Way back when, before traveling and scheduling became a bit crazy for me, I issued a second Retouch Challenge to Fstoppers readers, offering up a raw file from a shot I did of model Anna Truett in St. Louis. After receiving a couple hundred submissions, I have finally (no, really) selected my favorite ten edits. Let's take a look!
Issuing these challenges is definitely an eye opening experience. If your assumption is that many of the edits I received were, shall we say, not very good, then you'd be correct. However, I was far more impressed by the wild diversity in style from edit to edit. Many of the retouched Anna images I received were perfectly fine from the technical perspective, but varied considerably in color grading and overall tonality. Giving you guys zero guidance or direction on how or where to take your edits proved to be the most interesting aspect of this challenge.
For the record, this is my final edit of shot:
After seeing my own edit along with all the submissions, another thing that occurred to me was that mine was... predictable. It looked like every shot I've edited in the last 12 months or so, and I wondered if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Couldn't decide. The bottom line is, every photographer is so different in how they see an image, and ultimately how they retouch it. In deciding on the final edits I preferred, I did my damnedest to choose ones that stood out, on their own, as a complete artistic "thought" even if I didn't personally like the color work. As you take a look, think about it, because you are going to like some of them and totally hate some of them; that's just the way it goes with any art form.
Well, without further ado, check out my favorite 10 edits that you awesome humans sent in: