My focus has always (and will always) be more on the photography side than post-processing, but I've always been frustrated by my lack of knowledge and skill when I'm working with my photos. Like just about every amateur photographer, I'm forced to learn and do the retouching/editing myself.
I use Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5, and I'm relatively comfortable in Lightroom and know about enough with Photoshop to do some basic cloning/healing and awful dodging and burning. I'm also stuck on a Lenovo Thinkpad E420 laptop with a matte screen, but that's not going to change for a while.
How can I learn more in some sort of meaningful way rather than learning totally scattered bits (and some much better than others) from random online tutorials and YouTube videos? How have all of you learned and developed your skills?
Jan 17 13 10:33 pm Link
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
honestly it just takes practice. i've been using photoshop off and on for about 8 years now and i'm still learning new things and new techniques for editing photos.
youtube video's and tutorials help alot if your trying to do something specific and eventually they all kinda blend together. i suggest taking some photo's and just play around with the settings and filters.
learning layer masks will be a huge benefit to you.
Jan 17 13 10:38 pm Link
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
look up chris orwigs portrait retouching tutorial.
It covers everything simply from start to finish (approx 13 hours).
There is also a fashion one.
It does cost a few dollars but very worth it.
Those two videos cover a massive ammount of info but break it down into 5-10 minute lessons on each specific thing.
Jan 17 13 11:02 pm Link
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
set a goal, i.e. i want to be able to retouch glamour. then find the techniques you want to learn, that are relevant to your style and those you personally find appealing.
it's really a taste, more than a technique thing. while most people think of retouching as a repair operation that fixes their otherwise broken photos, it is actually the opposite. there are no absolutes, and more retouching isn't necessarily better for your picture. slapping every available technique onto your photo isn't going to improve it.
also, looking at your photos this way will help you fix a lot of things in camera next time round. the key is to pre-visualize your work.
Jan 18 13 12:17 am Link
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
Crack The Sky wrote:
I will have to check this out. I think my post processing is my biggest set back right now.
Jan 18 13 01:00 am Link
El Paso, Texas, US
You could always go the traditional route and take some college classes. If you're not rich, look at the community college, and if you are rich, art schools are good.
You can self teach with books.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers by Martin Evening. This is an amazing comprehensive book for photographers.
Layers by Matt Kloskowski. This is a good beginners book that is informative easy to learn from.
The Adobe Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby. I haven't read this book, but hey, it's Scott Kelby.
Jan 18 13 01:11 am Link
El Paso, Texas, US
Oh, I forgot to add,
Natalia Taffarel's video, normally $250 is selling for less than $90. I would buy it. I haven't seen it, but everybody seems to love it. http://digitalphotoshopretouching.com/o … ials-dvd-2
Also, a book specifically about retouching that I have read is "Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop by Scott Kelby." It's easy to learn from and worth the money. You will always refer back to it.
Jan 18 13 01:21 am Link
Calhoun, Georgia, US
You can't always buy , sometimes you have to study and learn.. And yes it usually takes time.. I have been at it for 60+ years, and learn every day...
Jan 18 13 01:34 am Link
Lynchburg, Virginia, US
I suspect that this is your biggest barrier to learning. Maybe you can discover a different way of looking at retouching/editing -- a way that reflects and extends the way you experience photography.
Jan 18 13 06:43 am Link
Kansas City, Missouri, US
You should pass on the Natalia Taffarel's video, There is a reason is is selling for less than $90!?!?!
I have the DVD and did pay the full price ofr it...it was a waste!!!!
Jan 18 13 06:56 am Link
New York, New York, US
Buy an e-book, it's much cheaper, you can have it on the screen while you learn photoshop techniques.
Jan 18 13 07:01 am Link
Thank you everyone, that's some really great advice. I think I'll get one of the books mentioned and use it as a rainy-day reference while I'm working on photos and have time to kill.
