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Photographer
David Muscroft
Posts: 7
Derby, England, United Kingdom


This is an issue that gets in the way of my model selection process.
As a professional spending large amounts of money on model fees, I spend a lot of time selecting models.
I’ve very often used a make-up artist to enhance the look of my models (and aid in styling decisions and wardrobe choices) but we all also have the option now of using the various skin-smoothing plug-in programmes that are available. These are the ones that we see the evidence of being so over-used on sites. Good models do not need it, most photographers over apply it. Advertisers use it to deceive us ! A couple of ‘professional’ MUA’s who I came across while trying to find a MUA even show examples of their ‘own work’ on their own sites using obvious skin smoothing  (are they selling make-up services or photo-finishing ?) .
Is this deliberate deception or mistaken use of technology ?
Even if such images are supplied by a photographer to the MUA, its still the end user’s duty of care on commercial websites not to deceive, I think ? This is valid even accepting that we all operate on the verge of deception just by striving to create the best images we can.
Last thing….. I am a professional, I don’t post for the fun of it, and I won’t respond to pointless or endless or off-topic threads. I hope the Forum Fairy (or monster) doesn’t run away with this one !
Dec 03 12 06:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


David Muscroft  wrote:
This is an issue that gets in the way of my llama selection process.

Doesn't get in the way of mine.  Regardless of what a photographer or MUA does to the final photo, if I'm that curious, I email the llama and ask them to send over a clean non-retouched headshot without makeup applied.

If they won't send one, that makes selection easy.  Next!

If they send one, that determines how much work any MUA that I use might have to do, or how much work I might have to do in post, depending on the look desired in the final image.

Dec 03 12 06:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WIP
Posts: 15,375
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


David Muscroft  wrote:
This is valid even accepting that we all operate on the verge of deception just by striving to create the best images we can.

Every artist since time began has used techniques, be it smudge, pastels or layering on paint.

Dec 03 12 07:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Loki Studio
Posts: 2,926
Royal Oak, Michigan, US


David Muscroft  wrote:
I’ve very often used a make-up artist to enhance the look of my models (and aid in styling decisions and wardrobe choices) but we all also have the option now of using the various skin-smoothing plug-in programmes that are available.

I am stunned that any serious photographer thinks that the highlights, colors, contouring, etc of a great MUA can be replaced by skin smoothing software or PS editing.  You must not work with skilled MUAs.

David Muscroft  wrote:
A couple of ‘professional’ MUA’s who I came across while trying to find a MUA even show examples of their ‘own work’ on their own sites using obvious skin smoothing  (are they selling make-up services or photo-finishing ?) . Is this deliberate deception or mistaken use of technology ?

The use of considerable skin editing is essential in a few styles, especially beauty and photographs used for advertising makeup.  This is a deliberate style choice consistent in the industry and will often be displayed in an MUAs work.   While some skin editing is clearly bad or over applied, it is hardly a deliberate deception when it is so obvious.

Photo retouching certainly existed before computer editing, even though it is more likely now to be overdone.   You seem not to like that style of photography and editing, so avoid it in your work.  All fashion and model photography aims to create a certain impression of the subject not already presented, so clamoring that is deceptive or false relative to other styles of photography is meaningless.

Dec 03 12 07:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 12,527
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Its never been an issue for me and this is one of the rasons that agencies don't like retocuhed images.  Most every agency I have done tests for specifically state that to me.
Dec 03 12 07:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,468
Seattle, Washington, US


David Muscroft  wrote:
This is an issue that gets in the way of my model selection process.
As a professional spending large amounts of money on model fees, I spend a lot of time selecting models.
I’ve very often used a make-up artist to enhance the look of my models (and aid in styling decisions and wardrobe choices) but we all also have the option now of using the various skin-smoothing plug-in programmes that are available. These are the ones that we see the evidence of being so over-used on sites. Good models do not need it, most photographers over apply it. Advertisers use it to deceive us ! A couple of ‘professional’ MUA’s who I came across while trying to find a MUA even show examples of their ‘own work’ on their own sites using obvious skin smoothing  (are they selling make-up services or photo-finishing ?) .
Is this deliberate deception or mistaken use of technology ?
Even if such images are supplied by a photographer to the MUA, its still the end user’s duty of care on commercial websites not to deceive, I think ? This is valid even accepting that we all operate on the verge of deception just by striving to create the best images we can.
Last thing….. I am a professional, I don’t post for the fun of it, and I won’t respond to pointless or endless or off-topic threads. I hope the Forum Fairy (or monster) doesn’t run away with this one !

