Adjusting Dynamic Range

Workflow is REAL important and getting into the habit of separating your retouching from your color moves is ULTRA important. Especially if you want to work professionally. I developed this video to share how I initially set the overall color and density of an image prior to retouching using a simple curve. I also briefly discuss the concept of workflow and separation which can save you a great deal of frustration when working on revisions. The reason why I like to initially set the dynamic range prior to retouching is simply to give myself a general idea as to how the image will finish. I've always believed that knowing where you're going is just as important as how you'll get there. Please keep in mind...There's no "one move fits all" approach with digital imaging because every image is different due to exposure, lighting and composition. It's important that you take the time to experiment and play with your images to find just the right feel.    

Dodge & Burn Methods Comparison

In this 7 minute tutorial I touch on the two main methods for dodging and burning skin in Photoshop. A MUST VIEW for anyone working in beauty photography or seeking to work as a professional beauty retoucher. Here I discuss the "Overlay Mode" technique as well as the "Curves" method of dodging and burning. The "Overlay" technique is faster and simpler to perform and setup than the Curves version as it only uses a single layer to perform both dodging and burning. The "Curves" method takes a few more seconds to prepare, but has a much better separation of the dodging and burning as they are performed on separate curve layers. This is NOT an in depth discussion about dodging and burning, but a simple comparison of the two most popular methods of using the technique. There will DEFINITELY be more in depth tutorials on the art of dodging and burning so stick around!    

Using Selective Color in Photoshop

The right tool for the job is the theme to this tutorial. Often times we find ourselves trying to accomplish a task, but don't often know which tool to use in order to get the job done in the shortest amount of time. Here we expand on our Color Tools Comparison Case Study by offering up a working example of how and when to use specific color tools for a specific this case Selective Color. The best way to learn is by example, so in the coming months we'll be posting more situations where we'll have to choose the right tool for the job.    

Beauty Retouching: Skin Study #1

In my two decades in this business, I can honestly say that retouching skin has by far been the one topic of frustration for many a retoucher. With the new paradigm shift in the imaging world, a great many more young photographers have to do their own retouching and with that comes a new breed of frustrated artists. In this Case Study and in Skin Case Studies to follow, we'll be diving head first into the realm of skin. In this in depth series of videos I take an industry standard beauty image and retouch it from start to finish. From initial color and density settings we move on to taking inventory of what's needed to be done. We then start by adjusting all the problem areas of the image before moving on to the beauty retouching. Then comes the meat and potatoes of this series- beauty/skin retouching. In this series we use a subject with skin texture that I'll call an "average" skin type for the sake of argument. This means nothing terribly harsh, but the kind of skin you'll find in most professional beauty photography. We'll call this type of skin: Skin Level One. I start with the […]

Retouching vs Color; Why Keep Them Apart?

Do you have commitment issues? Well, if you're anything like me then you certainly do! What do I mean by this? In my two decades as a professional retoucher I've learned lots of things. Things that should always be done and things that should NEVER be done. One of those "never do" things is combining your color moves with your retouching. If I've seen it once I've seen it a thousand times... inexperienced retouchers working on files that have a bevy of layers interconnected with one another. The client doesn't like how things turned out and like Quincey(1970's drama about a forensic pathologist who has to solve crimes using vague clues), I'm called upon to save the day. What I find is often frustrating- layer upon layer of cloning, curves, comping and all sorts of business combined in an obfuscated way so that even the most seasoned retoucher would have problems figuring out what goes where. DO NOT DO THIS! So, how do we solve this problem? Simple, we learn the proper techniques and develop sound working practices. One of these practices is separating your color moves from your retouching layers. This may seem complicated, but it's really not. After […]

Dodge & Burn Methods

So the questions at hand is simple...What exactly IS dodging and burning? Well if we ask Wikipedia we get something along these lines... "...A technique used during the printing process to manipulate the exposure of a selected area(s) on a photographic print"

Conrad’s Photoshop Workspace & Workflow Setup

Organization is key to productivity and knowing where your tools are and how to get to them quickly will not only save you time, but make you more money. So, let's talk configuration... My Palette Configuration Here I give you a visual representation of all the palettes I use in Photoshop and how I have them set up during my normal workflow. Constantly having to go to the file menu to search for often used tools is a huge waste of time when you can simply keep all your most used palettes open and available. If you've got the computer power and a little extra cash I HIGHLY recommend picking up a second monitor(I actually use 3). This multi-monitor setup allows you to work in your main window and keep your palettes and other tools and "distractions" in a separate window. My setup might not work for you, but I'm sure that seeing how I work will definitely give you some perspective. Work better!     My Layers Palette In a previous video I went back in time to share with you how different the world was back in 1996 when I first started in Photoshop. Single undo and no […]

The Canine Curves

In this MUST SEE video tutorial I discuss a tremendous workflow technique I coined "The Canine Curves"(sometimes known as Solar Curves). This technique was developed back in my earlier years in a NYC retouching studio- Kudos to Richard Martha for helping me out with it's development. Essentially, this technique will turbo charge your color correction skills as well as get you out of a few clumsy mistakes. I use this tool in every image I work on as a professional. It's great for finding and fixing color casts, removing whispy hairs. I use this technique for cloning, repairing and rebuilding complex gradients as well. Use this technique only a few times and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.  

Art Direction & Revisions

If you've been retouching or shooting professionally on any scale for any amount of time then chances are you've had a client who simply couldn't make up their mind. Let's sayMaybe you've worked on a job where the art director wanted final art delivery with a few different versions of the same image? Whatever the case, dealing with multiple versions of the same image can be daunting.  

Color Tools Comparison In Photoshop

There's an old saying that says "There's more than one way to skin a cat". Now I don't condone the actual act of skinning anything, but the sentiment holds true especially when it comes to Photoshop. I see SO many different styles of retouching and color correction and the fact is that they're all correct- if they achieve the desired result. Some photographers and retouchers prefer using Curves to color correct and others enjoy the ease of Color Balance and Selective Color. In this Case Study I've taken a simple approach to demonstrating the strengths and weaknesses of each tool so that you can determine for yourself whether or not you're using the best tool for the job. Color Correction with Curves Using a grayscale gradient I make a simple Curves color move on a section of the image and then try and replicate that move as close as I can using the other 2 color correction tools(Color Balance, Selective Color) on a different part of the image- side by side- so you can see how each tool works. Since Curves is my tool of choice and can handle most any color problem, I used it as the reference. So […]