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How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

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  • How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

    What I find that many newcomers to the world of retouching (primarily photographers) already acquire some "knowledge" and habits from around the web, and then start asking questions. I can't help but notice so many questions are being asked over and over again, and the reason being that people think there is a secret that noone is letting out. When then find out that there is no secret, many think that learning everything all over again is just too much, so they go back to their routine, which is not resulting in any artistic progress.
    Maybe this is because the first thing they learned was so wrong, and now the re-learning is an additional effort, especially after investing time to learn the wrong way in the first place.
    If you want to have the same results as the best in any profession, you simply have to work just as hard as they do, that is obvious, but how is it that so many are gravitating towards the "bad" teachings when they are starting out? Wouldn't it just be easier to go forward instead of zig zagging?

  • #2
    Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

    Should I learn LUTs?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

      Originally posted by Benny Profane View Post
      Should I learn LUTs?
      You should learn what they are. That’s a good start.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

        Originally posted by Benny Profane View Post
        Should I learn LUTs?
        If someone is starting out today and wants to go that route, I would suggest an entire list of things that are merely tangential, because you might end up going in one of several directions careerwise. LUTs are often used in color correcting video as an alternative to embedding ICC profiles. Depending on the package you can often specify a different input LUT for any piece of source data as well as additional one for viewing. You typically don't save the data itself into the working space. Rather the numbers for that specific file aren't altered, only the layers or nodes (nodes > layers) that are created for it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

          Yeah, the problem for these people (and I was one of them) is that they start by learning things like LUTs. It's just a tool, if you don't know what you want your image to look like in the end, it'll get you nowhere.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

            There was recently a discussion among pros on Linkedin about whether or not one should be concerned about working on an elaborate file with obvious issues as it's handed off to you in a studio environment, enough to point it out to the manager. I advised, keep your mouth shut, head down, and do your magic on that version. But, you know, if I was in a pro studio and was handed a file with LUTs used for cc, I would avoid my own advise and shout, wtf is this?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

              The majority of imaging media is built around promoting the "secret recipes" notion. It sucks, but it's their business model. "Buy my book/video to learn the one weird trick that's keeping you off the cover of Vogue". I suspect that's one (of many) reasons my videos never set the industry afire as I always went out of my way to try and put the lie to that myth. But many industries (diets, resumes, SEO, herbal supplements, religion, etc.) are based around the fact that people want there to be a secret.

              People want the voodoo. Because if there is a secret trick then it doesn't come down to talent and practice.
              Learn by teaching
              Take responsibility for learning

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                Works best in diet scams and now these magic braces they advertise on TV for the knees and elbows. Nobody wants to face a reality that most problems are solved head on with diligence and concentrated application of skills. Or that they should exercise and stop eating so much.
                I recently was talking to an amateur who owned an expensive Canon top of the line DSLR, whatever that is these days, and told me he can't be bothered working with raw images. Really. All that money, and he lets a tiny computer in a camera decide what he is going to get in the end, all the while compressing and degrading it. But, that's easy, right? It's like magic! Push button.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                  People are lazy, people want instant gratification and instant results.

                  @skoobey: The beauty of zig zagging is this, The end is always near and short hub away.....till you reach the end and find, the hard way, that there is another road to travel.

                  Why should I learn every tool Photoshop has to offer if there is a "secret" button to click that dose everything for me?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                    I think it's pretty simple. The idea that there are no secrets, no push button magic for a "vogue look" (I love that term) and you need to just doodle on the d&b layers, whatever you use, for an hour or two or three and then a few simple targeted curves, and a few more, no magic... it's just to big to grasp for most of the people. How could that be? They surely have something up their sleeve.

