Hi Natalia,I had see your vedio and learn more technique,Thanks you a lot.But I still have question troubled me a long time.Just is that how can I get fashion skin tone when complished DB.I don't know how to do and I try to find a answer from youtube,even though I seems not good.
How long have you been doing it? Being good at D&B takes a lot of practice
Usually people are saying work with 16 bit.But I m confused about that.I shoot raw and open the file as a 8 bit with adobe camera raw . If I chance 8 bit to 16 bit in photoshop I've lost my info already ? I mean It must be open as a 16 bit with Adobe Camera Raw without lose info from raw file ?
You always lose info when converting but if you want to work in 16 bits you can export from
Camera raw or Lightroom or capture one directly in 16 bits
Bonjour... i have nothing to ask but something to say... THANK YOU ! your advice and philosophie help me a lot in my will to become a real good retoucher. I'm French, so if you organise a workshop in Paris maybe i will participate. Have a good day. PS - Forgive my english :-) Karim.
Hi, My name is Sarah. I am an 18 year old student studying a 2 year Graphic Design & Illustration course at Plymouth College of Art. My course comes to an end in June this year so I have been investigating future career opportunities. During my research I came across high-end photo re-touching and your training products. I am very interested in pursuing this field as a career & I was wandering if there was any advice you could give me as to how I would go about achieving this? Thanks in advance
I have several posts about that:
“So you want to be a retoucher”
“Unsolicited advice I and II “
The client is always right
We all learn in the same way. Rather, the same two ways: A conscious way and an unconscious way.
The conscious one, we can think of it as a ladder.
- First Step -
We all start in a state of unconscious incompetence, in which we can’t know what we do not know, ignorance of ignorance.
You could say that when we discover photoshop and modify some photos (put the head of a friend in the body of Jean -Claude Van Damme as a game) we are all there, we suck but we have no idea. Nobody says it. Everyone compliments you .
The first things I did in photoshop were horrible but I thought I was the next prodigy in the subject and that everything I did was great! However, the harsh reality was that I was not evenclose. Of course I did not have the discretion to notice. Until one day someone literally told me : Baby, you suck.
- Second Step -
The knowledge of ignorance.
Here is where things change. Once we stop cryingin the corner of the room asking “why did this happen to me,” we makea decision between learning or just keep on sucking.
If we decide to learn: we study, read, ask ,watch videos, tutorials, bother people in the industry give us their ultra secret techniques (cough cough ) practice and practiced some more until, more or less, we can do it. Then we are in the third step.
- Third Step -
State of Conscious Competence is the knowledge of what is known. Yes, I can retouch photos, maybe we even paid for it , but even then, we have to go back occasionally to a tutorial or think about the steps . I am also aware of my shortcomings and my limits.
This state is the longest and where mostpeople are as it takes years sometimes of practice to get to the next step. Some will never leave this stage.
- Fourth -
Unconscious Competence. I do not even think about it, I make aesthetic decisions without being able to explain why. It seems to be easy for me and I appear as a natural talent. Who ever sees me working assumes that I was born with a Wacom pen in my hand, that I have a special feeling for art and photography and that I’m a genius.
Which is absolutely untrue since neither genius nor talent are a real thing in my opinion.
Once a critic called Sarasate (a greatSpanish violinist) a “genius “. Irritated, he shook his head and exclaimed,”Genius ” for thirty-seven years I’ve practiced fourteen hours a day and now they call me a genius!.
Practice is the process by which we train the brain to respond automatically when we’re not under pressure, so you do not have to think about when you are.
" The only truth is reality"Aristotle
The reality is that the concept of talent, so ingrained in our society, falls through and the greatest artists end up being nothing but a group of humans with a common history and skills developed according to their life experiences.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is called, in all the biographies, a prodigy child. What is not taken into account in the history books is that Mozart’s father was a mediocre musician and Mozart ‘s older sister a frustrated in advance musician (simply because of being female)
Sure, if after three years of sitting a child at the piano and forcing him to practice for hours daily, at 5 years we will have a great pianist. Show me a child prodigy and show you a mild case of child abuse.
Nobody is born with talent and no one is born with discretion. The criteria, or sensitivity to visual art forms as well as visual perception is developed in the same way you develop your palate for food.
An example I always give is wine (Like the good argentine I am)
6 years ago did not drink red wine, I did not like it, did not know how to appreciate it. At that point I could have been given an Italian Cabernet worth 300 euros, the best grapes and the best year and a glass of the worse quality house case wine, and I wouldn’t have told the difference. Simply because my palate wasn’t developed to recognize the difference.
Today, after much (much) practice, I can recognize 4 different glasses of different grapes: cabernet, malbec, syrah, pinot noir simply because I developed my palate. But still, I could not separate a cabernet 1996 from one of 2012 and is not because they are not distinctive enough - A sommelier would be shocked at my ignorance - but because I still have to learn. So I still have a lot of practice ahead, to be able to compete with the restaurant maître.
