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When I shoot portraits, I want to make the image as perfect as I can in the camera. I feel that's the right way. However, when I look at my pictures carefully, I see some small refinements I can make. Let me show you some of them. Here is Courtney. I was very happy with this image. I felt we had it, but as I looked it a little closer, I saw a few little things. For example, these are normal little specks and little hairs here, just not in the perfect place. A little spot in their nose. And then I wanted to soften this a little bit.
It's normal, but we are conditioned to see such refinement. So here is what I did. A very light hand. I have a very light hand when I'm retouching. I don't want people to look at the pictures and say oh, he's retouched her. I don't want them to be aware that she's been retouched. That's my philosophy on retouching. So there she is. I feel I have the right picture here. Now there are a couple of other things I found. Look at this. I see a little problem here. As I speak of that as a problem, it's a normal thing, but line of her dress and then she is leaning against the table, which I asked her to do.
And there is one other thing. her head was a little close and the lens gave a distortion and it was a little large. So what did I do? Here we did. So I can get rid of that, smoothen this. And don't smoothen that too much. Don't make it perfect. It should have a few little wrinkles, because you don't want it to look retouched. And then we make the hand a proportionate size that looks better. And this is the image we come up with. This I feel is my final statement, my final image of Courtney, the one I care the most about from this series.
I feel it's really quite successful, but I want to show you something else that we did. This was a picture, this is one of the pictures we were taking against a dropout white. And I was in the studio and Courtney had these shoes she thought were really cool and when she showed them to me, I thought yes, those are very nice, but how can I get those in the picture, because I want to see her sort of from the waist up? And then I thought maybe asking her to sit on the table, but I quietly-- I can tell you this. I said to myself, the probability of getting those in the picture is rather small, but I tried it anyway.
And as I looked through the camera, I said to myself, looking at the lens, I said, hey, it's something kind of cool here. It's contemporary, it's a cool look, if I can make it work. But I did see through the viewfinder, I saw there was a cord here, a little bit of the edge of the umbrella from lighting the background. And I could have stopped things and said, okay, let me move this, but you know what would have happened? I would have lost the momentum. I would probably have never gotten that same feeling of fun. There is a little fan in her hair, it's all the elements are working.
So I kept shooting, because I knew it'd be very simple to remove this, especially since it's on dropout white. It was got in a second. And finally, I thought, I've got an image that I really like here, but there was one thing. I said to myself, I know actually there is a little edge I can give it here. The composition can be better and it can become a better piece of artwork. So this is what I did. I crop that side off, giving it a sense of a line going from the top-right corner to the bottom-left.
And then it became a composition that I was really much more comfortable with and an image that I felt really was my statement of how I've wanted Courtney to look. I love working in the studio. Why? Because it gives me great possibilities creatively. All the elements, whether it's lighting, whether it's music, a fan in the hair as you see here, all these elements. They all help make the image. So I hope you've enjoyed being part of our process today and I hope you get something that helps your photography and carries you to a new place.
Thanks very much!
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