                    Second, retouching is a pretty secretive business. Show me three people making valuable tutorials showing a real agency workflow and common best practices. And I mean real life setup and flow. People really do believe there are magic tools and CSI-style breakdowns going on these magazine shots.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                      Originally posted by insmac View Post
                      Show me three people making valuable tutorials showing a real agency workflow and common best practices. And I mean real life setup and flow.
                      http://www.retouchpro.com/index.php?page=adrentals2
                      http://www.retouchpro.com/index.php?page=ctrentals2
                      http://www.retouchpro.com/index.php?page=cbrentals
                      Learn by teaching
                      Take responsibility for learning

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                        Incidentally this pattern is not only evident in retouching but in photography itself as well.

                        There definitely is the 'magic trick' phenomenon going on that is the basis for every single email in your spam filter. Also, many of those 'new comers' aren't really career professionals in photography or retouching, but it's either a side-gig, or a re-tread. As such they don't have the mentality to invest into it the same way a career professional would.

                        That speaks to the reasons of demand for tricks, and lack of learning interest.

                        But why so many bad teachers? Well, for one in the Internet of age everyone isn't only a photographer but also a teacher. But there is a whole bubble economy of 'workshops' out there in the industry. The vast majority being taught not by people who actually know anything about teaching. Many are taught by photographer's who saw their traditional business dry up or get harder. So they found that it's actually a lot easier and quicker to make some money just demoing they way they shoot (without discussion of the why) and setting up quack shoots for others to pray and spray at. They're then being funded or sponsored by people trying to sell useless magic gadgets, which further derails good teaching.

                        There are some good teachers, and some good workshops. But they are in the minority.

                        The only hope is that just like the housing boom, this is a bubble that will burst before too long. When the magic tricks don't materialize, and nobody gets that Vogue cover after all, and being a photographer no longer is a babe magnet, and we've finally run out of mega pixels to add to our camera bodies in meaningful ways, then they will move on and find another bubble to play in.

                        The reason that spills over into retouching is that all those images on the web that weren't shot for clients or on bargain budgets don't really leave room giving the image to a retoucher. So they have to DYI it. And they're looking for the same type of tricks they've been sold on their cameras.
                        Last edited by jklier; 04-20-2015, 05:43 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                          Originally posted by jklier View Post
                          Incidentally this pattern is not only evident in retouching but in photography itself as well.

                          There definitely is the 'magic trick' phenomenon going on that is the basis for every single email in your spam filter. Also, many of those 'new comers' aren't really career professionals in photography or retouching, but it's either a side-gig, or a re-tread. As such they don't have the mentality to invest into it the same way a career professional would.

                          That speaks to the reasons of demand for tricks, and lack of learning interest.

                          But why so many bad teachers? Well, for one in the Internet of age everyone isn't only a photographer but also a teacher. But there is a whole bubble economy of 'workshops' out there in the industry. The vast majority being taught not by people who actually know anything about teaching. Many are taught by photographer's who saw their traditional business dry up or get harder. So they found that it's actually a lot easier and quicker to make some money just demoing they way they shoot (without discussion of the why) and setting up quack shoots for others to pray and spray at. They're then being funded or sponsored by people trying to sell useless magic gadgets, which further derails good teaching.

                          There are some good teachers, and some good workshops. But they are in the minority.

                          The only hope is that just like the housing boom, this is a bubble that will burst before too long. When the magic tricks don't materialize, and nobody gets that Vogue cover after all, and being a photographer no longer is a babe magnet, and we've finally run out of mega pixels to add to our camera bodies in meaningful ways, then they will move on and find another bubble to play in.

                          The reason that spills over into retouching is that all those images on the web that weren't shot for clients or on bargain budgets don't really leave room giving the image to a retoucher. So they have to DYI it. And they're looking for the same type of tricks they've been sold on their cameras.
                          Well said!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                            Originally posted by jklier View Post
                            Incidentally this pattern is not only evident in retouching but in photography itself as well.

                            There definitely is the 'magic trick' phenomenon going on that is the basis for every single email in your spam filter. Also, many of those 'new comers' aren't really career professionals in photography or retouching, but it's either a side-gig, or a re-tread. As such they don't have the mentality to invest into it the same way a career professional would.

                            That speaks to the reasons of demand for tricks, and lack of learning interest.

                            But why so many bad teachers? Well, for one in the Internet of age everyone isn't only a photographer but also a teacher. But there is a whole bubble economy of 'workshops' out there in the industry. The vast majority being taught not by people who actually know anything about teaching. Many are taught by photographer's who saw their traditional business dry up or get harder. So they found that it's actually a lot easier and quicker to make some money just demoing they way they shoot (without discussion of the why) and setting up quack shoots for others to pray and spray at. They're then being funded or sponsored by people trying to sell useless magic gadgets, which further derails good teaching.

                            There are some good teachers, and some good workshops. But they are in the minority.

                            The only hope is that just like the housing boom, this is a bubble that will burst before too long. When the magic tricks don't materialize, and nobody gets that Vogue cover after all, and being a photographer no longer is a babe magnet, and we've finally run out of mega pixels to add to our camera bodies in meaningful ways, then they will move on and find another bubble to play in.

                            The reason that spills over into retouching is that all those images on the web that weren't shot for clients or on bargain budgets don't really leave room giving the image to a retoucher. So they have to DYI it. And they're looking for the same type of tricks they've been sold on their cameras.
                            I saw some data recently that some photographers make a little over half of their income doing workshops. Talk about incestual. Many cases of the blind leading the blind, but, there seems to be a lot of people out there with money that pays for bad to mediocre advice, so, there wouldn't be a market without that, I suppose.

                            I fear that, after outsourcing and the internet (stock and just plain old theft) has killed the photography market, that the robots, just like in so many other businesses, will deal the final blow, especially to the retouching trade. So many want it to be push button easy, and they'll probably get it, with push button skin programs and no brainer special effect software. Hell, most cameras being sold today are phones, and that trend is accelerating. You know that 90% of those images, if not just ignored or thrown away, wind up on something like Instagram, and get all hipped up with push button "retouching". This, unfortunately, is good enough for some clients, especially when they get it incredibly cheap or for free. I have to admit, in the hands of a good designer on a budget, some are good enough. It's all a race to the bottom, especially when consultants preach that something like a LUT is a tool to be taken seriously by good retouchers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How did we get here? So many bad "teachers"...

                              Originally posted by Benny Profane View Post
                              I fear that, after outsourcing and the internet (stock and just plain old theft) has killed the photography market, that the robots, just like in so many other businesses, will deal the final blow, especially to the retouching trade. So many want it to be push button easy, and they'll probably get it, with push button skin programs and no brainer special effect software. Hell, most cameras being sold today are phones, and that trend is accelerating. You know that 90% of those images, if not just ignored or thrown away, wind up on something like Instagram, and get all hipped up with push button "retouching". This, unfortunately, is good enough for some clients, especially when they get it incredibly cheap or for free. I have to admit, in the hands of a good designer on a budget, some are good enough.
                              The market for photography has definitely changed a lot in recent years, and of course that has downstream effects on retouching and other related services.

                              Some of this has been good, some of it has been bad. As in all change, we come out ok on the other end, but we have to adjust our business along the way or we become roadkill.

                              The two primary changes I see is that the flood of images (by some estimates we take more photos every day today, than in the first 100 years of photography combined) has made us less sensitive to quality. If you are oversaturated with average photos, average becomes the new standard.

                              The other change is that the value perception of a photo has changed. Since everyone is a photographer now, and since on the surface digital appears to be 'free', it seems weird to some to pay a premium price for a photo. It has become a commodity.

                              Those two combined means that in many markets there is no longer a budget for photography, or the budgets are so small that it's not sustaining a business anymore, maybe just cover some expenses.

                              There are hold-outs in the commercial space, where brands still see the effect of a well produced image. And there have been some people who are starting to see brands actually move away from crowd sourcing and micro stock and pay for photography again.

                              But those areas are now a niche industry. It will most likely do reasonably well for a small group of pros that can innovate, morph along a changing landscape, and deliver value to those that can appreciate it.

                              On the plus side, we've become more visual than ever. So there is lots of opportunity to work in visual assets. It may just not be photography and retouching in the old sense.

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