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Gaining a solid foundation in retouching

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  • Gaining a solid foundation in retouching

    Because this is my first post on this forum, let me start with a small introduction. I'm Willem-Aart, 24 years old, living in The Netherlands and somewhat obsessed by automotive photography.

    During the 3-4 years I've been photographing cars, I've learned a lot about photography and retouching. Still, my images look like they are being made by an amateur. I'm lacking a solid foundation in both photography and retouching, I'm too much driven by feelings and experience and too little by knowledge.

    While I'm able to produce decent images, it's doesn't even come close to the work of a pro. I want to be able to design a strong image, photograph it and retouch/composite it into a stunning visual. I'm comfortable at photographing, but not at designing and retouching since I don't really know what I'm doing.

    Color theory, the basic principles of art, perspective, it's all still a big mystery to me. A strong understanding of these topics would help a great deal in both image design and retouching. Which learning resources are the best on these topics? I've already bought 'The Photographers Eye' by Michael Freeman, which is focussed on composition and image design, but not so much at color theory.

    Secondly, I really need to get comfortable with Photoshop. Sure, I know a thing or two about the relevant tools, but don't ask me in-depth questions about color modes/spaces/profiles, channels, blending modes, sharpening, bit depth and so on. While it probably won't make a huge difference for the look and quality of my images, I would love to work more efficient and actually know what I'm doing. Can anyone of you recommend some training material (books, videos) that will teach me the ins and outs of Photoshop, relevant for a retoucher? I'm doing things like replacing skies while I don't know how color channels work. It feels as if I'm running while I don't know how to walk.

    These books seem useful:

    - 'Adobe Photoshop for Photographers' by Martin Evening
    - 'Photoshop Artistry' by Barry Haynes and Wendy Crumpler
    - 'Photoshop Masking & Compositing' by Katrin Eismann
    - 'Photoshop LAB Color' by Dan Magulis

    The only thing that can't be found in a book is how to give that 'commercial look' to a photo. But I guess I can discover that on my own after I'm comfortable with colors, retouching tools and so on.

    I'm sorry to you people that this post is about me, myself and I but writing this is also a way to make up my mind. Hopefully you are able and willing to provide some information about what I have to learn to comfortably produce high quality and interesting imagery.

    Thanks for replying in advance!
    Last edited by mcdronkz; 10-07-2011, 04:25 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Gaining a solid foundation in retouching

    You sound well poised for an ambitious undertaking.

    There are some good video rentals from Doug at RetouchPro:

    Also take a look around here and check out some of their videos for sale:


    • #3
      Re: Gaining a solid foundation in retouching

      A few behind the scenes videos from porsche:



      • #4
        Re: Gaining a solid foundation in retouching

        Thanks for both suggestions! Really appreciate it!

        The book written by Martin Evening looks really good.

        Who knows a useful book on color theory?

        Any other suggestions with regards to my first post are highly welcome!