Digitoxin wrote: Yes. Your photos would benefit significantly from (shooting RAW)and retouching. If you are trying to produce the best possible images you can, why would you not retouch?
I agree with shooting in RAW. It's really changed my photography for the better. You have a better range of tools to edit with and it's pretty awesome.
I'd say start with the basics like cropping, color adjustments, sharpening, contrast and so on. Just play around with different settings to get a feel for it.
I love the natural look in your photos. You don't need Adobe's Photoshop. If you're to do any kind of retouching at all, choose a program that respects your freedoms: use GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop.
GIMP is released under the GNU General Public License, which guarantees users' their four essential software freedoms.
Photoshop, paintshop pro, etc, are tools that can refine an image, tailor it to your artistic vission. You look to shoot the "artistic nude" style but some of your images come off as snapshots from a sexy encounter. for example 18+ http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/31976959 this comes off as more of a snapshot, if you cloned out the toilet paper, toilet, and towel bar it would be a more artful representation of the model. Reasonable images can be edited to good, good images to excellent, and excellent images sometimes need no refinement at all.
Just my 2 cents worth, on the subject.
Your lighting and compositional skills are actually rather good, so don't spend a lot of energy trying to take someone else's idea of a good shot, just continue to develop your own style. I see the value and the potential in your work.
As to your original question, should you use photoshop? Only you should answer that.
If you're the type of person who was happy handing in the film at a lab (in days of yore) and with what you got back, well, carry on, nothing wrong with that.
I on the other hand always feel the need to fuss, and to go to print in advertising my clients expected it, so I did my own darkroom work, and now (since 1995) do all my own "darkroom" work in Photoshop on my computer. But that's me, not you.
If you're happy, enjoy! I had a look through your portfolio and I did.
Just as the darkroom printing was the finishing touches and adjustments to make a photograph print, so is post editing your digital images.
Get the foundation and basics down in your camera phase of the shoot and then use post edit to fine-tune the photo, as in: tone, contrast, skin blemish, cropping adjustments and so forth.
Your port examples off the top [has potential] yet looks relatively flat to me as they lack that "punch" that can easily be taken care of in photoshop.
I say edit away... but don't go crazy.
It's all about what YOU want in your photos that matters
honestly I think people think of photoshop too much as "fixing" errors, or making a bad image look "recovery/salvage a photo."
I think of photoshop more as an artist's tool, you use it enhance a photo. Think of it this way, when you watch a movie, is it necessary to edit a movie? Absolutely not, but when youre any of the big blockbuster hits I can guarantee you someone at least color graded it. There are some things that are easier and less expensive to do in post. BUT all that editing, even if it was the best in the world doesnt mean jack if the lighting wasnt there, if the script wasnt perfected, and the actors well chosen.
I feel editing is to enhance what was already there, and also to add your own artistic twist and personality to a photo. Just my opinion though
Just speaking as a model...I decline more offers than I accept. And this is due to judging quality of work. For me it's taste in images for my styles. And also final quality of the image.
When I work with a photographer I want to be comfortable with how I'm portrayed. I have my flaws listed on my profile. I don't need liquify unless I'm twisted odd and have some unflattering wrinkle or bump or something on the skin....
But I think most every model in the world can benefit by having a flaw touched up, such as stretch marks, blemishes, wrinkles, under eye bags, etc. In addition to sharpness, lighting, poses, expression. It's the overall details that stand out to make people take notice. And that's typically why people show their work in any position in the industry. Get noticed for what you're trying to display to the world..
When we are surrounded by "fixed" or "altered" digital media, the active choice of not changing a llama's appearance with spot editing can be a strong and viable artistic choice. I generally find your nude portfolio kind of bland, but the lack of editing does gives it a stronger sense of reality. I just don't find the the photos to be engaging or inspiring.
I do think if would help your art overall to understand and use digital editing when it is right. Your main challenge may simply be that other people perceive your work to be less skilled and llamas who believe they have flaws that need to be fixed may not choose to work with you. But in the end, only you need to be happy with your art.