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In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Chris Orwig details the tools every photographer needs to retouch portraits to make them look their best while remaining authentic. The course includes an overview of the retouching process and how to develop a plan for a retouching project.
After exploring techniques to improve the overall photo, Chris shares his techniques for reducing wrinkles, enhancing eyes and other facial features, improving hair, and retouching makeup. The course concludes with a look at retouching skin and reshaping portions of a portrait using transformations, the Warp tool, and the Liquify filter.
Before we start to work in Photoshop, I thought it will be helpful to step back for a few moments and share with you a few retouching considerations that you may want to think about before you start to retouch your own photographs. Well, the first one is genre. Let's say for example that we're talking about writing. You are a writer. Well, if you are writing journalism, it's going to be direct and straightforward. Yet if you're writing in the genre of poetry, well, you are going to take poetic license. You can use different words and comparisons and you can exaggerate in a different way.
Well, I think the same thing can be said about photography and also about photographic retouching. In the photograph on the left, you can see a makeup artist is applying makeup here for a high-end fashion shoot. Well in fashion, we can retouch our photographs in a different way; say than a portrait of one of our friends or neighbors. So as we seek to look at how we are going to retouch our images like this fashion picture here, we want to think about that. With the photograph like this, maybe we want to make the colors really vibrant and bright.
Well, that might be important for that type of photography. In other situations, like in this portrait of one of our good family friends, really the retouching is going to focus in on cleaning up those small details and brightening up the face and reducing the shadows. We are not trying to create something surreal; rather we are paying attention to that type of photographs that this is. What's our vision, and then what kind of retouching do we want to apply in order to actualize our vision. In other situations, we might simply want to reduce and simplify.
You might want to focus in on all those small details; perhaps those wrinkles here and just reduce or remove those. And in doing that what we are trying to do is we are trying to clarify our voice. We are trying to make a portrait that's stronger. Many times we can do this by focusing in on the small details. You know, in portrait retouching those details matter. We can focus in on those and we can reduce and simplify in order to improve and enhance our pictures. As you start to work on details, there are so many different types.
Perhaps, you want to work on overall shape or maybe what you want to do is just remove distracting elements in the background. Well, whatever it is, as you start to work on details, you also need to keep in mind that good portraits almost always capture personality. We don't want to reduce and simplify or remove details so much so that we're kind of removing too much of the character. Rather, when you're looking to try to capture portraits, you want to leave a few of those blemishes or imperfections in the picture that will help us capture or convey the personality that much more.
Another essential aspect of portrait retouching is that we are curious. Good portrait retouching isn't about simply tips and techniques; rather, it's about knowing how or when or why to apply those. Last but not least, as you work on your photographs what you'll discover is many times you apply these adjustments of layer, after layer, after layer and in a sense what can happen is you can keep almost retouching your photographs forever. Eventually, you need to know when to stop.
You need to know when to say, all right, you know what, enough is enough. This is good enough, because again, it's about trying to capture a bit of that personality or that person and many times what that means is focusing in on a lot of these small details, but then eventually, it means making that decision to say, you know what, this is good enough. As a matter of fact maybe this is even great. All right. Well, I hope that these few little retouching considerations will help you as you start to think about how you're going to retouch your own photographs.
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