Elia Locardi is Back

The Monday Retouch: Episode 2

It's Monday morning and that means another completed retouch and time to submit your image for next week. We had more amazing submissions last week and here is the winner! In this post, you will see the SOOC image compared to the retouched image and I will discuss the particular challenges and the direction I decided to go with the photo. You can also watch the entire retouch in the video. And once again, you can post any image of yours that you would like and it may be chosen to be retouched for free and delivered to you in full-res to do with what you'd like.

Submit Your Image to Be Retouched

  • Any genre of photography can be submitted for retouching.
  • Make sure you are checking your email so if you are selected, you can send over the raw in time.
  • We prefer images that are recently shot and have not been retouched, but anything you want to submit is fair game.
  • Only one image per person per week.
  • If an image isn't selected, it can be resubmitted in a following week.

The Challenge

This week's image comes from Photographer Jon Wolding, of actress Dahlia Legault, who also happens to be "Francine" on the HBO's The Walking Dead. Jon did a great job on the images and even sent over his raw conversion files. I did, however, start from scratch to keep things on an even playing field. 

One of the challenges with this image was the small pores. This is something that is a bit of potluck; everyone and everyone's skin is different and when you are retouching a closeup and the skin pores happen to be smaller, it can be a challenge, at least for me. It's just one of those things that give me trouble, the reason being that there are going to be more small texture shifts and it can be difficult to determine what to retouch and what to leave. If you go overboard, you can wind up completely eliminating the natural skin texture, which is a huge no no.

Another challenge that we also saw in last week's image, but for a different reason, is color shifts. You will see in the original common shifts, like the red under the eyes and on the nose, but there are also color shifts in the shadows. Color shifts in different value ranges isn't an odd issue, but in this image, I also can see varying shifts of color in the shadows. I elected to just use a color layer and paint in the color changes I needed. By color layer, I mean a blank layer whose blending mode is set to "Color;" this means that whatever you paint will only change the color information. I did this for some of the areas, while for other areas, I used another layer set to "Hue". Hue is just like "Color," except it causes no change in saturation.

What Next?

One of the things that made this image fun to work on is that I had creative liberty on where to take it. It is a closeup portrait, but it isn't really a beauty image. There are elements in the retouch that may be similar to a beauty retouch, but I had the option of taking the styling and coloring to a different place. 

The mood and feel of this image are really decided in the last few steps of the retouching. In the video, you will see that I use Selective Color to color tone the photo. I then continue to use Dodge & Burn to grade the image to match the more dramatic and cinematic feel of the eventual final image. I also use one of my favorite techniques: setting a "Black and White" Layer to Soft Light.

So, what's next really depends on the author, so to speak. Where do you want the image to go? Should it be toned and graded more like a beauty image, a traditional portrait, or a dramatic movie poster? The image really leaves a lot up to the retouching. You could try to continue to work on texture issues, try to use D&B to smooth out tonal transitions, or use D&B to create more contrast and impact.

Submit Now!

I can't wait to see what you have in store for me next week. Submit your image in the comments below and check your emails. If you are selected, I will email you on Thursday or Friday for the raw or full-res jpeg.

Lance Nicoll's picture

owner of Lance Nicoll Wedding Photography - Fine Art Wedding Photography Studio

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here's an unedited image

Thanks Ben!

@Ben Scott
My first post and I am a editing newbie stuck in Lightroom and Aperture.
My first impression was- Why would you want to get that edited ? A sparkle in the eye perhaps!!
I look forward to this one.

Ben can you email me the RAW - me@lancenicoll.com

I just saw this. Emailing you now.

edited pic :)

SOOC baby!!

Very nice!

Love that you aim to keep the original skin texture - keeps it looking real.