Jan 18 13 03:26 pm Link
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
Crack The Sky wrote:
+1 This is where I learned all my retouching and photoshop.
Jan 18 13 03:32 pm Link
New York, New York, US
You could hire someone to do a one on one session with you or if you have a talented friend that really loves you they may do it as a favor to you
Jan 18 13 03:33 pm Link
Indianapolis, Indiana, US
If you'd rather learn for free than to pay a lot for tutorials, I'd suggest:
It has a large selection of online tutorials arranged by category and topic, making it very easy to use either as a reference or as a general learning tool. I've used it successfully for several years.
Jan 18 13 03:35 pm Link
Miami Beach, Florida, US
I would say set a goal on what you would like to accomplish and build up from there. If your unsure where to start, I would say focus on tutorials that may benefit towards the type of photography you do. I would suggest not to get caught up with 'step by step' approach, inputing exact numbers, as every photo is unique. First, I would understand the tools, methods and approach within every tutorial and develop a sense of 'vocabulary' for retouching. Once your comfortable, then you can look at tutorials for different techniques to tweak your 'current' workflow.
There are plenty of resources online to get you going with retouching. Honestly you'll learn and accomplish more by teaching and finding the resources yourself than going to a class or school. You must have the motivation to do it and always practice, practice practice. And then experiment. Fail and understand what you did wrong, to take note for future editing.
But one advice would be to not make drastic modifications while editing. Minimal changes are key and building up within your photo will make a drastic change in the end.
Hope this gives you some insight!
Jan 18 13 08:52 pm Link
allison mindy wrote:
If only I had the money! You have some amazing work.
I'm saving that to check out, looks like it has a lot of information
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
one more thing is don't give up. just because the results aren't what you were expecting right off the bat, doesn't mean your doing it wrong. It just might be that your adding too much on one adjustment.
as well don't be afraid to ask for help either.
Jan 18 13 09:30 pm Link
Digital Kythe Image wrote:
So many really good points, and I sure do agree with the last one. I sure don't shoot on film in order to airbrush it to death!
Jan 18 13 09:35 pm Link
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
+1...as I started out using PS I was very reluctant...didn't like it at all....Now I am very comfortable with it and learn new T&T's every day.
Jan 18 13 11:31 pm Link
Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala
You also have to take into account what you want to learn, why is lightroom feeling limited to you? I know of a photographer that I admire that uses mostly lightroom for his model work sometimes he does a quick cleaning on the face with the healing brush and that's about it. So depending on what you feel weak about in what you want to do in your images then you can focus a bit better on where to start.
I've seen the 3 dvd tutorials they've mentioned here, Natalia's, Kuronslav's (sorry if I misspelled) and Gry Garnes'... I would recommend all of them if you're interested in high end retouch that has to do with models, Natalia's talks about a few areas of retouch (from raw adjustments to background then to skin then eyes and lastly hair) its in depth enough that if you know your way you can get better and pick lots of tips just watching the way she works in the images, Kuronslav's dvd is basically an in depth look on dodge and burn and goes from the general to the details this one can help allot if you're still dumbfounded by dodge & burn, Gry Garnes' DVD is something like Natalia's but talks about other areas (color correcting, body manipulation) and also talks about the generalities of getting a retouched image ready for the client. These 3 dvd's I would recommend if you're medium to advanced in photoshop knowledge.
For starting Lynda.com is a great place, most of Chris Orwig's tutorials are very good (even if they're not about portrait retouching) they can help you think outside the box when it comes to photoshop, don't know if I've seen all of his tutorials on portrait retouching but his are focused less on what I would call High end look, they do work but some stuff is better done on the 3 dvd's I talked about earlier.
I would also recommend browsing the tutorials on retouchpro.com and if you have the patience look in the forums (its been ages since I've been there, but it was a good base).
Edit: Oh yeah I forgot also look and at least read the first page on this thread http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=439098
Jan 19 13 12:11 am Link