Likewise, we can train the eye to distinguish the good from the bad, from the ugly. Tones and luminosity densities.
Unconscious learning is completely different and has more to do purely with the sensory experience.
From birth or even before we are constantly exposed to stimuli from which we learn.
A simple example: I go to the stove; I get burnt, hot stove.
The brain stores this information in the database and constantly confirms it to then alter perception and adapt behavior.
This also explains why a girl of only 9 years old sings ‘O mio expensive Babino ’ just seeing some videos on youtube, a little research will show that the father is an organist, she’s got flautist mother and her brother plays the violin. I let you draw your own conclusions about her.
I will not go into detail about what is generated in childhood, as we have no control over it, and it’s to late to do something about it. But something we can control is the stimulus to which we expose ourselves in the process of becoming experts.
Every time we look at a photograph of poor quality we are teaching the brain “This is how a picture should look”. No matter how many years then, we practice the craft, our idea of “should be”is wrong and therefore, basically, we would be practicing, again and again, how to take ugly pictures.
That happened to me at first. When I got into the subject of retouching I did it as a hobby, I didn’t know there was an outlet for the skill since I didn’t even know there was a market.
If I’m completely honest, I had no idea there was a market for fashion or photography. To me, a fashion photographer was a man who wanted to see scantily clad ladies so he put a camera in between so that his intentions were not so transparent. Perverts, with expensive equipment. Now I know the reality of the industry from inside so I can tell you that I was correct: photographers are perverts with expensive equipment, but most of those who are successful also have the knowledge and skills to generate beautiful art.
But, in short, I did not have the judgment to separate the good photography (references) from the bad ones.
You might be wondering now… Is there a way to generate criteria? Because, so far, it sounds like a “catch 22”.
In fact I’d go to the extreme of claiming most people are here, they lack the right “should be” to be able to generate interesting content in spite of having tried and practiced for years.
Nobody is born with good taste and you need to consume good things to generate criteria and keep it sharpen it.
How can you discriminate what “good things”are, however, if you do not know?
By understanding and accepting two basic axioms
1. There is good and bad beyond personaltaste (as
2 . In every art form there are different strata.
You can describe any creative market with a series of concentric circles.
(Vanguard (masses (Quality( ELITE ) Value ) masses ) Vanguard)
From the outside in, the largest to the smallest:
Vanguard: Beyond the artistic movement with the same name , the most basic meaning of the word comes from the experimentation, as in trying new things.
There is where most who start a new discipline, are. In my classes I always emphasize that, in order to break the rules, we must know them first. One ofthe hardest bad habits to break in new photographers/retouchers/designers isthis one. I would be rich if I had a nickel for every time someone said, “I do not need to know how other people do it because I want to do something different to everyone, my own style”
Because it’s so common and comes from normal socially conditioned behavior, this circle is the one that contains more individuals.
Masses: As we all know, it doesn’t take muchto satisfy the needs of masses. With a little glitter, lights and bright colors one can generate a reaction among people and become a ” success" overnight.
Examples abound. From reality TV without any cultural content but with a lot rating, through the singer with very nice attributes but none of them is the voice, to the cases we are most competent in the industry and the ones THAT ARE MY PERSONAL pet peeve:
Photography gurus with thousands of fans and no portfolio, those who never appeared in any magazine, not exhibited in any museum or work for any brands, and yet make a living telling others what to do and get rich thanks to the ignorant novice.
Quality: This is where the circle gets smaller; it has fewer people in it and it’s more difficult to meet the standards proposed in this stratum. I always say that it doesn’t matter if your photo has ONLY 3 likes if they are project managers of advertising agencies.The true meaning of high end has to do with quality, finished detail.
What determines the quality will be different in different markets, but there are always parameters that are common within each niche and to determine, establish and even create these parameters we follow those in the elite.
Elite: In any market there is an elite of trendsetters.
If one wants to pursue editorial portrait one needs to buy magazines like Rolling Stones, Times, Esquire; get to know photographers ranging from Richard Avedon, via Marco Grob and Platon to the controversial Terry Richardson.
If you want to make it into fashion your magazine rack will not miss the latest issue of Vogue or Numéro and names likePeter Lindbergh, Mario Testino and Mert & Marcus will draw a smile to your face.
When it comes to a commercial market, theelite consists of brands, who did the last season Gucci (fashion), Rolex ad (StillLife), Max or Lancome (Beauty), etc.
Understanding the niche in which one moves, its codes and languages, is another important part of the learning process.
Finally and concluding:
Visual perception (the critical eye ,sensitivity to art, or whatever you want to call it) can be developed.
Nobody is born with culture. Beyond a possible minimum, genetic predisposition or prenatal/early childhood influence,one has to generate it - with time and dedication - Keep it and cultivate it.
