Last weekend I was in the studio shooting senior portraits**. We had six young ladies in on Saturday and with 2 looks each I’m sure you can imagine that adds up to a lot of images. Just over 80 final images that needed retouching. What’s more, every image needed to be magazine quality and available for the client by Tuesday evening.
Time was not on my side, especially as I hand retouch every image personally.
Yes — I could automate it but to be honest I don’t like the overprocessed, same-old same-old look that many of my coleagues produce. Plus, I charge a premium price because I hand finish the images so automating and outsourcing aren’t really avenues that I want to pursue for strategic reasons. To me, retouching is just as much a part of the creative process as the lighting, styling, directing and making the images. It’s ingrained in my very style.
Thankfully I had a few tricks up my sleeve. In an earlier post I wrote about the benefits of having a defined process to improve client experience. That same rationale is as equally applicable to retouching as it is to running the ops side of your business. In essence, I use a defined workflow for retouching — it gives me consistency, I don’t need to ‘think’ or re-invent the wheel every time and more importantly, it gives me a massive productivity boost when it comes to retouching.