Running Time: 28 minutes
"I have to tell you that I found it totally inspiring and great! There are so many things in it that I share thoughts and agree with, it was just great listening to you telling the exact same things that are my concerns! So thanks, keep it up! – Erika"
I am so glad that I am stating to find a rhythm for the show, and that it is worth everyone's time. I hope you enjoy the show. It's a long one.
In This Episode:
Welcome back to the Art of Retouching 3rd Podcast. I wasn’t sure if enough people would bother to listen but I can tell based on the statistics that people are actually listening. So I guess I will continue on. One day last week I was listening to both the podcasts, one after another and basically I thought that the 1st episode had too much smattering involved and I spent all this time editing it out and in the 2nd episode I pre-wrote everything and when I listened to it, it came out like I was reading it. And was trying not to sound that way but apparently I did unfortunately. After listening to both podcasts I just realized the best way to do this just to pick a topic and talk about it, because it just sounded a lot more fluid and more like a conversation like you’re listening to someone talking.
So I’m going to be trying to do that this week again, I’m just going to have my topics that I’m going to go over and I’ll just be talking out loud to myself and hopefully you’ll get some interest out of it.
I just wanted to mention that last weeks episode, #2, was that I did make a mistake when posting this. I had missed a digit. It was supposed to say 002, and I left it 001. So about 100-150 of you had downloaded the same episode twice.
So I do apologize. On the back end, a lot of code and links need to get changed from and previous episodes, and I simply missed a number, but it was a crucial one. I had gotten up the next day, and I saw that no one downloaded the second episode, but the first episode had spiked. That was clearly my mistake.
So, I just wanted to let you know that if you didn’t get it, that it does exist, so you should go back and manually download it, as it has more retouching related stuff than the first episode did, and this third episode does.
The big news in retouching this week seems to be UK’s ban of the Julia Roberts ad. Apparently there is a company called Lancome, for Paris, I have no idea who they are, but appears to be a make-up related product, and they have Julia Roberts advertising the product. So basically she is just sitting there and somebody did the usual retouching.
The thing is, that the UK’s advertising standards authority apparently decided that this was misleading to the public and decided to ban all these ads. And the reason for this is because if you actually look at the picture which you can find at links/theartofretouching.com/roberts, it appears to be a standard beauty-glamour type of thing and there is no real darks in it, which just drives me nuts, basically her whole face is blown out to white, this is just one of those another beauty glamour shots, but because it’s overly make-up, and she doesn’t have one laugh line, one pore left in her face, they actually have something to say about it, and I say it’s just about time. I’ve always been strong about the fact that I’m not a big fan of the beauty and glamour retouching, because I think it’s been taken way to an extreme.
I do think it’s nice, I think women need to be pretty and all that, but this is one of those cases where it’s a total overkill and it really just looks like a wipe, like a white egg, and then you just have these oversized eyes, funny looking nose, and the really goofy lips that she has. And I think that part of the problem is that doesn’t even look like a straight face because she’s just pulling at her face or something and leaning on it, but anyway, it just looks really bad from a retoucher standpoint. And I’m glad to see that somebody, some authority somewhere is saying that this is isn’t right.
Anyway, back to the point, basically it doesn’t look like a real person, the make-up is not going to do this and even though the digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, you really can’t do this. And based on what I’m looking at, I do agree. Of course, everybody has this sort of thing, even Maybelline, but I think it just goes back to the point of how much they’re actually doing on this image and really pushing what is acceptable.
So I am probably the only person left on the planet that never actually watched Harry Potter, never read a Harry Potter, no nothing about Harry Potter. Basically when the movie came out in 2001, I didn’t care about an 11 year old boy, it just wasn’t my thing. But one of the odd things was that this is a unique movie series and they came out every single year and basically you watch this boy growing up and I just think it’s neat itself.
You have the 3 kids, the main characters and in real life you just watch them grow older. And what I find interesting is that the movies have grown darker and the better special effects has been going on. So actually I thought that I was missing out on something, even though the story wasn’t what I was wanted, I was interested more in the special effects and stuff like that. So I decided to give it a shot.