 Annie Murphy Paulscientific writer calls it the gray zone between nature and nurture in his bookOrigines
Hola mucho gusto Natalia, te escribo desde Ecuador soy Freddy Barreiro y me dedico al diseño grafico entre otras cosas aun no encuentro en que especializarme me gusta de todo un poco pero bueno eso no es lo que queria hablarte quiero que sepas que acabo de ver un entrevista que te hicieron via hangout y he quedado facinado con tu forma de pensar, experiencia y consejos que has dado de verdad me han hecho reflecionar mucho en serio admiro tu trabajo queria saber si te gustaria venir a Ecuador?
Hi Natalia! I absolutely love your work and everything you are doing for the retouching industry. I have watched all your videos and cant get enough! I was wondering what/who else you would recommend to find more high quality instruction like yours? You also mention sometimes that you read alot of forums, which ones do you go to? or which would you recommend?
ModelMayhem usually :)
Things I recommend:
Real Retouching: A Professional Step-by-Step Guide by Carrie BeeneDVD: Beauty Retouching Techniques, Gry Garness
About the cloud format it self as a business decision, I think software development is a constant responsibility and takes a huge team to keep innovating constantly so it makes sense to price it monthly.
The cloud works great for the user and has lot of creative advantages. If you’re a working professional (unless you live in a country where exchange is not convenient) you can afford the software you need to use EVERY DAY
For hobbyist might be more complicated but, if you already have the license for CS6, you don’t NEED to update since you don’t use it professionally (make money with it)
I like the link they created with behance (giving you a pro site)
I like the storage they give you
I like to be able to access updates instantly and not having to wait for a new version.
There’s a lot of good things about it and only a potentially bad one, the price. But if you find worth in it, it’s not really an issue.
Hey Natalia, I've been watching retouching videos and reading blogs for a while now. I'm really keen to start trying to become a retoucher but was wondering where would be the best place to get files that I can start to practice on?
Hi Natalia, I previewed your DVD and am considering purchasing it, I love your work and your style! I was wondering about the steps in which you made adjustments to the body, face, and eyes separately in camera RAW and then used layers and masks to expose each part in photoshop. Is that still part of your current workflow? I like to use Lightroom and want to be sure I can do the same as you!
Hi Natalia. I don't know if you'll ever get this, but it doesn't really matter if you do. This is just fan mail I suppose. I just wanted to thank you. I want to thank you for all that you put out, and everything you give to the retouching world. I bought your DVD just last week and I watched every minute. There were so many things I wanted to add to my images that I just didn't know how, and you've helped to free these ideas. Thank you. It's a simple phrase, but I hope you know how much it means
You were kind of right… I never read these messages, but I should and I will. Thank you for your kind words, they are really appreciated
hi Natalia,I just finished watched the webinar you did with train to create and I wanted to thank you for taking the time to create it. I learned so much in that hour, almost more than during the year-long retouching course I took. I should have spent my money more wisely ;) again, thank you. - chloe
Thank you! Sorry for taking so long to answer don’t usually check my blog messages :$
Hey Natalia. I'm Srinath from India. I am just starting to learn retouching from your Video series. Luckily I heard about you to learn about beauty retouching. But I want to learn to do photo manipulations. The thing is that I couldn't find any single video series. Can you direct me, like where to learn from and what techniques to learn? It would be really helpful. Thanks..
Hi Natalia, just wanted to send my appreciation for your retouching DVDs. Of all the different tutorials and videos I've watched over the years, yours was by far the best and solved more of the problems I face as a beauty photographer. Thank you! My one question: is the order the DVD chapters come in the natural progression of workflow you use (example: skin healing > high pass > d&b > colors > hair > etc?
Of course this is more of an attitude than a literal truth. Point being, you’re the only one responsible for your business.
I worked in two projects recently and both clients went out of their way to thank me for my cooperation and good attitude, that got me thinking…
How is everyone else working? Why do they feel it’s necessary to thank me for just doing my job properly?
So I have decided to leave technique aside for today and write about being a service provider. Lets face it, as freelancers, we need to train ourselves to think like one.
Each project is unique, behind every project there’s a person.
So first thing, first: Treat your client like a person.
Know their name, be respectful, understand how they think, what they like, their needs and circumstances.
As much as you’d like to think so, the client is not “out to get you”. You’re not there to fight or argue, you’re there to advice and provide solutions.
When you know who you’re working with, you can accommodate to their specific needs and times. It’s not the same to deal with an art director who is handling 35 projects at the same time, than it is to work with a hair stylist who needs images for his/her portfolio or a small company producing their first catalog. You need to accommodate to the specific ways of working of the person you’re dealing with.
No client should be more important to you though, in terms of service. If you take on a project, treat your client with respect no matter how much is worth to you. Because those images mean a lot more to them.
Which leads us to the next point: Treat each project like your one and only project.
We make decisions and we must live by them. If you agree to do a certain job for a certain amount of money, then you do your best to deliver in time and form.
I’ve seen so many people agree on a budget and then complain about that same job they agreed on.
I simply don’t get it… you said yes, now deal with it! Next time, find out more about it before you say yes.
