When I first attempted to retouch the photographs I took in 2006, I had no idea what I needed to do and how. Today there are thousands of video tutorials on the web on how to retouch, but nobody explains what it is that needs to be retouched to make a female face look more youthful, healthy and beautiful. It took me some time to figure out what the common problems that I needed to remove from my subjects' faces and bodies were, and what I had to alter to make them look more attractive.
I intuitively targeted specific areas and imperfections when retouching faces, and I must have done it well, because, even despite the lack of technical knowledge back then, I managed to make all my clients and models happy with my manipulations.
My photography and retouching preferences and taste have changed a million times since then, as I kept improving my technical skills, but the problems and imperfections that I was attacking in almost every single image stayed the same. I had never been taught by anyone, and I had not taken any human anatomy classes for artists before I started retouching. But as any teenage girl I was in love with glossy fashion and beauty magazines and I managed to collect big piles of various titles over the years.
When my parents suggested I start getting rid of old issues, I went through them and torn out the pages with photographs I liked. I carefully cut the photos out and glued them into a large notebook. That was the beginning of my Visual Journal that may have caused the big changes in my life a decade and a half later.
I continued collecting magazine covers, photographs, illustrations and even business and post cards if they contained inspiring visuals. It almost turned into an obsession - I would pull out pages in magazines while waiting for my hairdresser appointment in a salon... and anywhere else if I had a chance.
After a few years I ran out of room in that notebook, but I still keep it - it is at my parents' home in Moscow, and I re-visit it every time I travel there to see my family.
I spent so much time looking at those pages over the years that I remember what pictures are neighboring on some of them. Little did I know by studying all those faces of difference shapes, ages and races, I effectively trained my eye in human anatomy, and learned to appreciate and understand the beauty of a female face and body.
I studied Economics and spent almost 10 years in the financial industry working my way up... and then one day I quit everything and went to study photography in Australia. I am now a full-time Beauty photographer and retoucher, and that Visual Journal might have been be the reason.
When I started teaching retouching I realized that even after I explained how specific tools and techniques worked, most of my students would not know what they should use them for to make a female face more attractive in post-production. And since I had been always relying purely on what I thought looked good when retouching, I did not know how to explain my tactics to my students.
When I started working on my new retouching video training "From Amateur to Pro in a Week", I decided that I had to do my research and find out why the retouching decisions that I had been making always worked and pleased my clients.
I have put together this video in an attempt to explain what it is that makes female faces look less attractive, so that we know what it is that we need to be looking for to minimize or eliminate when retouching a female portrait or a beauty image and make those faces look fresh, youthful and beautiful.
Please remember I am not a biology specialist or beautician, I am only a female beauty photographer and retoucher. I think I have found some answers and I am happy to share them with you. Hopefully, you will learn something new and exciting from my explanation too.
If you would like to learn more about Beauty Photogrpahy and Retouching with me, join me and our big Fstoppers family at the Fstoppers Workshops in May 2015.