Although there have been countless articles written on the subject of Frequency Separation - including several here on Fstoppers - the current state of retouching has me somewhat concerned about its use. Its widespread adoption, use and overuse has brought us to the point where frequency separation is fast becoming the number one culprit for poorly retouched and cringe worthy work. While I’m not convinced that we need to ban it outright, I do feel that the way we approach it needs to fundamentally change.
As you may already know, I spend a good deal of time polishing my photos in post production and have taught retouching in Photoshop for some time. A few months ago I made the move from Lightroom to Capture One and haven't looked back. To test out it's power, I decided to see just how close I could get to my portrait retouching style using only Capture One Pro 8 and forgoing Photoshop entirely.
Retouching problems start well before we sit down in front of the computer and begin pushing pixels around. I know this because as I reflect on my past work, I realize that I’m as guilty of making countless mistakes as much as anyone else. Rather than talk about techniques like dodging and burning, frequency separation, etc. let’s focus on more high level problems that might be leading you in the wrong direction.
A common issue that we're often faced with when using hard light modifiers such as a beauty dish or open reflector, is that of over-exposed highlights on our subject's forehead, nose and under eye areas, which also results in lost skin texture in those regions. While raw processors offer up the ability to recover highlight detail, this rarely leads to satisfactory results. In this tutorial I'll show you how to recover the texture while leaving the overall luminosity in-tact to produce a well-balanced result.
You are probably familiar with Natalia Taffarel as we've featured her in the past. In case you aren't, you can check out her work here. What I love about Natalia is that not only is she a great retoucher but she's also very open and giving. Ever since I've known her when she started, she's always had a great attitude about sharing and helping others grow. This video really shows her character come through.
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