Decision-making is a key skill in any business, and is particularly important if you want to be an efficient freelancer. The ability to make a good call with available information is vital to making a living out of any creative field.
That’s why: Always quote with a brief in hand.
Yes, I know… there isn’t always a brief and not all situations are ideal, that’s why we must take responsibility for our own way to deal with potential clients. If there isn’t a brief you make one.
It doesn’t have to be exact, proper or use a pre designed sheet with the company pantone color scheme, but you do need to make everything clear before you start. Doing this you will save yourself (and your client) a possible future headache.
Being clear, honest (don’t promise more than you can do, overselling is never a good idea) and realistic about your skills (taking the deadline into account) when briefing is a great way to start a good relationship.
What do you need to know before compromising to a project?
The deadline, whether they have a pre-stablished budget, amount of images, references for the final product, print size and use are just a few things to consider.
If you want to know more about pricing you can read it in another article I wrote
So lets say you and your potential client agree on a fee for the job. Congrats!
This is just getting started.
Keep the client close to your workflow, closer if you’re working with those more directly involved.
If you want to be a professional retoucher, you should have an efficient, non destructive, client friendly workflow that allows several approval stages and follow up corrections.
As soon as I have the selection, I send the client a screenshot of the images I’ve got in my computer. Yes, the same images they just sent. Why? Easy, people make mistakes and If you can’t spot them, they become your responsibility and it’s a waste of precious time.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. - Abraham Lincoln
Who ever works in editorial or advertising knows time is always limited and you don’t want to waste any of it for any reason.
Ideally you have the same brief everyone else in the team has - including concept, intent and references - but if you don’t you need to ask for the information in order to understand the aesthetic needed for this particular project.
At this point, you can always make suggestions as you see fit about the tones, elements in the shot, give some feedback to your client about references, etc
Also, if you need or think you need any extra images (more hair, different hair, another arm, cleaner accessories, something in a different angle, the background on its own, closed mouth, open eyes, better exposed outfit) you ask for them and place them in a different folder called “extras”
For big projects I usually get a selection of raws to select from in case I need “extra parts”
And we haven’t even opened photoshop yet!
The first step of my actual photoshop workflow is to create a working file.
Once I’ve done the tones with several raw conversions, placed all the parts - if any - and I’m done with any structural changes to the image, I send it out for approval.
This is beneficial for several reasons:
The client knows you’re going in the right direction
Gives them peace of mind
Helps them trust you on the following aesthetic decisions you might make.
It works as confirmation you’ve started on the project already.
It’s also beneficial for you, since you can now keep on working knowing there won’t be any structural corrections later on.
With this certainty you can apply the same look and feel to all of the images from the series, work on details, texture, minor color corrections, light and send the image back out for a second review.
While you might still be working on them, the client will spot things you didn’t think of and will also make them feel they are cooperating and contributing with their own input.
They become a part of your process.
Everyone in this line of work feels they need to justify their existence, be it the photographer, the art director, the magazine editor or even the set designer! They will, more often than not, have corrections for you.
My advice: Send the image out while you’re still working on it so obvious things will get noticed first and they won’t need to “find” something else.
It’s also helpful for your own sanity, since you KNOW you’re not done yet, corrections don’t feel as “something more to do” but as a part of the job.
Just to get this clear, always leave a little something to correct, don’t send out an incomplete image because that would certainly scare off your client.
One more thing about corrections: People make mistakes, people forget things, people change their minds. Within logic and respect, allow your clients to make corrections until everyone is happy with the image. When you’re a freelancer your name is all you’ve got and to provide a good service is not only to have good photoshop skills, but also being understanding and flexible.
This is not to say you should let people walk all over you. I state in every job "corrections not included in the original brief will be charged by the hour" but I still allow a lot of little things to pass.
Also, keep in mind you can always have an opinion on the feedback you receive and it’s part of your job to advice the client accordingly. Not because you don’t want to do something but because you don’t feel it would make the image better or even sometimes you can feel a certain change would make it worse
Remember though, the paying part will always have the last word on any matter, if you disagree with their taste too much, you can always decide not to work with them again.
Keep communication fluent at all times whether it be phone, email or even Skype. Be available and always keep a pleasant tone.
Don’t make up excuses, ever. Not only because the client won’t care, but also because your problems are yours, not theirs. Everyone’s got issues, we all deal with personal situations all the time and still get the work done. You’re no exception to that rule, nor is your client who also has a client of its own and problems yet still delivers. Keep your problems to yourself and find a way to get it done.
Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses. George Washington Carver
Send the invoice only when they approve the finals, along with the link to the high resolution images, and always thank them for choosing you to work with them. Never take any client for granted. Never take anyone for granted.
The client is always right, because you will always make them feel like they are. Even, or specially when they are not.
Al igual que muchos otros oficios creativos, el retoque es algo que tenés que amar para hacerlo bien. No pasa un día sin que me llegue un mail preguntándome la forma de lograr algo en Photoshop. Al responder, la persona se sorprende del tiempo que lleva. Están sinceramente sorprendidos de que no es una acción o un truco de un solo clic.
