High-end fashion retouching over the years has been under the spotlight and rightly so. Fashion retouching and high-end skin retouching can often take too far until the skin looks plastic in appearance so much that the pixels have been destroyed and so it appears fake leaving a fake or unauthentic texture.
When I first went back into fashion photography I was guilty of some dismal looking images that were awful but I quickly realised that it was not a good way to develop your images for clients. I now either retouch myself to a good level or when a client is looking for absolute perfection within realistic guidelines of skin retouching then I will use a retoucher who understands my brief.
This picture below is an example of a test I sent across to a new retoucher who wished to become our creative retouching agency for the client’s work. When I received the first version I was not that impressed and so a second attempt was made. The result is below and although it looks good and there is a nice feel to the image, I made a decision that it was too far gone and not really appropriate for my potential clients’ work.
SO WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE IMAGE BELOW?
For me the pictures are too perfect, the skin is nicely done and very clean but the texture although still there is too uniform and looks fake and recreated. There appears to be perfect skin under and around the eyes and her whites of he eye too clean and white. The eyebrows and hair look good and also so do the nails. The white highlights on lips look fake as does the light in the eyes and so overall the picture although good is too processed. A nice picture of course but really too far gone.
RETOUCHING IN FASHION & POST PRODUCTION
Fashion and Beauty Photo Retouching means that you will be removing the imperfections that a model has in your photograph. This means that aspects of the model are changed for the better and this should be done in a nondestructive way and sensitive to the overall effect you have created with your subject and light. Authentic and creative photo retouching is acceptable and as long as you cannot really see the process retouch then the images are accepted.
A complete Photo Edit is really part of your normal workflow and this would involve what I call topping and tailing the image for clients’ approval. Local adjustments your images in terms of cropping, brightness, contrast, and grading of the overall look and would be similar to working in a dark room to create your finished looks.
Enhancing your photograph is the improvement to the overall style and look of the image. keeping your images inline and all in similar grades. It means if you are creating black and white form your colour raw files then this is really a processing enhancement. This is really the basic level of photo retouching.
My Post Production / Post Processing is really what we do at #teamnaderpro with most images and they all reflect part of one of the above processes or indeed all of them to achieve the look that either my clients or I wish for.
DSLR CAMERAS ARE TOO POWERFUL AND LENSES TOO SHARP.
Film cameras and lenses were very good and very sharp especially medium format Hasselblad and Bronica cameras or like my Pentax 6×7 super sharp. However, they have really been replaced with the modern digital format camera in super quality lenses.
The problem is that they are too good and super sharp which really creates a problem for everyone and post-produced images are almost a necessity these days. Models and clothes are just not perfect and without being rude a model even though she or he is super for the Job you book them for. A camera that shoots 100MP is just going to create too much of a retouching problem.
MY SHOOT RULE AT THE MOMENT IS NO MORE THAN 50MP
Personally I really have no desire to buy a camera at 100PM just at this moment and the reason for me is that it is too much work really keeping the picture real and true to life. With film, there was still a softness introduced by the process from camera to print or slide film. This process removed the harsh sharpness that we see today with digital
I now tend to keep my images real and authentic, there are exceptions to this rule or my rule and that is when I have worked for Lambertz where sharpness is not always needed and retouching is essential. Some clients wishes depict your style and for the Lambertz shoots I di they required a super realistic look and retouched post-produced feel for their calendars which would no be acceptable in fashion and to be honest these images whilst are great stoppers, some of my clients feel that are a little fake and over-processed and I would agree, however, the work is still accomplished and attracts the work that I get and so I call this style of work a STOPPER!
PHOTO RETOUCHING SCREEN CAST COMING IN 2020