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I <3 Retouching

For the longest time, I’ve always admired those ‘perfect’ photographs on beauty counters at Superdrug. Or the flawless clothing and skin textures in a glossy new Love magazine editorial. They have always, in addition to environments, been a major source of inspiration. I suppose once I realised that, it was photography that has totally driven me. I have a tremendous passion for it. I love the art of photography, and what it can create in terms of ideas and imagination. But along side that passion for image-making, and in fact pre-dates it is my love for PhotoShop.

My PhotoShop adventure started when I was maybe 13? My elder brother was studying an IT course at University and I used to play on it on his computer.. When I finally got my own computer at 14 he installed PS for me and that was that. I would literally spend hours and hours just playing with the buttons. Doing albeit rather dumb edits to pictures putting butterfly’s around my face or figuring out how to make my hair change colour with masks/layering.

After years of continually ‘messing about‘ on PS, at Sixth Form I was always drawn to using the programme for my art and manipulating images. Making compilations ended up being a final major project (though looking back it was bloody awful). I remember my teacher commenting that I should focus on PS in my art. I didn’t even realise that I’d been learning a skill.

At University I was constantly over editing my photographs. I wanted them to be more than what was just shot. I knew I could produce better images when I could manipulate them. Colour grading and layer masks were second nature to me and by the end of my second year I’d began teaching myself several methods of retouching and advanced editing processes. This wasn’t included in the curriculum, but I wanted to spend my time there learning and mastering the software.

Photographically,  I’ve always been about 3 steps behind compared to my retouching but I think I’m beginning to even up! The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve always been connected to images, and had a desire to manipulate or ‘fix’ them. I certainly enjoy retouching, sometimes even more than a shoot. There’s nothing better than getting a great set of high quality RAW’s to wind down with. It’s relaxing, therapeutic and productive at the same time.

My next step in my retouching journey is going to be to master Capture On. I want to be fluent in it’s software by the end of the year. It’ll be a challenge to learn what everything does, but it means loads more shoots and loads more learning curves in store!