Bueno… no, no lo es.
Aprender nunca es rápido o fácil.
No se llega a ser bueno de la noche a la mañana.
Construir un negocio en este mercado lleva tiempo y otra serie de talentos diferentes, además de los técnicos.
Nada puede ser logrado, sin embargo, sin pasión.
Definamos pasión. Un músico se pasa sus días y noches escuchando música, todos los estilos y autores, estudia y sabe todo lo que tiene algo que ver con eso. Porque así debe ser y no puede ser de otra forma, no lo concibe de otra manera.
Lo mismo se aplica a las artes visuales. No podés ser retocador si no disfrutás y consumís arte. Es necesario para desarrollar un ojo crítico para el color, la estética y la composición.
“ Una fotografía no se toma, se construye. “ Ansel Adams
Entonces, cómo construimos una imagen desde el retoque? Teniendo en cuenta las enseñanzas del arte tradicional tales como composición, teoría del color, comportamiento de la luz (claro oscuro). Las técnicas de dibujo/ilustración son sumamente útiles a la hora de retocar una foto ya que básicamente estamos dibujando sobre un gradiente de luz.
Cuando se trabaja con modelos humanos, apreciar la anatomía y estructura ósea.
Hay una casa de retoque en NYC en la cual hacen que sus empleados estudien anatomía, se los evalúa en ese aspecto, tienen que conocer todos los huesos de la cara.
Entender el mercado en el que uno se mueve es otra parte importante de esta pasión de la que vengo hablando.
Uno no puede trabajar en un nicho que desconoce.
Quienes son tus influencias? Cuáles son los estándares de la industria? Por qué es importante conocer las leyes de copyright? Cual es nuestro target ideal? Cuáles son las tenencias actuales? Qué se hizo ya? Quién lo hizo?
El que quiera tener una carrera en el retoque deberá conocer las respuestas a estas preguntas.
Una de las primeras cosas que les pregunto a mis estudiantes es: Cuántos de ustedes tiene la última Vogue o Número en sus casas/oficinas?
Uno crea sus propias limitaciones. Si no consumimos calidad: arte, fotos (buenas fotos) lo que hacemos es confundir al cerebro y hacerle creer que “así” es como debe verse una imagen, no generamos el criterio suficiente para separar El bueno, el malo y el feo.
Cuándo fue la última vez que fuiste a una galería? Una exhibición ? museo? Piénsalo.
Si te la pasas consumiendo porquerías, entrenas al cerebro a visualizar porquerías y finalmente a crear porquerías. Hay que ser selectivo con lo que se mira y tampoco me refiero exclusivamente a mirar revistas de moda, sino siempre estamos siguiendo la tendencia de alguien más.
Va mucho más allá de consumir revistas de moda: libros de fotografía, still life, National Geographic, libros de arte.
Películas y no solo los éxitos taquilleros! Películas de autor. No hay una sola escena de Amelie que no pueda ser congelada, impresa y enmarcada para colgarla en una pared.
Nadie nace con cultura, uno tiene que generarla, con tiempo y dedicación. Mantenerla y cultivarla.
Otra cosa que uno necesita dejar de lado es: La necesidad de generar excusas.
Sentarse en la computadora a criticar el trabajo de otros, su talento (o falta de) en las variadas redes sociales, foros y paginas de galerías; solo sirve para generar excusas ante el fracaso propio. Simplemente una perdida de tiempo, un falso sentimiento de superioridad que no ayuda a la superación personal, a crecer o mejorar.
"Las grandes mentes hablan de ideas, las mediocres de eventos y las pequeñas hablan de otra gente”
(Ninguna mente pequeña ha logrado nada en la vida).
Por otro lado, siguiendo la misma línea de pensamiento, escucho gente quejarse de los chicos que recién empiezan o retocadores en otras áreas (más baratas) o mercados (supuestos mejores mercados) que cobran más barato o incluso regalan su trabajo, todo el tiempo. La creencia es que se está devaluando el mercado debido a estas personas/situaciones. Lo repiten una y otra vez, se repiten a si mismos que no hay suficiente trabajo, que los presupuestos son cada vez más bajos a causa de esta gente. “No es mi culpa que no tengo trabajo, es la culpa de ellos!”. El problema no es el mercado, es tu trabajo, la calidad del mismo que es inferior al estándar y tu mala actitud la que te quita trabajo. Si ofrecés calidad no te preocupan estos asuntos. Al menos puedo asegurarles que, a nosotros, los que trabajamos en este mercado exitosamente, no nos preocupa!
Cuando hablo de calidad no me refiero al retoque en si mismo. Cuando uno es retocador es un proveedor de servicios, entonces hay que evaluar el valor agregado a ese servicio que se ofrece. Ejemplos de “valor agregado” incluyen: Honestidad/ser “real” (una verdadera ventaja en la industria hoy en dia), tener “people skills” ser habilidoso con las relaciones publicas, poseer la inteligencia básica, el encanto, la sabiduría y sentido del humor para comunicarse y llevarse bien con terceros, por lo general el éxito en un ámbito público depende de esto.
