Keep your photo retouching skills up to date

28 November 2018

Photo retouching skills are vital in my line of work. It’s always a good thing to brush up on these skills. It is especially important to keep up to date with new photo retouching tricks.

I became complacent in the knowledge that I have years of photo retouching experience. I got quite arrogant about my retouching skills. Especially how I use Photoshop, more importantly the time it takes me to complete a retouch. This can be vital, especially when there are big deadline to meet.

I began believing that I have reached a peak in skills and time management. Recently I saw a few videos that have woken me up as far as what is possible with photoshop.

Photo retouching skills

Here is one example of a great “how to” video I found on YouTube about removing unwanted objects from a photo :

What I have hardly ever used, was the fill selection tool (with content aware and colour adaption ticked). Check out around minute 1.10, you will be amazed at how quickly the photo retoucher removes an unwanted person. I hardly use the fill selection tool after I had a few bad results when using this on a photo retouch with a tricky background. Forgetting this useful tool at my disposal, I have wasted tons of my retouching time. I have gotten used to using the more traditional clone stamp and healing brush tool, which can end up being way slower.

That is why now I set aside a certain amount of time a week to keep my photo retouching skills up to date. The internet is a wealth of information. You just have to get past the cute puppy clips that seem to be the default YouTube recommended video at the moment. With a bit of searching using the right keywords, you will find what you are after.

One channel that I find very resourceful  is Tuts & Motion graphics – they cover many subjects including photoshop. You will not believe how powerful this tool really is!

 photo retouching skills updated

A quick person removal using the fill tool

After watching that video on how to quickly remove an unwanted person or object in photoshop. I tried the fill selection tool in the above photo. It was way faster than using the clone stamp or healing brush tool. Obviously it will not always work. But if your photo retouching skills are up to date, you will certainly find an alternative method to fix the photo that works for you.

I recently received an email from one of my clients, a regular headshot photographer:

“PS Quick question: I’m on photoshop SC3 getting errors as V v old. any other suggestions on alternatives to photoshop (just basic)  instead as I don’t fancy a subscription on icloud.” We all know Photoshop is the best photo editing tool available, but not everybody has deep pockets, as the monthly subscription can be quite expensive for non professionals. There are quite a few cheaper alternatives such as Gimp, Pixlr, Canva, PicMonkey and Affinity Photo. These applications might not be as comprehensive as Adobe’s Photoshop, but can more than help keep your photo retouching skills up to date.

So my suggestion is, when you have down time and get tired of videos on youtube of people falling over or funny pets. Head over to a learning channel and pick up a few tricks and tips to improve your retouching skills!

 

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