I was watching the first movie and there is a character in the movie – one of the teachers – and he said something and I was trying to paraphrase it or rework it or do something else with it to apply to my own website or my brand or whatever. But I think in this case it is so well written that I thought I was just going to tell you about it so I was just going to use it as a direct quote and then elaborate on it. In this case he was – in the movie – gone to his first class and then comes one of the teachers.
The teacher said the following: “I do not expect many of you to appreciate the value in creating a solid foundation on which to build upon. However, for the select few who possess the predisposition, I can tell you, I can teach you how to make everything you touch, a work of art. I can tell you how to create the porcelain skin, composite the perfect skies, or even extract the beauty in death. Then again, some of you come with such a great sense of self-awareness and amazing skills, that you don’t even need to pay attention. Hmm, perhaps I should be learning from you.”
When I actually heard that in the movie, I stopped and rewinded and wrote it down, because that is so how I feel when doing this stuff. Because here I am, I put myself out there, and I’m teaching these tutorials, and what I’m teaching, are very solid skills. I’m teaching how to use the tools, and I’m teaching how to use them in a professional environment. And the artistic side of it will come with your own style and flair as you get better at it. But I firmly believe that you need a good, solid foundation in which to do it.
However, there are always people that always got something to say. I actually brought this up in last week’s episode. And don’t get me wrong, I mean people that aren’t sending me emails or anything, they aren’t telling me these things, I just know this is how people think. And it’s fine that they’re not emailing me, that’s good, great, fantastic, I don’t need to hear about it. If you don’t like what I have to teach, then go away.
Obviously you’re still listening to this, you’re still go to the video website, you still learn so you are my audience. You are the people that I am talking to, and I don’t need to cater to them. The how-to videos out there, it’s crazy. I was asked about why Adobe Photoshop’s default method of opening and creating a new image is by using 8-bit color. I was asked the question and I really didn’t know the answer.
Why is it, that the Photoshop default is 8-bit color? Yes, you can say that’s it’s 16-bit color and it will remember that, and so I was curious. I posted on retouch pro a very simple question and I expected just a little bit of a conversation, maybe some people said maybe this or maybe that, but it actually turned into one of the usual bloodbath. There are just so many people out there that got something to say. One guy said something that he thought it was in his world fact, which is cool, opinions are great. And then the next guy comes along and says: no, you’re wrong. And then someone else comes along and agrees with the other guy, and the other guy just went back and forth with all these people and I just gave up reading the thing. It totally left the point of my initial question. One of the first guys made a comment about how I have used the wrong terminology. Well, sorry pal, I didn’t realize that I had to get it perfect for you.
So I’m just bringing this up because you had been in the industry where people are very cut pro. Everyone has to be better than the next guy. And the same thing happens in culinary – with food. Now, I have nothing to do with culinary, I have nothing to do with food, my wife has. And she would come home and tell me how this student had been better than that had, and this gets me so frustrated just how people are. I mean, everyone can have an opinion. There is more than one way to make a client happy, which is really what it’s about, right? It’s just about making the client happy, and moving on to the next job. And when you go to a forum like that, you ask a question, it’s ok to get different opinions, but they just went off. And it wasn’t even like the conversation accelerated as it went on, no, it was like: I’m right, you’re wrong… What was that all about? I don’t understand. So that’s why I don’t even like going over there and making any posts. Because then it makes me feel like I’m the dumb ass. I went through grammar school and high school feeling like a dumb ass. As an adult, I don’t need that in my life.