Buenas habilidades para con la gente incluyen la honestidad, la sinceridad, el contacto visual fuerte, el lenguaje corporal de comunicación, y siendo en todo amable y servicial. Entender el tono general, los ritmos y las inflexiones de la conversación y la mejor manera de abordarlos es también “people skills”.
Llegar bien con las deadlines, ofrecerle feedback a los clientes y consejo.
También, una de las cosas más importantes creo personalmente, hacer siempre un poco más de lo que se espera de uno.
Ser eficaz, eficiente y efectivo.
“Aquellos que dicen que no se puede hacer, deberían no entrometerse en el camino de aquellos que ya lo están haciendo” Proverbio Chino.
Cuando uno es Freelance tiene que calibrar la mente como tal. Uno no solo ofrece servicios de retoque sino que hace de consultor profesional, por lo tanto hay que venderse de esa forma. Los clientes potenciales tienen que saber que no solo se poseen las habilidades técnicas para realizar un determinado trabajo, sino que también se tienen competencias y conocimientos sobre el negocio tanto en términos de publico objetivo como contexto general.
Construir un negocio no se trata tampoco, como dije anteriormente, de tener habilidades técnicas exclusivamente.
Hay que pensar donde esta la demanda real, que esta uno dispuesto a ofrecer, así también quien es nuestra competencia, que ofrecen y en que momento.
Tampoco la habilidad implica experiencia per se. La experiencia es lo que hace a un buen profesional. Cualquiera sea tu precio, no esperen estar ganando lo mismo que alguien que hace 10 años que esta en el mercado produciendo resultados sólidos.
La otra realidad es que los clientes no vienen a golpearle la puerta a uno cuando se decide a dedicarse a esto, que la suerte y los contactos tienen muy poco que ver con el éxito ya que muy pocos empiezan teniéndolos. El resto de los mortales tenemos que asegurarnos de conseguir, alimentar y mantener una base de clientes estable, lo que no pasa en dos horas, ni siquiera en días o meses. Lleva tiempo y dedicación. La dura realidad es que en el primer año uno trabaja en archivos muy feos que no generan absolutamente nada de placer pero pagan la renta. Lo importante: NO trabajen solo en eso, uno tiene que testear (trabajar en fotos sin remuneración monetaria) en el tiempo libre para construir un portfolio que atraerá a la gente para la que uno quiere trabajar.
“vístete para el trabajo que quieres, no para el que tienes” Anónimo
Sino estas atrapado en un circulo vicioso que funciona de esta manera:
Produzco trabajo de calidad mediocre porque mis clientes no tienen presupuesto para nada más, pero no importa porque de todas formas es lo suficientemente bueno para ellos, no notarían la diferencia.
Mi portfolio esta conformado de trabajo mediocre.
Solo atraigo clientes sin criterio, con presupuestos limitados a quienes no les importa la calidad del trabajo final.
Volver al punto 1
En este ciclo, el cliente que tiene el criterio y el buen gusto suficientes como para conseguir los presupuestos más altos y así pagar por un trabajo de alta calidad, nunca consideraría trabajar con el “profesional” detrás de ese portfolio ya que no tiene la calidad que necesita.
Ergo: Estás atrapado.
La creencia de que el “test” (prueba o TFP) es “trabajar gratis”, sólo es compartida por aquellos que no tienen ni idea de cómo funciona realmente el mercado. Los profesionales hacen tests todo el tiempo! Prueban maquilladores, modelos de agencias, equipo de todo tipo, lo hacen para proyectos personales, editoriales o para seguir elaborando su portfolio. Hacen esto porque saben (tienen la seguridad) que las imágenes que se producen en una prueba atraerán a potenciales clientes del más alto nivel. Saben muy bien y sin lugar a duda que estos clientes sólo se fijan en los editoriales que se han realizado y el trabajo personal al decidir a quién contratar para su próximo proyecto comercial. El retocador también tiene el placer, por supuesto, de haber contribuido a hacer del mundo un lugar mejor (bueno, quizá no mejor, pero si más bonito).
Trabajar de forma gratuita es una contradicción. Nadie trabaja gratis. Uno trabaja por el crédito, por el reconocimiento, se trabaja para estar en las mentes de aquellos que pueden ayudarnos a avanzar en nuestra carrera, tales como: agencias, directores de arte, fotógrafos, publicistas, casas representantes de artistas y diseñadores. Si quien lee esto piensa que el mercado está arruinado por los que trabajan ”gratis”, pensá de nuevo!
De hecho, cada vez que pienses algo como:
No tengo éxito por…
…La economía actual
…El área geográfica en la que estoy
…La gente que hace TFP
…La gente que trabaja barato
…Los clientes que no saben la diferencia
…mi situación personal
No es así, el problema sos vos. En todos los casos!
