Laziness is the first motive of progress – it makes us optimize our workflow to work less and rest more.
But prior to some chilling out, we need to do our job really well, just to avoid correcting our own mistakes over and over again.
Here are some hints for lazy photographers like me, who want to save time on retouch and devote more time to the fun of shooting. Or just to sleep more, or whatever.
How often do you sit looking through your pics on a computer screen, taking a glance at 100% magnification and mumbling “Oh come on! It did not look that bad during the shoot!”. I do this from time to time – because what you get after the shoot is not what you see through your eyes, and it’s also not what you see on camera’s LCD screen. Full-size images, especially when you have a 18- or whole 36-megapixel camera, bring so much detail, that you sometimes want to switch back to your long forgotten 4Mpix point-and shoot, leaving as much detail as “these four pixels are her nose, just look at this 5-pixel line – her smile is so sweet”.
And now you zoom in on your 27-inch monitor, and have a model’s eye stretch from one corner of the screen to the other, revealing all the detail regardless of its esthetic value.
It’s awesome that technology has stepped this far, in fact there can never be “too much detail”.
But that leads to a certain pain in the butt when it comes to retouch.
There are, though, some things you can do to significantly save time – regardless of how much detail your camera gives – it is a really good practice to correct all the nuances at the time of shoot, not in Photoshop. If you’re making a series of pictures, I am sure you don’t want to sit and correct for twenty times a nuance you’ve overseen only once during the shoot.
Below are the examples from my RAW images, so as you can see – I have them all, and in practice it can be quite hard to eliminate all the drawbacks at once. But the more effort you give in advance, the easier it’ll go in the future.
So what are these nasty little things whispering into your ear “Ah, it’s fine, you can leave that to post-processing”?
1. Bad/smudged/no makeup
Never ever save time and money on good makeup! It can seem okay if you’re a male human being not telling mascara from eye shadow. But if you want your photos to look professional, you just have to pay attention to things like that. Even if a makeup artist (or the model herself) did a good job, under some circumstances, it might need correction along the way.
2. Glossy skin
If your shoot is really hot, your models will start sweating at some point, and, being overtaken by other important stuff to remember, you can easily overlook that moment when their faces become as glossy as Bruce Willis’s head. Make sure to add some toning and powder if needed.
3. Single hairs over the face
Long hair looks amazing and some hair disorder can be a true spice of the entire picture, but you better watch out, as when out of control, it can grant you a romantic evening with Miss Healing Brush.
4. Folds on clothing
This one can look okay even if disregarded completely – depending on the overall style. If it’s something urban and casual – it is one thing. But if it is a corporate business portrait – this is unlikely to be acceptable.
5. Dirty studio background
If you’re shooting in studio, make sure that background is clean enough, for retouch can be not as easy as it may seem.
6. Reflections in sunglasses
These can look funny when viewed at 100%. Try adjusting the angle or using a polarizing filter to remove unwanted reflections.
You often can’t do too much about them, but you can try applying some tonal cream just to normalize the color and luminosity of affected areas.
8. Cold skin
Your model is freezing? Give her some hot tea and turn the heater on. Not only will he/she be grateful, but you will have no problems with magenta-colored hands and legs::
9. Tight clothing traces
Make sure your model does not wear any tight clothing, if she needs to take it off later. These can remain visible for too long!
10. Fingerprints and dust
Macro shooters know this way too good. But even if your photo is not an extreme close-up, you better take care to remove these.
Of course, sometimes we just have no possibility to make everything perfect from the beginning – it’s either because of lack of time, or poor organisation of a shoot, totally not depending on us, or a hundred of other circumstances. But keeping in mind all this stuff can grant you a day off, so have some diligence for the sake of your laziness!
This list is too far from being complete – we’d love to read about your experience in comments!