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Is there such a thing as a good photo? :D

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  • Is there such a thing as a good photo? :D

    I find it amazing how much of the final look is made in post production. I can't remember the last time someone wanted a simple clean up. The difference between a great image and amateur production is the retouching.

    So I wonder how come there are so few actual great retouchers out there???

  • #2
    Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

    Quite the contrary.

    The issue is we are a bit short-sighted due to working mainly in beauty/fashion/product field, of which the current "acceptable" output standards require heavy postproduction because no one has such skin, there are no makeup artists applying cosmetics with surgical precision, there are no such skin colours and the list goes on.
    And also, the digital image is less forgiving, I come from medium format field, years of scanning high quality materials but the thing is a person looks better on negative than digital capture. The way film evens out skin, applies a local contrast is unique.

    And yes, photographers are lazy and don't have the craft in hand. That said, there are exceptions, but the shift toward 'fire and forget' type of post in general is just sad.

    But then when you go for magnum photographers, landscape photography (especially the carefully crafted social documentary pieces) you see a whole new world of artsmanship.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

      Originally posted by skoobey View Post
      I find it amazing how much of the final look is made in post production. I can't remember the last time someone wanted a simple clean up. The difference between a great image and amateur production is the retouching.

      So I wonder how come there are so few actual great retouchers out there???
      I would have to disagree with this. The images you get from top fashion photographers are usually fantastic SOOC and there is often very little corrective work required. The whole team has done a great job before the files get to the retoucher. Sometimes almost no skin work at all is necessary. A lot of the retouching time is taken on squeezing that extra level of quality out of images which, to most people's eyes, already look great.
      On the other hand, when you get work from lesser photographers, there can be a lot of skin work and other corrections to be done to lift the image to an acceptable level.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

        Oh, no, I am not talking about clean up, I am talking about coloring, toning. It's crazy how much shading goes into making images "deeper".

        And I am not complaining, it's just an observation.

        Photographer is great, everyone is great, image looks great, camera is great, but it just can't look good without that retouch. Maybe this is a good thing, our collective standard for the beautiful has risen to the another level.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

          Originally posted by skoobey View Post
          Oh, no, I am not talking about clean up, I am talking about coloring, toning. It's crazy how much shading goes into making images "deeper".

          And I am not complaining, it's just an observation.

          Photographer is great, everyone is great, image looks great, camera is great, but it just can't look good without that retouch. Maybe this is a good thing, our collective standard for the beautiful has risen to the another level.
          It's not always as difficult to achieve a look as it may seem from the point of view of "How did they..."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

            Um... no... but for more complex shading, it really does take time(up to a couple of hours per person) to do it proper (mert and marcus kind of thing).

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

              That's true, but you're citing a highly post-produced example. Most work is far more natural than Mert & Marcus.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

                Ahahah, it's just that I haven't had clients like that as of late ahaha.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

                  It's not like in the old days where you had to get it right on film without recourse. Back then you had to get everything right on set: clean backdrop, good hair, proper color-tested film stock of the appropriate contrast & saturation range. Back then you'd light, gel, process, etc, for final out of camera results.

                  Very nice. But also very laborious, expensive, time consuming, and anything but foolproof.

                  Now one shoots for post processing, with a much wider range of latitude down the road. So one will often shoot/raw-process dark (preserve highlights), flat (low contrast), low saturation, and undersharpened. The reason being, that anything too much in the other direction is harder to ameliorate after the fact. It's generally better to increase contrast, sat, sharpening, etc, in PS than decrease

                  So the OOC image of today is much farther from final form than a shot of yesteryear, but that's by intention, and for good reason: to deliver a good product for the post processing stage.

                  Having said all that, some photogs are obviously better at providing stellar results, at any stage of the process, that others. And many over rely on retouching to save their butts. But don't despair, that's good news for retouchers. It's work.

                  (Sorry if I'm being overly didactic. I seem to be that way of late.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

                    Originally posted by AKMac View Post
                    That's true, but you're citing a highly post-produced example. Most work is far more natural than Mert & Marcus.
                    My past experience suggests it varies by photographer. It's worth pointing out that even with a good original, it's very easy to screw up the image with bad post work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

                      Digital post work turns a great photo into a fabulous one but it won't take a mediocre photo (technically speaking) into a great one. In the same way, great photographers used to spend hours in the darkroom (or their printers did) turning a great photo (negative) into a fabulous print.

                      Even in the days I was shooting 8x10 tranny, a dupe was often made and then sent to the retouchers to be hand-retouched using dyes, etc.

                      It has always been the case the initial photograph can be, was and is, improved in some way by some form of post production, either digital, darkroom or artist.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

                        That's pretty much the way I see it franko. Just to add another level of 'fiddling', I used to work with a photographer who shot neg (despite tranny being the norm) and then had his brother make hand prints. The depth of colour achieved was remarkable to my eyes and was superior to tranny. When the prints were perfect we would spend time getting the perfect RGB scan. Only when everything was to his satisfaction did we retouch and this was only ever to improve a detail here and there.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Is there such a thing as a good photo?

                          Originally posted by Flashtones View Post
                          It's not like in the old days where you had to get it right on film without recourse. Back then you had to get everything right on set: clean backdrop, good hair, proper color-tested film stock of the appropriate contrast & saturation range. Back then you'd light, gel, process, etc, for final out of camera results.

                          Very nice. But also very laborious, expensive, time consuming, and anything but foolproof.

                          Now one shoots for post processing, with a much wider range of latitude down the road. So one will often shoot/raw-process dark (preserve highlights), flat (low contrast), low saturation, and undersharpened. The reason being, that anything too much in the other direction is harder to ameliorate after the fact. It's generally better to increase contrast, sat, sharpening, etc, in PS than decrease

                          So the OOC image of today is much farther from final form than a shot of yesteryear, but that's by intention, and for good reason: to deliver a good product for the post processing stage.

                          Having said all that, some photogs are obviously better at providing stellar results, at any stage of the process, that others. And many over rely on retouching to save their butts. But don't despair, that's good news for retouchers. It's work.

                          (Sorry if I'm being overly didactic. I seem to be that way of late.)
                          And that is why photography used to be so much better.

                          Comment

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