Forum Fairy? Forum Monster? Those are professional sounding words.

you are asking whether to use an MUA or Plug-In ?

hmmm....should you use a Real Model or a Robot?

if you use a Plug-In i'd say you are downright lazy. Same goes for a Robot.

A great model with great Makeup can make a great Photograph. no retouching needed. Also, a great model with no makeup and precise (not a plug-in) retouching can make a great photograph. etc. etc.

Dec 03 12 07:28 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
o k u t a k e
Posts: 4,660
New York, New York, US


Photography is just an opinion.

A poor looking makeup job could be the result of a badly lit photo or it could just be a bad makeup job. I can deceive someone by lighting a poor makeup job in a way that makes it look fantastic. It's really the same thing as using Photoshop, it's just done at a different stage. You can also make a fantastic makeup job look like crap if you light it poorly. In the end, if you want good dependable results you have to work with people who you already know the quality of their work from previous experience.
Dec 03 12 07:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fullmetalphotographer
Posts: 2,739
Fresno, California, US


I am old school with a photojournalism background so I tend to focus on capture more than photo triage. That being said it comes down largely clients needs. Some art directors and editors want as little photoshop work done as possible because they have their own graphic artist teams other clients want or need the touchups.

In terms of makeup artist, I take it as a grain of salt. They are given most times the finished product images or tear sheets like models. So is it deceptive not really because they were apart of the process to complete the final images.

Skin smoothness to me is something I was talking to with MUA a while back. When I used to work in film, the film grain was subtle mask for skin flaws because it did not have the resolution of most digital cameras. So in someways we are balancing what was in the past as well as the fact that digital cameras can pick up more detail than the human eye.
Dec 03 12 07:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


You used the word "deceive" several times as if there is some ethical responsibility to present things just as they are. Marketing and advertising have never been about reality.

Example...have you ever seen a Big Mac in a TV ad? It's the most perfect looking creation you've ever seen - crisp lettuce with tiny drops of moisture on the leaves, full patties lightly steaming from the grill. And those buns...oh my plump and not a mark on them.

Compare that image with the smooshed greasy thing you actually get and I dare say that could easily be called false advertising.
Dec 03 12 08:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gabby57
Posts: 394
Coppell, Texas, US


I don't see anything shocking about the OP's question.  It depends entirely on what you want to achieve, your access to a good MUA and your abilities in re-touch.  Going sans make up or minimal make up would make a shoot go faster if several looks were wanted.

It's not a new question, it pre-dates photoshop certainly.  Some say Hurrell insisted on no make up, others say he didn't, but here is a "before" and "after" of Joan Crawford that definately relied on re-touching more than make up.  There's more than one way to do things, and more than one "old school":  http://fadedandblurred.com/spotlight/george-hurrell/
Dec 03 12 08:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,468
Seattle, Washington, US


Gabby57 wrote:
I don't see anything shocking about the OP's question.  It depends entirely on what you want to achieve, your access to a good MUA and your abilities in re-touch.  Going sans make up or minimal make up would make a shoot go faster if several looks were wanted.

It's not a new question, it pre-dates photoshop certainly.  Some say Hurrell insisted on no make up, others say he didn't, but here is a "before" and "after" of Joan Crawford that definately relied on re-touching more than make up.  There's more than one way to do things, and more than one "old school":  http://fadedandblurred.com/spotlight/george-hurrell/

but was a plug-in used? or was it retouched by hand?

Dec 03 12 08:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,304
Salem, Oregon, US


portraiture is no replacement for a good MUA. and if you have a good MUA you may not even need skin smoothing.

i did a headshot for a woman starting her own business the other day and she rejected the version i ran portraiture on (i didn't even use that much). that was a first. she preferred the straight-from-the-camera image.
Dec 03 12 08:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gabby57
Posts: 394
Coppell, Texas, US


Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
but was a plug-in used? or was it retouched by hand?

A good point of course, as Demming said, "there is no such thing as instant pudding."  My reply was perhaps too general, mia copa.