I put in my time, I’m good at what I do, and I know I am. I don’t have to be the best. I just have to be good enough for the smile on my face to keep bringing in the clients. And that is really the bottom line of it. There’s always going to be someone out there that knows more than you. I previously mentioned that I had purchased a tutorial from another professional retoucher. I’m not mentioning who it is, because I haven’t really gotten fully through it and I don’t want to put myself out there like that just yet until I had a chance to fully review and digest all that information. But I gotta tell you, I have been doing this for over 20 years, and this person really made me stand up and think and look and pull out a notebook and start writing notes. And honestly, it was just the introduction. We haven’t even gotten into anything yet. It was like the first chapter. I watch all kinds of other professional videos, I watch the …..com, Total Training, and all that stuff, but those for beginners. Maybe I pick up something that I didn’t know and I can find useful after a 2 or 3 hour video. But this one has my absolute attention, and I’m totally focused on it, I’m watching it, learning it, taking notes, and this person is apparently is filling out all the gaps that I didn’t know.
Of course, I don’t know everything. I mean Photoshop and retouching and color series are a huge topic. And even though I have been doing this in my entire career, there is always so much more to learn. It’s one of those things you might as well just give up if you expect to know everything, because you can’t, you really can’t. I even watched one of those Photoshop tips and tricks type of things from Kelby, and they do all kinds of stuff, I don’t know anything about, but you know what, I don’t need to know all that stuff. I don’t need to know how to do all the things that they show. I watch it for my own self education.
But overall it doesn’t really matter. It’s not going to help me do what I do, what I am paid to do. It’s really what the bottom line of it is. And since I’m not a designer, drawer or anything like that, I only have to pay attention to it because basically I need to be focused on the important things, and getting the job looking right and printing right, and that’s where my focus is. And that is why I am interested in this particular video series because this person is essentially all over the place, he is talking about this, and talking about that, and talking about the other thing, and it’s like: wow, this is great! It isn’t just sitting here and cloning, or sitting here and talking about one tool, or another tool, or how did you do this or that. It’s just a lot of theory, you know, a lot of things you should know, could know, but maybe you do, maybe you don’t. It’s like a cliff notes of retouching. Pretty cool. And I’m sure I will share it with you in the near future.
I have been watching this video tutorial from my back patio I have owned for several years but I never went out there. I always come down and work in my office. At the beginning of this Summer I had finally bothered to buy a patio set that was just totally and completely worth every penny. In this case I go out there with my morning coffee, eat my breakfast, take the laptop outside, plug it in, and watch a couple of chapters of the video. And it’s great, because I got the birds chirping, squirrels up on the trees, my son’s at school and nobody’s bothering me, it’s great. And this is my ultimate goal, really, to be a freelancer who can make his own hours and work his own time, and for me, going out there and having a nice, quiet breakfast and learning something, making my way in, doing some work before my son comes home and I get to spend the afternoon with him, and then when he goes to bed I come back down to my office and do some more work. And overall I think that this is absolutely perfect.
I bought a house 8 years ago, in an effort to create a lifestyle for myself. However, I spend all that time fixing it, tinkering, ignoring and otherwise just living there. I spent all that time looking out the window to the back yard wishing I could spend the time out there doing that I wanted to. But who has the time?
This year, it has been goal of self improvement. As the summer began, I finally bought that patio set for my back yard. I connected one of those outdoor electrical boxes to the side of the house (Stupid design). I also hooked up an old wireless router that I am using to bridge the connection to easily reach the back of the house.
I had decided that if I didn't make the intentional changes to create the life I wanted, no one was going to. So how did all that time and money work out for me? This morning I got up, took a shower, made a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal. I poured my milk, grabbed my laptop, and I am now outside, enjoying the birds giving their morning hellos. I have that golden sunshine bouncing off the grass and trees. And since the sun has not yet began to burn the air, it is warm with a gentle breeze blowing.
So, was all this possible because I connected a wireless connection, or bought a patio set? No, they were just single steps towards the end goal, which was driven by my desire to live a life of a freelancer. I took the larger, insurmountable task, and broke it down into parts, back when it was the middle of the worst winter our country had seen in many, many years. I knew I didn't want to be living the way I was, anymore. I didn’t want to live in the cold, I didn’t want to do shoveling, I didn’t want to be dealing with any of that any more. Sorry to all you Russians out there, who had nothing but snow and cold. What I really wanted to do, chose to amplify, the parts of my life that were most ideal. So I was in the middle of that terrible winter, and I was building the website. It all started, with building the website. Slowly, as I had free time. I looked at ways that I could make money from it, then began focusing on that. As other sources of income started coming in, because I went looking for them, I started dropping the amount of time I needed to spend working for someone else. Now, I am at the point that I am building an updated, professional looking portfolio.
