Greetings all and welcome!
I'm setting up this new Tutorials section of the ConradDigital commercial site in hopes of bringing some reality back into today's photography through discussion and education. I'll even try to touch on the ever advancing movement into motion versus still which day by day is creeping up on still photography. But first things first.
After a very long run of photographer/retoucher relationships, I'm beginning to see a turn in the tides. More and more photographers are being asked to perform their own post production and they just don't seem to be cutting the visual mustard- in my humble opinion anyway. I'm sure this new change in workflow is due to shrinking advertising budgets, growing photographer population and non existent editorial jobs as well as the onset of mobile ads and social media... but whatever the case, it's really starting to become obvious that the independent retoucher may become a thing of the past and with him/her will go some much needed techniques and understanding of how to make a good photograph great in the post environment.
Let's face it... Not every photograph is a technical masterpiece nor is it the exact artistic vision that the commissioning art director had in mind. That's where "WE", the retouchers, come in(or in many cases, the photographer)... my vision, if you will, is to try to capture as many real world digital dark room conundrums as possible and present their solutions in short video tutorials and longer, more complete case studies. The fact is that these old world digital retouching techniques and solutions aren't being taught in schools. Then again, I doubt that they ever were! Actually, they were first developed in the early days of print production where retouching artists armed with delicate paint brushes, air brushes, bleaches and dyes painted directly onto developed chromes. Command-Z was not an option because everything was done in the analog environment and could NOT be changed- if they screwed up, the image was ruined! Photoshop soon entered the market in the early 90's and changed the world, but again... the techniques for creating flawless skin, shiny hair and vivid color were kept in the dark cubbies of the digital labs in large markets like New York City- where I got my formal training. In my early days working in these studios, many a day and night were spent looking over the shoulders of some of the senior retouchers- much to their annoyance. It was the culture at that time to learn on your own, experiment and hope that a more experienced artist would take a liking to you and show you some of his or her secrets.
These days you'd be hard pressed to see any formal education on the art of color correction or the simple yet necessary technique of dodging and burning. Books have been written and classes taught on these and many other post production subjects. I, for one, have spent a great deal of time and money during my career attending lectures and paying for classes only to find them fall quite short of my needs. I later learned that the reason why the more advanced techniques weren't being taught was actually quite simple... the people developing and using them were too busy working to have time to teach them. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great teachers out there teaching great stuff. Sadly, there's one hundred times as many people teaching crap. The good news is that you won't have to look much further. I'll be presenting video tutorials on color correction, flawless skin retouching, dynamic range, masking, compositing, RAW conversions, image correction and pretty much everything you'd see in the professional world of commercial photography right here on this site. Later on, we'll try and evolve with the industry and start presenting tutorials on motion and how to migrate from the still environment as painlessly as possible. At the end of the day the goal is to make you better at what you do- be it photography or retouching- and hopefully bring the global aesthetic back to it's higher standards.
So, stick around and learn something!