Dec 03 12 08:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,468
Seattle, Washington, US


twoharts wrote:
portraiture is no replacement for a good MUA. and if you have a good MUA you may not even need skin smoothing.

i did a headshot for a woman starting her own business the other day and she rejected the version i ran portraiture on (i didn't even use that much). that was a first. she preferred the straight-from-the-camera image.

bravo to her!  bravo!

Dec 03 12 10:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
o k u t a k e
Posts: 4,660
New York, New York, US


Mark Laubenheimer wrote:

but was a plug-in used? or was it retouched by hand?

I've yet to see a plug-in that can mimic the work of a skilled retoucher. I personally prefer a good MUA, but have also spent hours retouching images to get them just right. Nothing wrong with Portriature or any other automated plug-in. It's just another tool and how you use it is what counts.

Dec 03 12 11:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
K I S S P H O T O
Posts: 571
Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom


If you think skin smoothing can completely replace a makeup artist, you havn't been working with the right one.

When you find one which can contour and transform a face into something amazing, you'll realise that unless you're a complete pro with "highend" retouching, average editing just can't replace good makeup.. good makeup makes the whole face shape look different.. & makes models extra confident. Smoothing a flat bare face isn't going to make it look good.

You seen some girls horrific lashes shoved on with layers of glue? that type of thing just isn't worth the extra hours retouching lol
Dec 03 12 11:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,468
Seattle, Washington, US


o k u t a k e wrote:

I've yet to see a plug-in that can mimic the work of a skilled retoucher. I personally prefer a good MUA, but have also spent hours retouching images to get them just right. Nothing wrong with Portriature or any other automated plug-in. It's just another tool and how you use it is what counts.

but if you want to have soup i'd recommend a spoon. every time.

Dec 03 12 12:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Phil Drinkwater
Posts: 4,719
Manchester, England, United Kingdom


David Muscroft  wrote:
This is an issue that gets in the way of my model selection process.
As a professional spending large amounts of money on model fees, I spend a lot of time selecting models.
I’ve very often used a make-up artist to enhance the look of my models (and aid in styling decisions and wardrobe choices) but we all also have the option now of using the various skin-smoothing plug-in programmes that are available. These are the ones that we see the evidence of being so over-used on sites. Good models do not need it, most photographers over apply it. Advertisers use it to deceive us ! A couple of ‘professional’ MUA’s who I came across while trying to find a MUA even show examples of their ‘own work’ on their own sites using obvious skin smoothing  (are they selling make-up services or photo-finishing ?) .
Is this deliberate deception or mistaken use of technology ?
Even if such images are supplied by a photographer to the MUA, its still the end user’s duty of care on commercial websites not to deceive, I think ? This is valid even accepting that we all operate on the verge of deception just by striving to create the best images we can.

I'm trying to work out what the problem is.

Are you saying models are using over processed photos of themselves and it makes it difficult for you to choose them? Maybe choose different models then? If a model doesn't have a natural (real) photo in their book, to be honest, I'd move on straight away.

Or are you unhappy at makeup artists? If they're using overprocessed shots, move on. If they're part of teams using professionally retouched images, generally they've reached a level in the industry where their skills are good and showing that is sensible, not deception.

Or at plugins?

Or skin smoothing in general?

Or all of them?

David Muscroft  wrote:
Last thing….. I am a professional, I don’t post for the fun of it, and I won’t respond to pointless or endless or off-topic threads. I hope the Forum Fairy (or monster) doesn’t run away with this one !

I really don't think you needed to bring this up. But as you did, it's not a forum monster, but the way you originally set out the thread.

Dec 03 12 04:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R_Marquez
Posts: 4,609
San Francisco, California, US


People shouldn't pay photographers anymore. They can just buy a DSLR and do the work. Because all it takes is having a good camera.

/sarcasm

A good make up artist is not about giving a "smooth skin" look. Maybe sometimes it's about that, but that's just one of the things, in addition to a lot of other benefits. For good ones, it's also about their expertise and how to get the best out of a person's facial structure, matching skin tones, wardrobe, look of a shoot, etc..

But if all you need is skin smoothing, knock yourself out with portraiture.
Dec 03 12 10:44 pm  Link  Quote 
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