I remember back about 6-7 years ago, I had created a book of my photography and retouching, then went to one of those online digital places to have it printed. When I started showing it around, just for fun, someone said to me "This is fantastic. Why are you here?" Funny, I never last those four words go. It was a valid question. Sadly, I spent the next few years trying to find an answer to that. The answer was that I was raised to be an employee. My wife was raised to be an employee. I didn't know anyone who was an entrepreneur. A self-starter, independently motivated person.
I needed to stop worrying if I was good enough. I needed to stop wondering how I could maintain clients. I had to stop thinking about how I would even find clients. Life tends to work itself out like that, once you set your mind right. Mainly, it's just that you stop looking at all the hindrances, all the things that stop you from moving forward, and start noticing the opportunities, that is the biggest trick. Then once you see those opportunities, you get up off your lazy, comfortable ass, and go grab it. I’m only talking to you like this because I spent 15 years working in …… I got out of college, I was hired by a pre-press, and I was doing printing ever since. I was expected to do the math right every time, I was expected to put the film right every time, I was expected to retouch right every time. And it had to be right and it had to be fast. Even today, it has to be right and has to be fast. I don’t want to live my life that way anymore. I just don’t.
I don’t need to be beaten on for eight hours every day, making some other guy rich. And it’s not even that he’s rich. He’s not buying a Porsche or something. He’s left with his monthly payments. While I’m the one sitting on the phone making his clients happy. And then when I do make the client happy, I hang up the phone, he tells me I did it wrong. Look, I don’t want to be preaching to the choir. You all know what it’s like. I know you do, because you are still listening to me talking about it. I have been talking since 20 minutes now, about something that had nothing to do with retouching. Seriously. But it doesn’t need to be about retouching. It’s just about being a freelancer. This is what we all want to do. I’ll be honest. When I was doing this for 5 years, it was the late 90s. And at that point in my life, everything was falling apart on me. I wanted to start a pre-press house.
Why not? I told myself. I’ve got the computer, I’ve got the printer, I got a scanner, I have been spending all these years working, saving all the money, so I can go out buying electronic toys, so I can do this stuff at home. Not for work, but because I enjoyed it, I had passion for it. And I was 5 years into it. Then I spent the next 15 years telling myself I couldn’t do it, because I didn’t have a big enough printer. I didn’t have a fast enough computer. I didn’t have the ability to print plates. I didn’t have enough knowledge about color, I didn’t have enough retouching ability. I mean, there was always one excuse after another. And the reality of it is: nothing of that matters! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. Go join a meet-up group, go meet some people. Even if retouching is just a hobby and you’re a professional photographer, that’s great. Go, meet some clients. Go, meet some people that are going to bring work in, that will allow you to take the pictures that you want, then you can spend the time retouching and making them look nice.
As I said, with episode one, I didn’t know what this podcast was going to be turning to. But I think, I’m very clear, over the past 3 episodes that what it’s really about is being a freelancer and creating the life that you want. As I said a little bit earlier, the biggest trick to this to notice the opportunities when they present themselves to you. And after you notice it, you need to act on it. Today I sat in a meeting with that photographer that I was telling you about in the previous episodes. And this is the second meeting that we had, the first one we had was all the background business and stuff. The second one was all about the website, about the artwork, about the presentation. And it got me so excited, because this was so more interesting than the other business related nonsense that we had to go through to get to this point.
