style options to choose from. You could take the 14-day trial for a spin to see if you like it.
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:53 AM
Quantum3Studio Quantum3Studio is offline
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Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

theautochthon, you asked, I replied. You need something deeper? Here its:

If you want to get faster, make a list of all the steps you do for retouching and try to get some job that involves retouching large amounts of pictures of the same subject, like photos of a wedding or products. So you will find what techniques suits better for that and then you will become faster because you will be using no more than 3 good techniques for that over and over again. Then you will add more and more techniques to your repertory to play with.
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:27 AM
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theautochthon theautochthon is offline
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Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

Y'know, I realize I wasn't exactly clear with my question...I see that there's a forum related to resources (books/other sites)--that was kind of what I meant. I'm guess I'm looking to find out how other people do things so that I can make sure I'm not overlooking better solutions (example: I used to spend a lot of time making selections before I discovered luminosity masks, paths, etc). Anyway, thanks for your suggestion to make a list and work on a large batch of similar images, that's incredibly helpful. That's similar to the job I'm doing right now, and as you and Eraanexact have said, it's that kind of repetitive practice that really makes a difference.

A large part of the work I've done has been with black and white images. Do you think it's a bad idea to market myself as having a 'specialty'?
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:28 AM
Quantum3Studio Quantum3Studio is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

Quote:
Originally Posted by theautochthon View Post
Y'know, I realize I wasn't exactly clear with my question...I see that there's a forum related to resources (books/other sites)--that was kind of what I meant. I'm guess I'm looking to find out how other people do things so that I can make sure I'm not overlooking better solutions (example: I used to spend a lot of time making selections before I discovered luminosity masks, paths, etc). Anyway, thanks for your suggestion to make a list and work on a large batch of similar images, that's incredibly helpful. That's similar to the job I'm doing right now, and as you and Eraanexact have said, it's that kind of repetitive practice that really makes a difference.

A large part of the work I've done has been with black and white images. Do you think it's a bad idea to market myself as having a 'specialty'?
I personally think having an speciality makes you special, and payment also will be special.
I also do love b/w so I'm improving my b/w technique all the time. I had a client who paid me 4 times more for pictures in b/w than for the color ones.

You know, one of my first experiences as photoretoucher was editing nudes/erotic pictures. The client sent me a couple of pics tosee my skills and I was 90 minutes for those 2 pics. My client told me to do it in 15 mins each, that he will send 120 in the next days. I was quite shocked. However, after editing 15 pics I was doing 1 per hour, 30 pictures later 3 per hour. Afer 120 pics I begin doing 1 each 5-8 minutes. Thinking a workflow is very important.

When we start doing any kind of job we always want to do it perfect, and we don't measure the time each pic takes, mostly because we're too familiarized retouching our own pics, but, taking into account the deadlines, I had had to draw an strategy of work, otherwise I would fail. So measuring what's perfect is a must and that will be dictated by the use the images will have. Some pictures are not meant to be hang on the wall, meaning they're thrown to the trash can after used. So making them look good is just enough, and enough means perfect. The picture reachs its goal.
After you get a really nice technique that you probed it works in most of the pictures you have, you just make and action. I have several actions for every client. Each client has a personal way to take the shots, just focusing your workflow to the clients workflow makes you work like a sweden/switzerland clock.

Keep in mind that the client usualy don't know what he/she wants and make sure to draw the line or your time will be overused. That line is made by the services you offer for certain amount of money. Be as much clear as possible with those lines in order to draw the limits and that line can be used with every new client.
Limits makes things much clear and helps to avoid misunderstoods (and of course, that line also says who's professional and who's not).

I think this will help you a lot

Have a good day!

Mart
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:02 AM
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aartist aartist is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Please Help, O Wise RetouchPro Community!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum3Studio View Post
<snip> I was 90 minutes for those 2 pics. My client told me to do it in 15 mins each, that he will send 120 in the next days. I was quite shocked. However, after editing 15 pics I was doing 1 per hour, 30 pictures later 3 per hour. Afer 120 pics I begin doing 1 each 5-8 minutes. Thinking a workflow is very important.

When we start <snip> we always want to do it perfect, and we don't measure the time each pic takes, <snip> I had had to draw an strategy of work, otherwise I would fail.<snip>
Very well put.

I felt same way when I had a couple hundred restorations that needed to be done by certain dead line. Well, you get pretty good at it as you roll along and become pretty efficient also along the way.

The age old question, in all industries. Quality versus Quantity? You need to decide a happy balance, taking into account the questions - What, Where, Why AND FOR WHOM?
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