The Best Edits From My Retouch Challenge #2

The Best Edits From My Retouch Challenge #2

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:

As is my usual, I approached this shot with the idea of giving it a polished, warm feel.

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:

Edit by Eric Nguyen

Edit by Ben Owen.

Edit by Nadia Doyle.

Edit by Jorge Casanova.

Edit by Will Gavillan.

Edit by Ben Scott.

Edit by Norbert Tukora.

Edit by Chris Porto.

Edit by Christal Houghtelling.

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Jason Lorette's picture

Oh wow...thanks for resurrecting this. Is there a way to get feedback from you on what you did or didn't like about our particular edit if ours wasn't picked? Love these challenges.

My favorite edits are yours and the one by Christal Houghtelling. Some (not all) of the others are too "creatively color graded" for my personal taste. I was going to download the original file and see how my own edit might look beside these, but you've unfortunately taken down the original file. I do hope you do more retouching challenges in the future. Hopefully, I'll catch the next one in time to actually participate. With that in mind, I actually turned on the push notifications from this site. ;)

Jason Lorette's picture

I agree, Nino's, Christal's...and I also like Nadia Doyle's too. :) Let's do another one! :)

Yeah, I almost mentioned the Nadia edit. It would be in the top three for me.

Nino Batista's picture

There will be more retouch challenges coming up, and some will have prizes!

Thanks guys...

Will Gavillan's picture

Nice, Top 10! Thanks Nino for the great image and cool challenge

Lenn Long's picture

Yeah I gotta go with Christal and Nadia on these. I really like the warmth of Nadia's.

Norbert Tukora's picture

Whoo-hoo! I'm on the list! ^_^

Ben Scott's picture

Thanks Nino! it was fun

Darren Nana's picture

Forgot to submit my entry... doh!

iuri schimanski's picture

Very interesting! Makes me want to try many different edits with my photos. Thanks!

Josean Rosario's picture

I totally forgot about this mine was the crazy one that added more tattoos

Tomash Masojc's picture

Vote for Ben Scott. I don't like Christials and Nadias for redish face, when all body is not so redish. And for my taste maybe too saturated.
Sorry for my words, just wanted to say why i choosed Ben.

Ben Scott's picture

Thanks Tomash!

I think all of them looks great, but the one by Nobert Tukora is the most passionate of them, maybe? Would love to have the raw file for compare.