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Thread: Professional photo retouching

  1. #1

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    Rod

    Professional photo retouching

    Does anyone use a professional photo retoucher for their paid work or do you retouch your own work?. I read a posting on someones picture, that to get to a high standard of retouching that the pros do would take years of practice and experience.
    Last edited by mrrod; 7th January 2013 at 11:26 AM.

  2. #2

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    Bobo

    Re: Professional photo retouching

    Simple maths - if he is not shooting then he is not making money. The more he makes the better he is able to hire someone with the right pp skills. The hard part is finding one who can replicate his style and vision as he sees it.

  3. #3
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Professional photo retouching

    Rod - To become proficient at anything does take time and practice. Most professional photographers that I know do their own (and charge for it). In the case of larger studios, the studio assistant gets to do this work and in some cases the commercial photo printers (the custom printers, not the consumer / mass market ones) also offer this service. I'm not a pro, so anything I do is part of the fun, so I don't really care how long the PP takes.

    That being said, it depends on the level of retouching you are looking for. If all you want to do is adjust the contrast, colour balance and clean up a few blemishes, those skills do not take a long time to learn, and in fact do not take a long time. Any serious photographer should have some PP software and learn these skills as images straight out of the camera are rarely ever good enough. One wedding pro that I do know fairly well tells me that he spends a maximum of 10 minutes in Photoshop, and that is when the customer has ordered a medium to large size custom print.

    Any photographer I know will try to get things right in the camera, to minimize PP work. Lighting, hair styling and makeup are the key to getting a portrait, but there will always be a stray hair here or there and something the makeup did not cover properly. As Bobo said in the previous posting, the view is that you are making money while out shooting, sitting behind a computer using Photoshop.

    Sometimes, especially if you are doing landscape or architectural photography, this is not always possible to get the shot you want with power lines and other elements you don't want in the scene. In this case, you do not have any choice and major surgery is the only solution, but with the modern PP tools, this really does not take all that long to learn and do.

  4. #4
    New Member
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    Julia Kuzmenko McKim

    Re: Professional photo retouching

    I am a professional photographer and retoucher, and I teach photographers how to become a pro retoucher for themselves or even retouch for other photographers without spending years on studying Photoshop and elaborate techniques. My work is on www.juliakuzmenko.com

    I've released my first eBook on Essentials a couple of months ago. It's called "Creative Retouching Essentials in a day": http://omahaimageproductions.com/ebooks-essentials.html
    and working on the advanced retouching interactive eBook at the moment, "From Amateur to Pro in a week": http://omahaimageproductions.com/ebo...ur-to-pro.html

    I strongly believe that if a photographer is led by a good educator, the transformation from zero-retouching-skills-photographer to a pro retoucher (for own work or other photographers) doesn't need to take years.
    Julia

  5. #5

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    Re: Professional photo retouching

    Some really impressive work you have there Julia.

    Welcome to CiC.

  6. #6
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Professional photo retouching

    You do have some very nice work Julia, but let's agree to disagree on how long it takes to learn to be a competent retoucher. If you take a competent Photoshop user and teach him or her new skills, the learning curve will be quite short. On the other hand if you take someone with limited or no computer skills, much less PP skills, it will take much longer. There are three components that are required to be competent in anything:

    1. Knowledge of the tool itself. This is basic button pushing stuff, i.e. how to work in Photoshop;
    2. Application of the tool. This is how to use the tool to achieve the results; and
    3. Experience. Good old fashioned "practice makes perfect".

    Books and online courses can help with points 1 and 2. Courses with a real live instructor who provides feedback is even better. Point 3 is the one that takes the longest and that is really what you have to do to become competent and that is something no book, course or instructor can speed along.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 9th January 2013 at 01:13 AM.

  7. #7

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    J stands for John

    Re: Professional photo retouching

    I would add a fourth line to Manfreds list
    4. An appreciation of what looks 'right'
    Much of editing is basic common sense and knowing what the camera would have produced given everything was perfect on the day. Camera and editing skills need to be learnt in tandem, one without the other is like hobbling along on one leg.

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