So anyway, I hope you found this podcast inspiring, to get you up off your ass and get you do something, meet somebody, watch a tutorial, go do whatever you got to do to make yourself happy. And don’t think of it as the happy part is sitting out on the beach, think about it one step at the time. Even if you have to go and make a mind-map. If you don’t know what a mind-map is, go and look it up. And start at the end to work your way backwards. For me, I started with sitting on the beach, doing nothing. And how can I do that? And I started my mindmap going backwards from there. In order to do that, sitting on the beach was just meta-physical. It was just a thought, an idea. It doesn’t mean that you have to sit on the beach and do nothing, it was just an idea that I had to sit there and do nothing. And yet: my house was being taken care of, how does that happen? Who’s cleaning it? Who’s mowing the lawn? Ok, once I knew that, how was I getting the money to pay that? And I just worked my way all the way back. And I broke this entire process up into pieces. And at that point I was finally able to see the whole picture, where my end goal was, what I needed to do to achieve that goal.
So anyway, I wasted enough both our times on this episode, I just want to remind you that if you are still paying attention then I do have private classes if you are interested go to the website, there is a thing up the top about signing up for classes, send me an email, and then we can work on whatever you need specifically, that will help you achieve your own goal. You just need to make that first step, that first effort, that first contact. Even if you are just looking for a mentor, someone who can help you, someone who can push you, someone who can keep you accountable. Send me that email and I will do what I can for you. If you are listening just on iTunes, Zoone, or one of those other Blackberry services, do the RSS feed, and please remember that the videos that are out there on YouTube and all that other stuff on all those other websites are only half of what we actually have available on the website. www.theartofretouching.com , so make sure you check out the actual website. If there is anything that you are interested in, please sign up as a member.
And this last bit may come off as a total plug, but I just did a video for Pick the Colors – iCorrect Editlab Pro6, – man, that is a mouthful! – anyway, if you are interested in it, you can go to the: links.theartofretouching.com/editlab where you can find a little bit more about this plugin. I’m not going to lie to you and say that it’s for retouchers, because it really isn’t. If you are a retoucher, this isn’t something you are interested in, this is actually for print-houses, for wedding photography, for headshots, schools, things where you need fast turnaround, because the software has a batch function in it, so you can queue up all those images and just start batch processing on an image by image basis, meaning that they don’t have to be 100% identical.
It’s going to look at each image based on the image’s own exposure and color and whatnot, but what is really great about it is that it’s fast, it has all the main features that are already in Photoshop, like levels and stuff and what makes it really good is that you don’t have to make all these adjustment layers and everything, you can literally just go from one tab to the next and it’s done. It also has a single do button. Just push it, and it does exactly what you wanted to do. It automatically color corrects, fixes the exposure and everything, it does a really good job. And I’m not just saying that, I really was impressed and I actually did try the last version, back in November. I went back to the publisher picked the color and we had a whole discussion about it where it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. And then what came out at the other end is version 6 and was super fantastic.
I know it’s not necessarily a product that you know anything about, but please take a look at it and if anything that I said sounds like something that you need out of a retouching plug-in, and additionally it’s not even just a plug-in, it’s a stand alone product if you need it to be, so you don’t even need Photoshop, you can work in Lightroom or aperture, or whatever program you use, and then you can have this is part of your raw workflow, and already get these images right, so if you editing a hundred images, this program will definitely improve your workflow and quality. And again, it was links.theartofretouching.com/editlab. I do have a video review on the website as well, if you want to go check that out, you can see what it does and how well it does it.
Use the PictoColor EditLab Coupon Code: "ART11" for 11% Off the entire order. Yeah, that's 10%, kicked up a notch.
So I think I finally wrap up this episode. I think I did everything I need to pitch, the only thing I didn’t mention is that if you like what you hear, please give us a thumbs up on iTunes and YouTube and the new GooglePlus – by the way, I was banned from GooglePlus – I was one of the early adapters, I signed up for it, I got in, it’s already locked out, you can’t get in, and then they banned me. I emailed them, made whatever changes they wanted, and I got back in. So anyway, give us a thumbs up, and even on iTunes, leave a little review, on YouTube leave a review, so wherever you are listening to this podcast, or watching our tutorials, please give us that positive review and I hope others find us as well.
So if you found this podcast inspiring and the video tutorials helpful, please go to www.TheArtofRetouching.com and sign up as a member and you can watch more free videos and tutorials.