Like many other creative trades, this is one you need to love in order to succeed.
Not a day goes by without me getting an email asking me how to achieve something in Photoshop. Furthermore, when I reply, the person is shocked that it would take so long. They are honestly amazed that it’s not some action or a one-click wonder trick.
Well… it’s not.
Learning is never fast or easy.
Being good at it doesn’t happen over night.
Building a retouching business takes time, and a completely different set of skills.
Nothing can be achieved though, if you are not passionate enough.
Lets define passion. A musician will listen to music all day and night, studying every style and author. They will know everything there is to know, about every facet of music, because that’s the way it should be! It couldn’t be any other way!
The same goes for visual arts. You can’t be a retoucher if you don’t enjoy and consume art. One needs to develop an eye for color, aesthetics and composition.
"You don’t take a photograph, you make it". Ansel Adams
How do we “make” an image from the retoucher’s perspective? Taking into account the teachings of traditional art, such as composition, color theory and light behavior. Also, things involving drawing/illustration techniques are extremely helpful when it comes to retouching. Reason is, we are basically drawing over an existing gradient.
Anatomy, from an artist point of view, is also essential when working on human models, shape and bone structure etc.
There’s a retouching house in NY where they make all their retouchers study anatomy and test them on it. They need to know every bone in the face.
Understanding the market is also part of being passionate about retouching.
You can’t work in a market you don’t understand. Who are your inspirations? What are the industry standards? Why is copyright important? Who is your ideal target? What are the current trends? What has been done already? By Whom?
You should know the answers to these questions if you’re going to pursue a career in retouching.
The first thing I ask my students is “How many of you have the latest Vogue or Número in their home/office?”
You create your own limitations. If you don’t spend your time consuming art and images (quality ones), then you can’t train your brain to differentiate the good from the bad, and the bad from the ugly.
When was the last time you went to an art show? exhibition? museum? Think about it.
If you look at crap all day long, you will train your brain to think that is how images should look. You need to be selective. Not just magazines either. Otherwise you’re always following someone else’s trends. Look at photography books, National Geographic, photo journalism books and movies. Again, not just the latest hits, but older movies too. There’s not a scene in the film “Amelie” that couldn’t be printed, framed, and hung on a wall. Nobody is born cultured, it’s like muscles, they have to GROW IN YOU with time, effort, and consistency.
Another issue one needs to rid themself of: the need to make up excuses.
If you sit around and criticize others work and talent (or lack there of) on social sites; then you’re only creating excuses for yourself. You are simply wasting time, and developing a false sense of superiority that doesn’t help you grow or better yourself.
"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people"
(And no small mind has ever accomplished anything).
I hear people complaining about new retouchers, or retouchers in other (cheaper) markets all the time. People believe that since these other retouchers are charging nothing for their work they are devaluing the whole market. They go on and on about how there’s not enough work, and how budgets continue to drop because of “these people”. “It’s not my fault that I’m not getting enough work, it’s their fault!”
If you’re worrying about this you should look at yourself in the mirror. It’s not the market that is the problem. It’s your work and your attitude. If you offer quality you won’t have to worry about this. I know we don’t!
Quality is not just about the retouching itself. It’s also about you as a service provider, and the added value of service that you provide. Some examples of added value of service include: honesty/being “real” (a commodity in today’s industry), your people skills, meeting deadlines, offering feedback and advice to your clients and perhaps most importantly, doing slightly more than is expected of you.
"Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it" Chinese Proverb
If you are freelancer then you need to calibrate your brain to think like one. You are not only offering retouching, you are offering consultation. You must market and sell yourself as such. Potential clients need to know that you possess not only the technical abilities to complete the job, but also that you’re knowledgeable about the business as a whole. Both in terms of targets and in general context.
Building a business is not only about having a skillset either.
Think about where the real demand is, and what you’re willing to offer. As well as who else is offering the same as you at that particular time.
Also, skills DO NOT equate experience. That alone is the money point! (Pun intended) Whatever your rate is, expect it to commensurate with your skill level or expertise. Don’t expect to be making as much money as someone who’s been in the industry for ten years producing solid work.
Clients in general don’t just flock to you because you started a business. Connections have very little to do with it in the beginning. Very few people START with connections. The rest of us mere mortals have to build a solid client base, this doesn’t happen in just minutes or hours or days. It takes time and dedication.
The reality is, in the first year you will be working on really bad files to pay your rent. But don’t only work on those photos! You must also TEST on your free time in order to build a portfolio that WILL get the attention of the people you want to work for.
Dress for the job that you want, not for the job that you have. Otherwise you’re trapped in a vicious cycle like this:
1. I only produce lower quality work because that’s all my clients can afford. Besides they can’t tell the difference anyway
2. My portfolio is now filled with only lower quality images
3. I can only attract clients that have limited budgets that don’t care about better quality.
4. Return to number 1.
In this cycle, the client who has enough criteria and good taste to get the higher budgets (or to pay for high quality work), will never contact you or reply to your emails. Reason being, your portfolio does not show any high quality work.
