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Ben D's picture

Advice wanted on how to find & collaborate with a retoucher

I've been shooting for 7 years and am now at the stage where I'm a pretty advanced and prolific (and if I dare say so, creative) hobbyist. I do 90% of my own edits and use retouchup.com sometimes for some straighforward repairs or touchup that I can't or don't want to do.

I want to take my finished images to a higher level of refinement, and am being held back by my fairly rudimentary post-processing skills.

I use Capture One Pro 11 and Exposure X3, and am reasonably good with both. Not an expert or advanced user, though. I rely a lot on presets, which is holding me back.

I hardly know how to use Photoshop, and that's probably also what's holding my work back from reaching a higher level of refinement. Ps intimidates me, and am 'meh' at the idea of taking an online course to better learn how to use it. I spend enough freaking time on the computer as it is!

So, that's the longish intro for where I'm at.

I'd like to find a good, creative retoucher and work with him or her on a long-term basis, where we are collaborating creatively on post-processing, as opposed to me just saying 'do this, do that.' They'd be playing as creative a role in post as I would.

I'm not sure where/how to start this process. I am on Model Mayhem, though I am no longer very active there. I'm constantly getting friend requests from Eastern European retouchers, but I ignore them b/c they are like spam at this point. And that really heavily frequency separation look (Playboy, Cosmo, Maxim) is what I see in their ports, and that look is pretty generic and fake, IMO.

Can any folks make suggestions, both for how to find a good retouchers to work with, and for how to collaborate effectively with one? As well as ways I can become better at it myself.

Many thanks for any suggestions.

My work:

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