Brazil-based retoucher Victor Wagner reveals the Photoshop tools, tips and techniques for professional fashion, beauty and commercial images
There are 3 basic tools I use in my general retouching: the Clone Stamp tool, Healing Brush and the Brush tool. The Clone Stamp and healing tools are used to copy areas where the skin is clean to then use to cover some ‘dirty’ areas, and the Brush tool is used on a lot of different adjustment layers – basically it’s the one we use all the time.
What details are important to enhance, and which are important to soften or tone down when working in beauty retouching? Are there certain areas that it’s important not to overwork?
In beauty retouch it’s very important to enhance the objective of the photo. This could be the liptstick, eye shadow, eyelashes, hair, or nails, for example. We do still have to remember to work on every part of the image at the same time. However, if you’re dealing with a natural beauty image you have to pay attention to whether there is an overworked area and vice versa.
What advice would you give to retouchers just starting out in the industry? What core skills must they have/develop?
We all face challenges everyday, especially those of us who are young professionals. A lot of clients are always looking for very experienced people, with a wide background and impressive portfolio. It’s really hard sometimes when you receive a lot of declines and no replies, but there are always people looking for brand new retouchers in the industry because they sometimes would rather ‘polish’ a new retoucher than search for one that fits into their particular working style.
1. Be organised. Separate everything using layers and groups – it helps your workflow if you need to go back or hide some steps.
2. Look into your client’s portfolio and talk to him/her beforehand to know more about their tastes and style. It helps to avoid re-doing all your work later.
3. Look at a lot of fashion magazines/make-up books, learn by viewing other artists’ works, and get some references. All this can improve your vision as a retoucher.
5. Be careful with colour toning and saturating/desaturating the images. Before working on the colours, you need to figure out what the focus of the image is, and not distract the viewer from that principal objective. For example, super saturate an image where the important element is a strong red lipstick, so all the colours of the image will be strong and result in a piece that is distractingly vibrant. Be sure to calibrate your monitor correctly, so the colours will be as close to the final prints as possible.