Ergo: You’re trapped.
The belief that testing is “working for free”, is only shared by those who have NO IDEA how the market actually works. Professionals test all the time! They test with agencies and for personal projects. Pros do this because they know the images they produce in a test will attract potential high end clients. Pros know full well that these clients only care about editorials and personal work when deciding on who to hire for their next job. Of course retouchers also get the pleasure of having contributed towards making the world a better place (well, maybe not better, but prettier.) when testing.
Working for free is an oxymoron. NOBODY works for free. You work for credit, you work for recognition, you work to be in the minds of those who can help you advance your career. Such as: agencies, art directors, photographers, advertisers, rep houses and designers.
If you think the market is ruined by those working “for free”, think again!
Photographer Andy Bettles is represented by M.A.P and shoots still life for clients such as Sephora, Wallpaper* and the New York Times Style Magazine. His vintage-inspired multiple exposure images cross the line between fashion and art.
Use Content Aware together with masks. When you want to replace something in a busy image, mask out other distracting elements (distracting from the pattern you need to replace with) and then use CA - works like a charm
When a painters paint a portrait (after sketching) they usually start with just a blob of color (B&W shpe in this video) THAT’s THE LOWEST FREQUENCY - the shape, the color
Then the painter adds borders and depth - MIDDLE FREQUENCY
Finally proceeds to paint in details - HIGH FREQUENCY
We are doing the opposite process when splitting an image:
We start with the final image: We select ONE RADIUS that will define the limit of the HIGH FREQUENCY - so when selecting a radius of 8 for your high frequency you know that the range of detail contained within the high frequency will go from 0 to 8 - EVERY OTHER frequency is retained on the low (From 8 to 250 - not 255 because both G. Blur and HP are programed to avoid extremes)
In practice, when we decide on the radius for the initial Gaussian blur (*) we need to be thinking of the amount of detail we want to maintain in the HIGH frequency, so we blur until we can’t see that particular radius of detail.
Radius and threshold work the same in every filter, a radius of 5 means the same in all the filters.
This is specially true** when talking about G. Blur and High Pass - they are opposite/contrary/complementary filters.
** Should be true, as it’s not because of the way they were set, but it can be fixed by using apply image to generate an accurate High pass or “fixing” the layer with -50 legacy contrast before running the High Pass filter (This eliminates the extremes and makes it possible for the filter to “read” them)
* When using Apply image you can use any kind of blur/noise removal flter because you’re creating your own manual accurate highpass by producing the opposite of the Blur.
Hi Natalia! I'm a graphic design student at the U of Minnesota, and I feel compelled to reach out and message you. Not only have you inspired me in many ways, you've also effectively taught me many great techniques. You've brought me to a place where I can claim the knowledge for myself through experience. Thank you dearly for all of your influence! It has been a great pleasure discovering you! Best of luck to you, Natalia! -Mike Savi
Hello Natalia ,
How do you replace texture on the HFL in the split , let say for the nose what other part of the skin texture is a good replacement ?
Depends on many things. Exposure, direction of light, detail available. I wouldn’t flat out replace the texture in a whole area because it would be hard to make it look right but have you read my chapter about texture here in tumblr?
Natalia can I just say that I LOVE YOUR WORK! I would love it if you gave me some constructive criticism on my artwork. You inspire me to continue doing what I love and that is photography and retouching.
If you weren’t an anonymous user - your request would be possible :)
First, I have to say thank you so much for taking the time to shoot and upload your high quality and helpful tutorials. I recently just finished watching your tutorial on retouching hair strands, and sometimes it's hard for me to know what's the best setting to set my brush, considering I have a wacom tablet. So even though I can set it to 100% opacity with a flow of 100%, I'm not sure if I should be setting the brush to pen pressure or not. Thanks!,
I hate pressure sensitivity but other retouches can’t live without it. So it’s your choice :)
Natalia, actualmente uso el CaptureOne para la edición de imágenes, pero tengo una duda: Cuando exporto las imágenes desde el Capture lo hago en TIFF 16 Bits, sin embargo, las imágenes todavía necesitan mucho retoque por lo cual uso el PS para continuar el trabajo pero siento que las imágenes no quedan retocadas correctamente como cuando lo hago con archivos RAW. Si es recomendable trabajar archivos TIFF 16 bits desde PS para retoques?
Si el proyecto lo vale, generalmete uso varias conversiones del mismo archivo desde C1 y las combino en PS con mascaras, despues hago el reto del retoque desde ahi. Claro que es recomendable, si tienes la maquina que lo soporte y el cliente que lo pague :)
Hello Natalia, I am marco gnielka from Switzerland. I will join BsAs in Nov-Dec and would truly be interested in getting up know how in Photoshop retouching. Do you see any possibility of a workshop or course or ... ? I do not know how to contact you and just try it here. Please let me know - reachable under Facebook: marco gnielka. Would be lovely to hear from you! Un abrazo ***marco