High end retoucher Carrie Beene is ready to share her enviable expertise with the world.
The busy New Yorker, who counts Sports Illustrated, Vogue, The New York Times and Vanity Fair among her clients, walks through her “arsenal of Photoshop tricks” and reveals never-before-published retouching secrets in her new book, Real Retouching: The Professional Step by Step Guide.
She took a few minutes away from her computer screen to speak with us about her coming book, her work, and the retouching industry.
Hannah Gal: Many professional photographers are struggling at the moment, how do you feel the retouching industry is doing at these difficult times.
Carrie Beene: The times are affecting everyone. I see it in my industry, but people need to sell their products and they still need to advertise, so retouching continues. The cost of retouching has gone down, perhaps, but you still get what you pay for. The cost of the equipment necessary to retouch is much less restrictive than it once was; anybody can get a copy of Photoshop, which has lead to us seeing some less than stellar work out there.
HG: How did you get into the retouching field?
CB: I began using Photoshop in 1999 after being introduced to it by a photographer friend. I was hooked instantly. Once I learned my way around PS I took a job at a photo lab as a retoucher to keep sharpening my skills. It took me two years to land a job in a high end studio.
HG: You advise aspiring retouchers to learn Photoshop inside out, and practice. Can you elaborate?
CB: Well, in becoming a retoucher I spent eight hours a day for six months just learning Photoshop. When I work, it’s like playing a piano, my keyboard hand (I use my keyboard and not menus to navigate) and my stylus hand know what to do before I do sometimes! Even if I’m asked to create some new effect, I can do it because I know what PS can do; I know when to use blending modes or when to use an adjustment layer. I have an arsenal of tricks I’ve learned over the years to make an image reflect what I want it to. Being fluent in PS makes me a faster retoucher, and I come from a background as a painter so I work in a painterly manner. I work quick when I am creating and go back later to make sure everything is super clean. Generally, you should know several ways to accomplish any one particular thing in PS, then pick the best approach in each individual situation.
HG: This is where your book comes in. What level of expertise is Real Retouching aimed at?
CB: A The book is for intermediate to expert level Photoshop users.
HG: What can digital artists expect from the book?
CB: Real Retouching is the only book of its kind to focus solely on the aspiring retoucher or working professional. It comes with a DVD containing the high resolution files to follow along with as I put together and retouch a cosmetic beauty spread. It includes the beauty shot, the lifestyle (full body) shot, products and background pieces, all of which we will compile together to create the ad.
There will be a link on my website to download my finished high resolution file and also a place to post your own finished file where others can vote on it and leave comments.
HG: Finally, do you need an artist’s eye to reach the top of this profession?
CB: Absolutely. You cannot be even mediocre without an artistic eye.
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